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FIFA World Cup 2018 Opening Ceremony, Highlights: As It Happened

News18.com | June 28, 2018, 11:18 AM IST
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14 Jun 2018 - 20:30 IST - Luzhniki Stadium

Group Stage - Group A

RussiaRussia
71
5 - 0
Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia
10
Catch all the updates of the FIFA World Cup 2018 opening ceremony through our live blog.

Preview:
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Jun 14, 2018 8:19 pm (IST)

The home side will have a huge support as can be seen for this photo. No home team has lost the first match of a FIFA World Cup before, let' see if that will be the case today as well. A goodbye from us, we will now see you during the match blog. 

Jun 14, 2018 8:11 pm (IST)

Aida Garifullina has now joined Robbie Williams in singing for the fans. Also, there are 32 performers carrying the flags of the teams who are participating in the world cup. Brazil legend Ronaldo is also making his way into the middle and playing with the boy and mascot.

Jun 14, 2018 8:08 pm (IST)

After singling Let Me Entertain You, Robbie Williams is now playing Feel, accompanied by dancers and performers. In between the two songs, Alexander Boldachev, the harpist, played a very fine tune which acted as a transition.

Jun 14, 2018 8:04 pm (IST)

Robbie Williams is now making is way into the middle and so is Brazilian superstar and world cup winner Ronaldo. Williams is expected to sing four songs and none of them will be 'Party Like a Russian'. The entire pitch is covered by dancers and athletes performing to the tune of Williams. 

Jun 14, 2018 8:02 pm (IST)

The opening ceremony has begun with a montage of what Russia is all about and a kid playing football through the iconic places in the country. The whole world is about to go into a standstill folks so brace yourselves. 

Jun 14, 2018 7:56 pm (IST)

Meanwhile, here is the line-up of the two teams:

Russia - Akinfeev, Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov, Gazinskiy, Zobnin, Samedov, Golovin, Dzagoev, Smolov.

Saudi Arabia - Al-Maiouf, Al-Breik, Omar Hawsawi, Osama Hawsawi, Al-Shahrani, Al-Faraj, Otayf, Al-Jassim, Al-Shehri, Al-Dawsari, Al-Sahlawi.

Jun 14, 2018 7:51 pm (IST)
Jun 14, 2018 7:45 pm (IST)

British pop star Robbie Williams, who will be performing at the World Cup opening ceremony in Moscow on Thursday, said he will not be performing his hit song “Party Like A Russian.” Williams said he will be performing “a medley, a smorgasbord of my greatest hits” alongside Russian soprano Aida Garifullina. “I would love to do ‘Party Like A Russian.’ Unfortunately I’ve been asked not to do ‘Party Like A Russian,” he said. Williams immediately added: “Actually, it has nothing to do with not being asked. It’s about me doing my biggest hits that are the best known.” In the 2016 track, the Briton sings “it takes a certain kind of man with a certain reputation, to alleviate the cash from a whole entire nation.”

Jun 14, 2018 7:30 pm (IST)

Apart from the enthralling music performances during the opening ceremony, there is also reportedly going to be a speech by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Jun 14, 2018 7:21 pm (IST)

Ahead of the opening ceremony the FIFA World Cup trophy has been brought to the Luzhniki Stadium by former Spain captain Iker Casillas and the ambassador for 2018 World Cup Victoria Lopyreva.

Jun 14, 2018 6:36 pm (IST)
Jun 14, 2018 5:56 pm (IST)

Neither of the performers have taken the stage together before this. According to Robbie Williams the FIFA World Cup is the biggest entertainer globally and Aida is also happy to be part of the big spectacle in Russia. 

Jun 14, 2018 5:44 pm (IST)

Robbie Williams will not be performing his hit song 'Party Like a Russian' but he will be performing a medley of his greatest hits during his bit at the opening ceremony. The singer says it will a collection of the most famous songs. 

Jun 14, 2018 5:23 pm (IST)
Jun 14, 2018 5:17 pm (IST)

Among the performers at what is expected to be a glitzy opening ceremony will be the British pop star Robbie Williams and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina.

Jun 14, 2018 5:02 pm (IST)

Hello and welcome to the live updates of the FIFA World Cup 2018 opening ceremony. The World Cup kicks off in Russia on Thursday as years of preparations dogged by diplomatic scandals give way to a month of action on the field in football's global showpiece. Russia get the ball rolling against Saudi Arabia at the completely refurbished 80,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow after an opening ceremony attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Opening Ceremony, Highlights: As It Happened
FIFA Image

The World Cup kicks off in Russia on Thursday as years of preparations dogged by diplomatic scandals give way to a month of action on the field in football's global showpiece. Russia get the ball rolling against Saudi Arabia at the completely refurbished 80,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow after an opening ceremony attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russian organisers say they expect more than 20 heads of state to attend the opening match. "We would like to underscore the validity of the FIFA principle of sport being outside politics. Russia has always adhered to this principle," Putin said. Meanwhile, British pop star Robbie Williams, who will be performing at the World Cup opening ceremony in Moscow on Thursday, said he will not be performing his hit song “Party Like A Russian.”

Speaking to Reuters on Tuesday after a rehearsal for the show, Williams said he will be performing “a medley, a smorgasbord of my greatest hits” alongside Russian soprano Aida Garifullina. “I would love to do ‘Party Like A Russian.’ Unfortunately I’ve been asked not to do ‘Party Like A Russian,” he said. Williams immediately added: “Actually, it has nothing to do with not being asked. It’s about me doing my biggest hits that are the best known.” In the 2016 track, the Briton sings “it takes a certain kind of man with a certain reputation, to alleviate the cash from a whole entire nation.” In the accompanying music video, ballerinas twirl around Williams in a lavish setting. Pro-Kremlin media outlets were critical, suggesting Williams could be snubbed by Russian event organizers because of the song. In response, Williams wrote on Twitter at the time that “this song is definitely not about Mr Putin.”

"‘Party Like A Russian’” was a big hit for me, it was like my biggest hit here in Russia, so I’m really pleased,” Williams said. “I didn’t mean any disrespect by it at all. It’s more of a Monty Python-esque kind of humor. I’m not mocking anybody. It’s just a pop record.” Williams, who has previously performed at private parties organized by wealthy Russian business people, said he loved coming to Russia. “Because when we grew up, Russia might as well have been on a different planet,” he said. “And then peering behind the Iron Curtain as it was, as it is, you get to meet the people, you get to experience the culture and you realize that, you know, they are just humans, just like me and you.” Williams said performing at the opening ceremony of the World Cup was an honor. “Something like this happens, and you pinch yourself,” he said. “I’m pinching myself again... And I just don’t want to get too overwhelmed because I know how big the stage is.” The performance will take place half an hour before Russia face Saudi Arabia in the tournament’s opening match at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium.
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