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Last Updated: Friday June 09 2006 18:45 GMT

World Cup 2006 starts in Germany

German fan

Football's biggest event - The World Cup - has kicked off with a huge opening ceremony in Germany.

Pele, winner of the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970, carried the World Cup trophy onto the pitch alongside German supermodel Claudia Schiffer.

More than 150 people from various World Cup winning teams joined the ceremony, which featured singing, dancing and some amazing costumes.

The first game started at 5pm, which saw hosts Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2.

England's first match is in Frankfurt on Saturday, when they face Paraguay.

Claudia Schiffer and Pele
Claudia Schiffer and Pele show off the trophy

Some 40,000 England fans are expected to pour into the city for the match, boosted by the news that Wayne Rooney has a "good chance" of being fit to take part.

The fans have been told to be on their best behaviour, with big punishments for anyone who turns violent.

British police have travelled to Germany to help keep the peace.


Holders Brazil are favourites to win the 18th World Cup.

The 32 competing nations have been split into eight groups of four.

Two teams from each group will qualify for the knockout stage of the contest.

The final will be held in Berlin in exactly one month's time - on 9 July.

Click here for our special section on World Cup 2006

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