THE global spotlight turns on Brazil today as football’s World Cup kicks off.
The contest’s glittering opening ceremony will be followed by hosts Brazil taking on Croatia in the tournament curtain raiser at 9pm.
And as football fever grips the globe, the Leader hit the streets to gauge the local mood.
In Mold, fans were gearing up for a footy-mad month
“I am really looking forward to it,” said Manchester City fan Bill Davies, 79, from Cilcain.
“I am sorry Wales didn’t get there, but I hope they will make it next time.
“I think England will get through the group stage but I don’t think they will go further than the quarter-finals.
“A South American team will probably win it. You can’t write off Brazil in their own back yard.
“But maybe Spain or Germany have a chance out there.”
Holywell brothers Phil and Danny Williams can’t agree on who will emerge victorious when the final takes place at the Estadio do Maracana in four weeks’ time.
“I think the Italy game will be an easier game for England than Uruguay,” said Phil. “It is going to be a very exciting tournament.
“No European team has ever won the World Cup in Latin America but I really fancy Belgium to change all that. They have pace, power and good players all over the pitch.”
Danny, 29, didn’t agree though. “I think Germany will push the boat out,” he said.
“England might make the semi-finals at best but I don’t think they have it in them to go all the way.
“The Maracana looks a really nice stadium and I am looking forward to seeing matches take place there.”
Lisa Chirgwin-Hughes, 38, from Mold, said: “I will be supporting England. I already have the flag and the T-shirt.
“I am not a big football fan but I am trying to enter into the spirit of things.
“I am sure people will enjoy the party and we can give the Brazilians a run for their money.”
New Brighton resident Robert Parry, 59, said: “I always support Italy at the World Cup. Them and anyone who plays against England.
“The Italians are always consistent and they won me some money in 2006 so I am hoping they will do the same again.
“You do have to admire the Brazilians.
“The World Cup comes around only once every four years and I look forward to watching the different styles of play.”
Kath Clarke is hoping England manager Roy Hodgson can emulate Sir Alf Ramsey in guiding the team to glory.
The 65-year-old Mold resident said: “My husband is a big football fan and I will watch some games with him.
“Hopefully England will do well.
“The Brazilians like to party and we do like sport as a family so it should be lots of fun.”
Karl Folly, 72, a Chester FC fan from Mickle Trafford, said: “There are too many good players abroad so I don’t think England can do it.
“I will be surprised if they can get out of the group but I am looking forward to seeing pictures of Brazil throughout the tournament.
“I fancy the Italians quite a lot and I might have a flutter.
“I got lucky on the Grand National this year so maybe my luck is in.”