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UEFA EURO 2016 given colourful lift-off

All singing, all dancing ... the 80,000 fans inside Stade de France and millions of TV viewers were treated to a colourful, choreographed opening ceremony in Saint-Denis on Friday night.

Watch the opening ceremony at Stade de France

Can-can dancers, a French Air Force flyover, a pop-up Eiffel Tower, cutting edge music and a mosaic of all 24 competing teams ... UEFA EURO 2016 was given an absorbing lift-off at Stade de France on Friday night.

There had been so much colour, such a carnival atmosphere inside and outside the stadium in the hours leading up to the kick-off, that creative director Julie Brassard's show was in danger of playing second fiddle.

However, it certainly didn't disappoint and a month-long festival of football was ushered in with a beautifully understated, cultural introduction celebrating all things French ... and also giving a nod to the 23 visiting teams.

No sooner had the France and Romania players finished their warm-ups than the pitch was covered in a decorative carpet representing the traditional town or village square so beloved by the French.

Drawing inspiration from the host nation's popular culture, 150 can-can dancers moved to the rhythm of the night. The beat picked up pace as the carousel on centre stage gave way to a set for the superstar DJ and producer, David Guetta.

The national stadium truly rocked as Swedish singer-songwriter Zara Larsson joined Guetta. The cast was over 500, but the 80,000 fans played their part in sending out a welcome message to all the participating sides by holding up mosaics displaying 24 flags.

As a spectacular flyover filled the sky, with the FAF performing the Patrouille de France, the teams made their way out for the national anthems, played by the French Republican Guard and the Choir School of Radio France.

Seamlessly, the show had been bookended by the players, the main cast. Very subtle. Very French.

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