World Cup kicks off... and now England expects

The hopes of millions of fans will be pinned on England today after the football World Cup kicked off in spectacular style with a breathtaking opening ceremony in South Africa.

The event got underway at the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg yesterday with a display by the South African Air Force and a group of drummers and dancers performing a Welcome to Africa song. There was even a gigantic beetle showing off its football skills before Grammy Award-winning R&B star R Kelly sang the ceremony's showpiece, Sign Of A Victory, with South Africa's Soweto Spiritual Singers.

One notable absentee, however, was the country's former president, Nelson Mandela, who pulled out following the death of his 13-year-old great-granddaughter Zenani in a car crash on Thursday.

In the first match, South Africa drew 1-1 with Mexico.

Thousands of travelling England supporters have made their way to the country while back home, hundreds flocked to Trafalgar Square in London for a day-long event to celebrate the start of the tournament.