Rio de Janeiro, Manaus and Sao Paulo are among the cities where the 64-game soccer tournament will be played. 

Rio de Janeiro, the host of the 20th World Cup from Thursday, June 12, to Sunday, July 13, is surrounded by 10,000 square acres of forest and home to the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, located on the top of Corcovado Mountain. As fans and tourism officials celebrate, the spotlight on Brazil has heightened dissent toward the government over issues like wages, crime and living conditions. The country has won five World Cups, more than any other nation. 
Many consider the World Cup a trial run for Brazil before it hosts the Olympics in 2016. Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes said Saturday that the city will fail to keep the promise of cleaning the sewage-filled Guanabara Bay across from Rio, pictured, for the 2016 Olympics. Officials made the promise after being awarded the games in 2009.
Muggings on public transportation, public beaches and in popular tourist areas are on the rise in Rio de Janeiro, eroding the strides the city had made in security in recent years. Pictured, police patrol Maracana stadium before a soccer game on May 11.
The Rocinha slum, seen here Feb. 17, is the biggest in Rio de Janeiro. Rocinha is among Rio's "pacified" slums, a key element of Rio's security plans.
Subway train operators and activists clash with police at the Ana Rosa metro station on the second day of a metro strike in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday, June 6. The metro workers' union went on strike for better pay Thursday, suspended it Monday and plan to vote Wednesday on whether they'll put one of the only means to reach Itaquerao stadium at risk ahead of the first game.
Graffiti criticizes the hosting of the World Cup on a wall of a public school in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Sao Paulo will host six games, including the opening day match between Brazil and Croatia at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday. 
Joao Paulo, 16, plays on a decorated street in the capital city of Brasilia, Brazil. Brasilia will host seven games, including the playoff for third place at 4 p.m. EDT on Saturday, July 12.
A view of the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, where seven games will be played, including the tournament final at 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 13. 
A boy walks on a decorated street in Manaus, Brazil, where four World Cup matches will be played, including the United States vs. Portugal match at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 22.
Of the 3 million tickets available for purchase, nearly all of the 64 games are sold out, according to the AP. Brazil's tourism industry expects tens of thousands of fans to overtake the region, especially along the coveted strip of Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Ipanema Beach, another urban oasis of Rio de Janeiro, inspired the world-renowned 1962 song "The Girl From Ipanema" written by Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and poet Vinícius de Moraes.
Trash floats on a polluted water channel that flows into Guanabara Bay on May 21 in Rio de Janeiro.
A stairway is painted in the Brazilian national flag colors in Rio de Janeiro. 
A man walks past the Paco Imperial, or Royal Palace, the home in Rio de Janeiro where the Portuguese royal family settled when they fled Europe.
The Brazilian National Congress building is decorated with the colors of Brazil on June 2 in Brasilia.
People walk past artists painting graffiti on the side of a building on May 31 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to honor Brazil's 1962 World Cup victory over Czechoslovakia. 
Hundreds of fans turn up at Itaquerao stadium Sunday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a peek on the final Sunday before the opening of the 2014 World Cup.
A fan poses outside of opening ceremony rehearsals around Itaquerao stadium Sunday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.