Connect to share and comment
Brazil will host the greatest ever World Cup football finals next June and July, President Dilma Rousseff said as Friday's draw ceremony got under way.
"This will be the Cup of Cups," said Dilma, noting all eight former champions are in the 32-team line-up.
Dilma joined FIFA president Sepp Blatter in welcoming the world to a Brazilian extravaganza as the event returns to the competition's most successful nation after 64 years.
"We love football -- welcome to Brazil," Dilma told the gathering before the world media at the north-eastern beach resort of Costa do Sauipe.
Blatter said: "I think it was time for the World Cup to come back to Brazil," adding football was an "intrinsic value" bedded within the host nation's multicultural heritage.
Although protests marred the Confederations Cup dress rehearsal tournament last June, and fresh protests at the cost of staging the event were called for Friday in several cities, Blatter urged Brazilians to unite and make the event a huge success.
"I appeal to the population of Brazil -- please come together."
Urging all football fans to enjoy the "great fiesta" Blatter predicted that "it will be the greatest World Cup of all times.
"Enjoy life, enjoy football."