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World Cup: Rio's Christ the Redeemer gets lighting makeover

The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro is lit in the team colours of the 32 nations taking part in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

RIO DE JANEIRO: Rio de Janeiro's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue was illuminated in a colourful light show on Wednesday, the eve of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

For 30 seconds at a time, the statue's open arms were dedicated to each nation taking part in the tournament, lit up in the colours of the flag whilst part of the national anthem was played.

The sequence was repeated before returning to the hosts green and yellow.

The sound and light show used 258 projectors.

The Rector of the Christ the Redeemer Sanctuary, Father Omar Raposo, urged peace and harmony for the World Cup amid a troubled build-up to the competition.

"We are happy to receive in our country the 32 nations for this World Cup and today the Christ with open arms makes a beautiful tribute showing that Brazilian people are welcoming, Brazilian people are peaceful and for this World Cup to be an unforgettable moment for all of us," said Father Omar.

Brazil has seen a spate of often violent protests and labour strikes since the Confederations Cup last year and more are planned during the World Cup.

Father Omar said: "The Catholic Church is an instrument of peace for mankind. There is a minority of Brazilian people who are unhappy with the World Cup here, but I believe that the Brazilian passion for soccer is more intense, and for sure we will receive them with a lot of happiness, despite our most delicate social issues."

The statue will be lit up in the host nation's colours during each of Brazil's matches, beginning on Thursday with the tournament opener against Croatia.

Brazil's next matches will be against Mexico on June 17 and Cameroon on June 23.

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