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Claudia, courtship & the Cup

She'll walk to the park with the sport's most beautiful trophy, and with her will be Pele, reports Dhiman Sarkar.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2006 03:02 IST

Claudia Schiffer was having a look-see outside the media centre at the Arena here on Thursday afternoon. That is, she was being looked at more than she wanted to see. And though a bouncer, big even by German standards, was around, people were allowed to take photographs.

Wearing a sleeveless white top and jeans, her blonde hair falling loosely on her shoulders, Germany's most beautiful woman spoke to some officials and even felt around the red carpet which will be used for most of Friday's opening ceremony. At 4.38 pm local time, she will walk on to the park carrying the sport's most beautiful trophy.

With her will be a man for whom football is a beautiful game --- Pele. In two minutes, Pele will be joined by 157 other World Cup winners. Invitations have been sent to everyone available. Among them, a certain Diego Maradona. He and FIFA are not exactly friends but FIFA president Sepp Blatter said at a press conference on Tuesday that Maradona would attend.

As the former champions walk in, vignettes of the World Cup's rich history will be shown on giant screens. Each country will march in accompanied by a short film about the World Cup they won. England will lead and Brazil will bring up the rear.

All the while, 24 women will be floating and spinning 30m above the pitch after being hoisted on wires. When all the champions are on the field, a film showing the joy and despair of the fans during World Cups will be screened to accompanying music composed by Munich's Moritz Eggert.

Like most opening ceremonies, this too seeks to blend the traditional with the modern. That means Bavarian lederhosen (leather trousers) with the hip hop that drives Germany now will be played by Berlin band Seeed. The meeting point of the traditional and modern will be depicted through haystacks called Heumandln from where hip hop dancers will emerge.

There will be drummers and traditional dancers called Schuhplatters who slap their hands on their thighs and the soles of their shoes.

Only bachelors are allowed in what is essentially a courtship dance. Goatherds who would protect sheep from beer and wolf with 24-feet long whips too will perform. In fact, the countdown to the start of the World Cup will start with a loud crack of whips something for which they even hold a championship in these parts.