*AFP photo
*AFP photo

He’s already set up to be the star of the Brazil World Cup —­ the tattoos, crowd adulation and nimble footwork. But that’s enough about Pitbull.

Neymar, it was, who somehow raised his level of performance above that of J-Lo’s behind to score twice and get host nation Brazil off to a winning start on Thursday night.

The preceding opening ceremony, though, drew mixed reviews, with the most column inches predictably devoted to the re-emergence of J-Lo’s most bankable asset. Clue: it's not her voice.

One national paper the next day even featured a story that quoted old-flame Ben Affleck conceding that Ms Lopez’s bum was, indeed, ‘very nice’.

Thoughts of Boston’s finest dumping wife Jennifer Garner and kids before running out of the house in a quest to be reunited with J-Lo’s derrière were halted by the story’s subsequent explanation that he said this, wait for it… when he was going out with her… more than 10 years ago.

Not that Pitbull gave a flying favela about all that. The man was rocking white pants like only a millionaire Miami rapper can. And good luck to him, I say.

The other performer in this shiny triumvirate was a girl — Claudia Leitte, apparently — who I know nothing about. But good luck to her, too.

Sadly, all three were upstaged not just by Neymar’s double in the 3-1 win over Croatia but by a Japanese referee called Yuichi Nishimura, who was rather too easily fooled by a dive from Fred and rather too quick to award the penalty.

Heaven forbid that after J-Lo and Pitbull had amped up the Sao Paulo crowd, the referee felt he had to ensure Croatia did not ruin the party.

It’s a good job FIFA don’t have any corruption allegations swirling around them, or there may have been accusations of a set-up.

Still, despite all these leading performers, the real star of the show was Joseph Gordon-Levitt... sorry, I mean Croatia boss Niko Kovac, who said “If that was a penalty, we should all go and play basketball instead”.

Perhaps he was simply annoyed at missing Game 4 of the NBA Finals or maybe he, like many, sniffed a rat. Either way, the opening day of the World Cup at least delivered on drama — even if much of it seemed as questionably pre-ordered as Pitbull's pants.