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.

A local boy shows off his impressive football skills on Iracema Beach in Fortaleza, in the north east of Brazil. Photo: © Getty Images

Brazilians play drums in a street in the Pelourihno neighborhood in Salvador a day ahead of the 2014 World Cup. Photo: © Rex

A lady dressed in her finest poses for a photo in a beautifully decorated street in the Pelourihno neighborhood in Salvador, Brazil. Photo: © Rex

 A father and his son play football on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, before the euphoria of the football festival begins. Photo: © Getty Images

Brazil's streets are decked out in preparation of the football festival, which is set to take the world by storm. Picture: Rio de Janeiro on the left; Sao Paulo on the right. Photo: © Rex

Dressing up is for everyone. Pictured here, a dog getting ready for the World Cup seen at the seafront of Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: © Getty Images

A man walks past a colourful graffiti artwork celebrating the 2014 Brazil World Cup football tournament in Kuala Lumpur on the day of the opening ceremony. Photo: © Getty Images

Two boys ride their bikes along the calm streets of Sao Paulo the day before the World Cup begins. Photo: © Rex