Russia, Saudi Arabia ignite the party as 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in style
NEWS DIGEST – All eyes are on Russia as the country is poised to host the biggest sporting event on the planet. It is a fact that no World Cup would be compete without a glamorous opening ceremony to kick things off.
Russia will lift the curtain on this summer’s World Cup with a glittering opening ceremony at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow this afternoon.
Around 500 dancers, gymnasts and trampolinists will represent all things Russian before a closing firework display.
England’s very own Robbie Williams will be performing alongside young Russian artiste Aida Garifullina. The former Take That star said:
“I’ve done a lot in my career, and opening the FIFA World Cup to 80,000 football fans in the stadium and many millions all over the world is a boyhood dream. We’d like to invite football and music fans to party with us in Russia, in the stadium, or to tune in their TVs a little earlier for an unforgettable show.”
The official World Cup anthem “Live It Up” has been recorded by Will Smith, Nicky Jam and Era Istrefi. It is unclear whether the trio will be in Russia to perform their song, though the tournament track is traditionally sung at either the opening or closing ceremony.
Pianist Denis Matsuev will be joined by global opera stars Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov, Roberto Alanya, Ildar Abdrazakov, Aida Garifullina and Albina Shagimuratova for a concert at Moscow’s Red Square on June
After thr ceremony, attention would swiftly turn to the action on the pitch as hosts Russia collide with Saudi Arabia.
Russia go into today’s opening game as the lowest ranked side in the competition, 70th in Fifa’s official standings. Perhaps automatic qualification as hosts has played its part in that but with no victory in their last five games and none since October 2017, ambition has faded for the 2008 European Championship semi-finalists.
Meanwhile, things haven’t been much better for Russia’s opponents, Saudi Arabia. The Green Falcons have lost their last three friendlies although two of them were respectable 2-1 defeats against Italy and Germany. Sandwiched between them was a demolition job as Peru put them to the sword, winning 3-0. And off the pitch, things don’t look much rosier with two managers fired since qualifying for their fifth World Cup.
The opening ceremony will kick off by 3:30 pm, while the match begins 30 minutes later.