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FIFA World Cup starts with colourful ceremony

IANS  |  Moscow 

Russian declared the World Cup open after a colourful opening ceremony at the 81,000-seater Stadium here on Thursday.

"The love of unites the world in one team, independent of language or ideology," the Russian stated during his speech, as reported by news agency.

said he hoped fans, players and officials enjoy their stay in during the World Cup, reports

"is truly loved here and it is called love at first sight, since our first official match here in 1897," said.

"I hope fans and teams enjoy their stay in Russia, an open, hospitable and friendly country with people who have the shared values. brings us altogether in one team, we are united by this spectacular game," he added.

Putin congratulated "the large, multi-ethnic and harmonious world football family upon the beginning of the main global tournament", reports news agency.

"This tremendous event is being held in for the first time and we are sincerely glad about this. At first sight football in our country is not the most massive sport, but love for football in this country is real," he said.

"It is love at first sight -- starting from the very first official match that was played in in 1897," Putin added.

"We were making preparations for hosting this grandiose event with responsibility and we did our utmost to let the fans, athletes and specialists to get immersed in the atmosphere of a marvelous football festival and, of course, to enjoy their stay in Russia -- an open and hospitable country, and to make new friends and associates."

also addressed the gathering.

Artistic performances from UK and Russian operatic soprano were the highlights of the opening ceremony.

Two-time World Cup champion Ronaldo of and legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic also attended.

Former brought the trophy inside the ground.

Casillas, who helped to win the 2010 edition of the World Cup, was accompanied by Russian and presented the trophy that the winning team will be awarded after the July 15 final, reports news agency.

The trophy is made of more than six kilograms (13.2 pounds) of gold.

Saudi Mohammed bin Salman, Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Nikol Pashinyan, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Kazakh President and Kyrgyz President were some of the political heavyweights at the event.



(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 22:40 IST