BRAZIL’S carnival spirit came to Bolton town centre with a launch event to celebrate the beginning of the World Cup.

Shoppers young and old were wowed by performances from a batala band and samba dances and enjoyed watching remarkable stunts by football freestylers.

Zayne Yusuf, aged nine, and his eight-year-old brother Amir, were eager to dive in for a kick-about.

Zayne, from Deane, said: “I am supporting Brazil because they are going to win. They have won it five times.”

Jamie Knight, a University of Manchester student who is originally from Belfast, had the crowds entertained with his freestyle football tricks.

The 21-year-old, who has been practising for six years, said: “I have always liked football so I started watching freestyle football videos to see if I could copy what they were doing.

“I don’t play football – this is a completely different sport. Comparing football and freestyle football is like comparing BMXing with cycling.”

Ramy Abaker, aged nine, from Great Lever was impressed, and said: “I have been very excited to watch the World Cup. I like Portugal the best because they have Ronaldo.”