World Cups look fantastic. Soccer always lends itself to photography and when it comes to the sport's showpiece, with the sun beating down and the planet watching, everybody makes sure they've got their best face on. Armies of Dutch fans in bright orange rubbing up against the Chilean reds; America repurposing the red, white and blue in every combination imaginable; Brazilian yellow everywhere, in the stands, on the streets, in the bars, on the beaches. Shapes and colors, unforgettable and intoxicating.
Here are some of the finest photographs of the moments that will define this World Cup, moments that are already fixed in the collective memory. Tim Howard's staring eyes. Vincent Kompany's twisted frame. Diego Forlan's blurred concern. Leo Messi's heaven-lit figure. Bright uniforms set against the pitch and sky; sweeps of color in the crowd. Athletes, contorted and frozen, caught halfway through the remarkable, the unforgettable and the absurd. -- Andi Thomas