World Cup starts with game between Germany and Costa Rica in Munich football stadium Friday. The stadium was packed of funs. The game kicked off at 6 p.m. (1600GMT) after German President Horst Koehler declared the monthlong tournament open at a stadium ceremony.
Win or lose, Germans are counting on the world's largest sporting event watched by hundreds of millions around the globe as a chance to show off the "new Germany": reunified, rejuvenated and prospering.
Costa Ricans are also looking to the event to raise their nation's profile.
"For us, this is a once in a lifetime chance," said Roberto Carranza, 20, a student from San Jose among the 66,000 attending the event. "The whole world is going to know about Costa Rica."
Germans are realistic about their team's chances against the 31 other top soccer teams in the world, with many saying Germany should be happy to make it to the quarterfinals, reports the AP.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his speech dedicated to the Day of the Russian Navy, recalled the threats that Russia is currently facing from a number of countries.