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World Cup: Music and fireworks as the opening ceremony gets under way

June 11, 2010 |  5:46 am

Opening ceremony 500

The World Cup's opening ceremony is proving to be both unique and impressive.

First--well, OK, shortly after a giant bug crawled out into the center circle--a map of the world was formed on the playing surface, with Africa, appropriately, at its center. That's where the continent is today--front and center of the sporting world.

Next, a model of the Soccer City stadium itself was erected in the center of the actual stadium, with a star of dancers surrounding it. So far, nothing has topped Shakira from Thursday night's World Cup concert in Soweto, but then the male half of the 2,000 journalists and photographers covering Friday's opening ceremony were not really expecting it would.

If possible, there are even more performers down on the field now. Just what they are up to is difficult to tell from up here in the rafters, but perhaps at home on television it is a bit more evident. In any event, it's all very colorful and the music isn't half bad.

Ah, now we see, the flags of the 32 competing teams have materialized, accompanied by fireworks. The Stars and Stripes is wedged between Uruguay and South Africa, but that probably doesn't mean anything.  There is a neat card stunt being done now, featuring folk all in white holding orange and black soccer balls. Difficult to read their message from up here in the sky.

It is a sunny afternoon in Jo'burg, as the place is known, with a cool wind. We can't see what sort of shape the pitch is in because it's covered with a protective cloth, but by all accounts it should play fair and true once Friday's serious business gets under way.

Little more than an hour to go now. Back in a while.

--Grahame L. Jones, reporting from Johannesburg

Photo: The World Cup opening ceremony. Credit: Henry Romero, Reuters.