THE waiting is over – today’s the day that the 20th FIFA World Cup kicks off in the spiritual home of football, Brazil.

And, as always, the host nation will be the first to play, as they start their campaign to bring the famous trophy back to South America against Croatia tonight (kick-off 9pm).

You can see all the fixtures, group tables and stories in our dedicated World Cup section

It is the second time that the famous footballing nation has hosted the tournament, the first being in 1950.

It is also the first time that the tournament has been hosted in South America since 1978, when it was held in Argentina.

The 2014 World Cup will see 64 matches played in 12 cities across Brazil, with the final being held at the famous Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.

With Brazil qualifying as hosts, this tournament sees every team that has won the World Cup – Uruguay, Argentina, England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Brazil – competing, with Spain defending champions.

Brazil is the most successful side of all time, winning the tournament on five occasions.

Erica Karouk, who lives in Bournemouth, is supporting her native Brazil.

She said: “I think we will do well against Croatia. We are at home and I think we will win comfortably – I predict 3-0.

“Neymar is an important player for us – he is amazing and is undoubtedly the star of the team.

“I cannot say for sure we will win the world cup because football is just so unpredictable, but being at home helps, so I think we have a great chance.”

The other two teams in Group A, Mexico and Cameroon, play tomorrow.

Come back in the morning to read a preview of day two.

Not interested in the World Cup? see our list of 12 ways to spend your time this summer instead