A couple of video gamers show their hair-raising spirit while playing a soccer video game at a shopping mall near Arena Corinthians before the Thursday, June 12, 2014 match. The opening match pitted host Brazil against Croatia.

Dave Ord / Arizona Daily Star

Horns were already blaring at 7 a.m.

Even dogs are wearing Brazil jerseys.

A guy speaking French is flipping out about something going wrong with his phone or computer. Boy, I can relate.

The line to get your press tribune match ticket is now about 40 people long. This is why I arrived seven hours before the match.

A guy to my left just cracked me up by going “whoop, whoop, whoop” into his microphone to check his audio.

A photographer asked me if the Coke machine would take a 50 Real bill. That’s like asking if a $20 bill will work in a condom dispenser.

I spend my day alternating between smiling from ear to ear and tearing up because I feel so lucky to be here and know how lucky I am to have people who love me enough to help me be here. I wish everyone on this globe could have a day like this.

Even SpongeBob Squarepants is in on this soccer thing. He’s juggling a ball on the packaging of the “Guloses” cookies I’m eating.

Every once in a while you can hear the sheer joy and enthusiasm of the volunteers who are on the other side of a partition preparing for the match.

The guy next to me is typing on his computer in Arabic, I think, because it’s going backward. Now that’s something I’ve never seen before.

Opening matches have not often been tantalizing affairs. I’m guessing this one will be the exception.

I want to go up to some of these guys and shake them and tell them they should realize how happy they should be to be here. There’s a billion people who wish they could be in their place.

Inappropriate media outfit alert: There’s a woman in a tube top-style shirt and yellow shorts that probably wouldn’t have enough material to be used as a pillow cover. Duh, doesn’t she know that it’s yellow shirts that are in vogue right now.

The press meal costs 32 Reals, about $14, and it doesn’t look too bad. But it’s not Habbib’s. It seems like that is McDonald’s big rival here. I picked up assorted fried things to go along with two tiny pizza-esque morsels.

Construction delays forced World Cup organizers to ditch completing the roof of Arena Corinthians. No need, they probably would have blown it off at Thursday night’s opening match.

There are guys on stilts dressed like cypress trees walking in front of us. This is awesome.

Women stand on the field in traditional all-white Bahia dresses billowing out like Scarlett O’Hara’s best outfit. The slowly spin back and forth a little bit as the opening ceremonies are nearing.

Guys in white capoeira outfits are so jacked up that they are practicing their moves in line before going on.

There are trampolines, musical instruments the size of Escalades, walking birds of paradise. Am I in a dream?

The giant ball in the middle splits open like a mango and out of it rises Pitbull and Claudia Leitte, in extremely high heels (just Leitte, not Pitbull). They sing the World Cup anthem, get cheers from the crowd and are swallowed back up by the ball. I’m flabbergasted and there’s still an hour and 15 minutes before kickoff.

Right now, I desperately want to do a selfie with the giant gourd rattle.

Watching them take down the whole thing is a spectacle in itself. I counted 12 guys pushing out one of the massive drums.

And speaking of massive, they brought out these things that look like white sausage casings. It takes four people to bring them out. That’s a lot of kielbasa. Oh, I just realized they are out there to help roll out the massive tarp on the field.

The spectacle is now a far cry from 1994 when Diana Ross missed her shot on goal from about five yards.

The hoots and whistles come out as the Croatia goalkeepers take the field for practice. Are they upset because checks are not the new yellow.

The Brazilian lineup is being announced. It’s the first time I can remember its lineup with some whistles or hooting, even coach Luiz Felipe Scolari’s name drew great applause.