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Saturday, 10 June, 2000, 20:32 GMT 21:32 UK
Spectacular opening for Euro 2000
After 18 months of preparation, Euro 2000 kicked off amid an avalanche of balloons and colourful displays at the opening ceremony in Brussels.
It was a frenetic, raucous and colourful ceremony in the King Baudouin stadium although it took just 11 minutes to perform.
Indeed, it was a short but spectacular launch ceremony which did its best to highlight the tournament's theme of "Football knows no boundaries".
Four thousand white balloons rose into the air from inside Brussels' King Baudouin Stadium, the scene of one of soccer's worst tragedies when 39 fans died before the 1985 European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus.
The short play, featuring 179 actors and extras, starred an inflatable giant borne aloft on a bed of mini hovercraft, a huge helium-filled ball and a team of men on stilts personifying dreams and gentleness.
A total of 31 matches will be played, with eight teams qualifying from the group stages to compete in the knockout stages.
Stay with BBC Sport Online for the best coverage, including full-time and half-time reports, with comprehensive reviews, pictures and quotes after each game.
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