Shakira and Black Eyed Peas' Fergie help get World Cup off to a kicking start

by With excitement over the start of World Cup reaching fever pitch, it was down to some of the international music world's top acts to officially launch the competion in South Africa on Thursday night.

Shakira, the Black Eyed Peas and pregnant singer Alicia Keys were just some of the artists who played to the 30,000-strong crowd  packed into Soweto's Orlando Stadium.

Kicking off the concert were the Black Eyed Peas. As the audience cheered and waved South African flags, their frontwoman Fergie strutted out on stage in a leg-baring, gold and black, gladiator style-costume.

The group, which also consists of Cheryl Cole's friend Will.I.Am performed their hit Where is the Love?.

Also putting on a stellar performance was Shakira, who was a knockout in a stage costume designed by Roberto Cavalli. The cutaway zebra-print bodice – which perfectly showed off her toned stomach – was teamed with a shredded silk skirt, perfect for accentuating her famous hip movements.

The Columbian beauty performed a set of her hits, including Hips don't lie, before closing the ceremony with Waka Waka (This Time For Africa), the official World Cup anthem.

The concert, which was shown around the world, is the first time a musical spectacular has launched the football competition. Proceeds will go to FIFA's official social campaign for the World Cup, which aims to achieve positive change in Africa through football.

The on pitch action begins on Friday, with the opening match between hosts South Africa and Mexico. England's first match – a clash with the USA – is on Saturday.

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