Johannesburg - The World Cup attention last night shifted briefly from South Africa as FIFA unveiled the official emblem for the 2014 leg of the tournament, to be hosted by Brazil.
Present during the unveiling at the Sandton Convention Centre were dignitaries from the Brazilian football association, that country's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of the organising committee Ricardo Teixeira, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, former Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira as well as several top former Brazilian footballers.
Prior to the emblem unveiling, 500 guests, including international media, were treated to a small taste of what they can expect from the first FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Brazilian music groups Barbatuques and Bossa Cuca Nova and Grammy award-winning singer Vanessa da Mata appeared on stage in an hour-long show hosted by the Brazilian celebrity couple Fernanda Lima and Rodrigo Hilbert.
FIFA and the Brazil LOC invited 25 Brazilian-based agencies to submit designs for the Official Emblem of the 2014 tournament and the task of picking the winner was awarded to a high-profile seven-strong judging panel.
The panel was made up of one of the most influential figures in Brazilian architecture Oscar Niemeyer, designer Hans Donner, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, author Paulo Coelho, singer Ivete Sangalo as well as Ricardo Teixeira and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.
The winning design was "Inspiration", created by Brazilian agency Africa. The design stems from an iconic photograph of three victorious hands together raising the world's most famous trophy.
As well as depicting the humanitarian notion of hands interlinking, the portrayal of the hands is also symbolic of the yellow and green of Brazil warmly welcoming the world to their country.
The next major milestone on the road to the 2014 will be the preliminary draw to be conducted in Brazil in July 2011.