BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup was inaugurated last weekend in Baku, Azerbaijan, with a stunning ceremony featuring world-renowned Jennifer Lopez and Cirque de Soleil.
Performers from the international circus were thrown in the air from chairs and thin planks of wood around a fiery centerpiece, a nod to Azerbaijan as the land of fire. Lopez, in her trademark silver sparkling costume, was then carried across the pitch to deafening roars before performing her songs.
"Fantastic #u17wwc opening ceremony tonight" tweeted FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter, "with top class acts featuring @JLo and @Cirque. Congratulations to the hosts!." The event, the first of its kind for a U-17 tournament, pleased not only the FIFA delegation but also the 32,000 spectators, who attended the ceremony at the newly reconstructed "Tofig Bahramov" Stadium, and the millions who watched it on TV.
This is the first U-17 Women's World Cup to be staged in continental Europe, following the previous editions in New Zealand (2008) and Trinidad & Tobago (2010). Between September 22nd and October 13th, sixteen teams from six confederations will be competing for glory and featuring some of the future stars who could soon be gracing the tournaments.
The teams that made it to the final stage are Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria from Africa; China PR, Japan and Korea DPR from Asia; Canada, Mexico and USA from North and Central America; New Zealand from Oceania; Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay from South America. Both France and Germany are joined by Azerbaijan as the hosts of the tournament from Europe.
As a special sign of respect and hospitality, the Local Organizing Committee provided tickets to the solo concert of Jennifer Lopez on the following day of the opening ceremony to the participating teams in Azerbaijan, another first.
The 32 matches are being played at five stadiums in Baku, including Dalga Arena, Bayil Stadium, 8KM Stadium and Shafa Stadium in addition to the above mentioned Tofig Bahramov Stadium, and at the Lankaran Stadium in the southern Azerbaijan city of Lankaran.
Azerbaijan is determined to close the tournament on a high note with another stunning event featuring international superstar Shakira, who will take the centre stage of the closing ceremony.
In addition, on October 6th, the multiple Grammy Awards winning R&B queen Rihanna will light the hearts of her numerous fans at Baku Crystal Hall, on the sidelines of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. More information on matches, statistics, news and video highlights can be found on the official website of the tournament at http://www.fifa.com/Azerbaijan2012.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor