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FIFA release 2014 World Cup times

FIFA have announced kick-off times for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, with the opening match to take place in Sao Paulo on June 12 at 5pm local time.

Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, is five hours behind Central European Time, with host cities Cuiaba and Manaus further west and consequently an extra hour behind. European fans will therefore face the prospect of matches commencing at around 3am.

Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador will also host games and fall under the same time zone as Sao Paulo.

A statement released by FIFA on Thursday evening read: "Group-stage games will be played at 1pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 9pm local time, with knockout stage matches at 1pm and 5pm local time.

"The semi-finals will be played at 5pm local time and the final, on July 13, at the iconic Maracana stadium (in Rio de Janeiro), at 4pm local time. All kick-offs are local time, with Cuiaba and Manaus being Central European Time -6, all other venues CET -5."

Central European Time covers the majority of western Europe - including Spain, France, Italy and Germany - with the United Kingdom and Portugal conforming to Western European Time, which is one hour behind.

FIFA took local temperatures, global television scheduling and equal rest periods for teams into consideration, among other factors, when defining the kick-off times.

The final draw for the group stages, meanwhile, is set to take place on December 6, 2013 in Bahia.

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