World Cup 2014: Brazil and the beautiful game

By Thomas Oakey of IES | Felipe Dana/AP Photo
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Locals continue to play in the lead up to the tournament

As the World Cup kicks off in Brazil, the locals' love for football continues in earnest See Gallery

As the 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil, the love of playing football amongst Brazilians is as strong as ever. Along the country’s beaches, city centres and favela streets, players – like 12-year-old Mateus da Silva in Rio de Janeiro (above) - continue to kick, tackle and chase, as the action in stadiums picks up speed.

Click or swipe through the gallery for images of Brazilians in action, captured over the last month.

Felipe Dana/AP Photo
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Pitch view

Two young spectators get a good view of a game taking place at the Mangueira slum in Rio.

Felipe Dana/AP Photo
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Bicycle kick

Youngsters take turns to practise acrobatic overhead kicks in another Rio slum.

Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo
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One on one

Brothers Igor and Iago Meireles play against each other in a Rio street.

Hassan Ammar/AP Photo
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Boot repairs

A young player stitches up a worn-out football boot during the 2014 People's Soccer Cup in Salgueiro slum, Rio de Janeiro. The tournament was used as a platform by NGOs to bring to light some of the human rights issues and illegalities occurring as Rio prepares to host games at the World Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Olympics.

Fernando Llano/AP Photo
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Beach football

A player kicks the ball along the shores of Beira Mar in Fortaleza.

Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo
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Street skills

A street performer in a Brazil football kit shows off his juggling skills in downtown São Paulo.

Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo
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Trophy replica

The same performer poses with a young boy and a copy of the World Cup trophy.

Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo
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Flag parade

Central São Paulo is adorned with the flags of the 32 participating World Cup nations.

Thanassis Stavrakis/AP Photo
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Street art

Football fever has been further increased by brightly coloured murals and street decorations around the host cities, like this one in São Paulo.

Felipe Dana/AP Photo
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Football at dusk

One of Rio's soccer schools takes place on a pitch in Dona Marta slum, backdropped by the Christ the Redeemer statue and Corcovado Mountain.

Felipe Dana/AP Photo
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Injury time

A player winces after being hit by the ball during a game amongst members of the Tatuyo indigenous community, near Manaus, in the Amazon rainforest.

Felipe Dana/AP Photo
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Table football

Other forms of football - including the table variety in Rio - are also enjoyed by Brazilians.

Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo
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Local rivals

Travelling fans have instantly adopted Brazilians' love for beach football too, even bitter rivals from Argentina (pictured).

Rodrigo Abd/AP Photo
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Beach break

More Argentinian fans make themselves at home on Rio's Ipanema beach.