There may be two days still to go before the Final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ between the Netherlands and Spain but, thanks to Thursday’s launch ceremony for the Official Emblem of Brazil 2014 at Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre, anticipation is already starting to build for the finals in four years’ time.

The second edition of the global showpiece to be held on Brazilian soil will, from now on, forever be associated with the image of three hands intertwined in the shape of the FIFA World Cup Trophy. However, the emblem, named “Inspiração” (Inspiration), is merely one ingredient of a final tournament sure to be infused with joy, colour and the Brazilian people’s irrepressible passion for the beautiful game.

That passion was evident in the performances of percussion group Barbatuques, accompanied by South African ball-juggler Bingo, as well as those of the BossaCucaNova band and singer Vanessa da Mata. Also making an impression were the big names in attendance, such as Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose speech was littered with references to the glittering FIFA World Cup achievements of fellow guests Bebeto, Carlos Alberto Parreira, Carlos Alberto, Romario, Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini.

“After the 2010 finals, every one of us will go back to their country feeling a bit more African. And if that’s what’s happened here in South Africa, the world should soon start preparing to feel a touch more Brazilian,” said Ricardo Teixeira, President of the Organising Committee for Brazil 2014. “‘Being Brazilian’ will take on a new meaning and be spread across the world. The whole planet is now invited to join in.”

There’s no doubt that football is a religion in Brazil. What other country in the world is as synonymous with this sport?

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, for his part, also chose to highlight the passionate reception the finals is sure to receive in Brazil at the venues and beyond. “There’s no doubt that football is a religion in Brazil. What other country in the world is as synonymous with this sport?” said the President of world football’s governing body.

“(Brazil) is also about joy and creativity, and that’s what football is all about. What’s more, one day President Lula told me that ‘Football is education’. And that’s also what the FIFA World Cup intends to mean to that country,” added the President of FIFA, drawing a comparison between the successes achieved at South Africa 2010 and those aimed for at Brazil 2014.

President Lula was also keen to draw on the example of the first FIFA World Cup to be held on African soil. “The success of our African brothers sets the bar incredibly high for us Brazilians. We’re learning lessons from them in order to help the 2014 World Cup be an even bigger success. As of January 2011 I will no longer be the President of the Republic but I’ll still be Brazilian. And my country can count on me to ensure that, working together, we put on the best World Cup ever. That’s our pledge.”

This sense of optimism, joy and creativity was very much to the fore in Johannesburg, particularly in the shape of the diverse group of artistic individuals which helped choose the Official Emblem. Making up the prestigious jury were the architect Oscar Niemeyer, designer Hans Donner, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, writer Paulo Coelho and the singer Ivete Sangalo, as well as Ricardo Teixeira and FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke.

This select group, featuring people of all backgrounds and talents, were chosen to represent a country that, in the words of Teixeira, “introduced a new kind of modernity, based on human beings and their ability to overcome their differences”. This is a nation which is blessed with an endlessly varied population, all of whom are united in their love of football, and delight at hosting the FIFA World Cup.