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Photos: Brazil’s World Cup opening ceremony shines

Brazilian fans cheer prior to the Group A soccer match between Brazil and Croatia at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil is ready to samba.

With all of the issues and questions leading up to the World Cup, the new Arena de Sao Paulo — also known as Corinthians Arena — shined under blue skies as Brazil kicked off its home World Cup with a football-style carnival.

The soccer-crazed country hoped Thursday’s Croatia-Brazil opener would just be the start of a run to extend its record to six World Cup wins.

Although traffic and transit strikes have plagued the sprawling Sao Paulo area in recent weeks, thousands made it into the stadium in plenty of time to party.

Jennifer Lopez, rapper Pitbull and pop star Claudia Leitte bounced around a giant stage resembling a peeled melon singing the World Cup theme “We Are One” as Brazilian band Olodum banged drums below on this nation’s Valentine’s Day.

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JLo, dressed in a low-cut sparkling green outfit, turned up for the performance despite earlier reports that she wouldn’t be able to attend.

The home fans cheered alongside small pockets of spirited Croatians in their checkered red and white tops.

The field was covered in multi-colored rays for the opening ceremony, which cost 18 million Brazilian reais, or about $8 million. A stadium worker died March 29 while installing temporary seats for the opener after construction already had been behind schedule.

SEE MORE: Complete World Cup coverage

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Brazilian fans cheer prior to the Group A soccer match between Brazil and Croatia at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
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Participants take part in the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo. FRANCOIS-XAVIER MARIT/AFP/Getty Images
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Brazil fans enjoy the atmosphere before the opening ceremony prior to the Group A match between Brazil and Croatia at Arena de Sao Paulo. Beer sales have been permitted in stadiums for the first time in more than a decade. Warren Little/Getty Images
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The Happiness Flag is seen as artists perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Elsa/Getty Images
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Performers take part in the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA football World Cup at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo. VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images
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A young Brazilian fan attends the Group A soccer match between Brazil and Croatia at the Corinthians Arena. DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images
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Singers Claudia Leitte, Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Buda Mendes/Getty Images Sport
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Performers take part in the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA football World Cup at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo. DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images
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Performers take part in the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Corinthians Arena. PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images
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Performers take part in the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
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Singers Claudia Leitte, Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Buda Mendes/Getty Images Sport
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Performers take part in the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo. FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
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Brazilian fans attend the opening ceremony before the Group A soccer match between Brazil and Croatia at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo . FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
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Performers take part in the opening ceremony of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Corinthians Arena. ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images
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A person in a Batman costume holds a sign during an anti-World Cup demonstration in Rio. Demonstrators were protesting outside stadiums in Rio and Sao Paulo ahead of and during the opening ceremonies. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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Protestors rally during an anti- World Cup demonstration Rio de Janeiro. Demonstrators were protesting outside stadiums in Rio and Sao Paulo ahead of and during the opening ceremonies.
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A line of police stand guard during an anti-World Cup demonstration in Rio. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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Croatia fans pose before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group A match. Buda Mendes/Getty Images
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Brazilian fans cheer before a Group A soccer match between Brazil and Croatia at the Corinthians Arena. VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

— With files from Associated Press

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