Brazil in pictures: World Cup 2014 preparations kick off to a flying start

Before World Cup euphoria sweeps across Rio de Janeiro, and Brazil kicks off the football festival, we take a look at the preparations and decorations being put in place ahead of the opening ceremony on Thursday evening.

Streets have been decked out with flags, paving stones have been painted, art murals adorn buildings, drummers prepare to play long into the night, locals show off their fancy footwork on Copacabana beach... See Brazil in pictures as the world's football fans prepare to look Brazil-side.