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Fifa World Cup 2018 Opening Ceremony: Putin and foreign leaders grace event

Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium will host the opening ceremony. A concert will also run concurrently in Moscow's famous Red Square.

BS Web Team 

(Photo: @FIFAWorldCup twitter)
(Photo: @FIFAWorldCup twitter)

Fifa World Cup 2018, football's biggest showpiece is set to begin in Russia starting with at the magnificent Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday. The Fifa World Cup features 32 teams competing in 64 games over 32 days starting from June 14. The 21st edition will be played in 12 stadiums, across 11 cities, spread over 1,800 miles.

The leaders attending the Opening Ceremony

Russia get the ball rolling against Saudi Arabia at the completely refurbished 80,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow after an to be attended by President Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Putin will attend the of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and will watch the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium.

The ceremony will also be attended by other heads of state and government, including the President of the Republic of Abkhazia, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, President of the Republic of Belarus, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Lebanon, President of the Republic of Moldova, President of the Republic of Panama, President-elect of the Republic of Paraguay, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, President of the Republic of South Ossetia, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, and President of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The Opening Ceremony in progress:

Robbie WIlliams. (Photo: @FIFAWorldCup)

Robbie WIlliams. (Photo: @FIFAWorldCup)

Robbie Williams is now playing Feel, “accompanied by dancers and performers with ‘bird-kites’”.

Ronaldo passes the ball to the mascot, Zabivaka. This was “a symbolic first kick”

The politics

Maybe its a plain coincidence or a deliberate symbolice that on the day of the curtain-raiser, Russia freed the main opposition figure to Putin, Alexei Navalny, from jail after he served a 30-day sentence for organising an illegal protest.

The month-long tournament is expected to attract one and a half million fans to Russia and an estimated global television audience of over three billion viewers.

Brazillian Legend Pele is all excited about the and says he is well past ready and can't wait for the even to start.

Where is the opening ceremony taking place?

Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium will host the opening ceremony. A concert will also run concurrently in Moscow's famous Red Square.

Where can you watch the opening ceremony on TV?

You can watch the FIFA on Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 2 HD.

Where you watch the opening ceremony online?

The opening ceremony will be broadcasted on SONY LIV.

ALSO READ: An exhaustive guide to FIFA World Cup 2018: Everything you need to know

What time will the opening ceremony start?

The will start at 18.30 IST or 6.30 PM.

What time will kick off?

The FIFA World Cup 2018 Opening Ceremony will start at 20.00 IST (8 PM).

When is the Fifa World Cup 2018 first match?

The match will be played by the host nation Russia vs Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium at 20.30 (8:30 PM).

What will the opening ceremony involve?

The event will focus on a series of musical acts, with the main attraction Robbie Williams.

Around 500 dancers, gymnasts and trampolinists will also be performing in an opening extravaganza that will pay homage to all things Russian.

Williams, who helped mastermind another edition of Soccer Aid for Unicef, will perform for the capacity crowd inside the Luzhniki Stadium and millions more watching on around the world.

“I’m so happy and excited to be going back to Russia for such a unique performance. I’ve done a lot in my career, and opening the FIFA World Cup to 80,000 fans in the stadium and many millions all over the world is a boyhood dream,” said Williams.

“We’d like to invite 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.”

How will the opening ceremony be different this year?

The former Take That star will be joined by celebrated Russian soprano Aida Garifullina.

According to Fifa, the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony will have a slightly different format compared to previous editions of the tournament, with a particular focus on musical acts.

The show will also take place much closer to kick-off, just half an hour before the start of the match, which is scheduled for 4pm UK time.

Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull were headlined acts at the 2014 opening ceremony in Brazil.

Opera singer Placido Domingo - who famously soundtracked Italia '90 as one of the Three Tenors alongside Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras - will also be performing. Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez will join him.

"It is interesting that events are usually opened by opera stars because classical music is a universal code understood by residents of every country," said the tournament organisers.

Pianist Denis Matsuev, global opera stars Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eivazov, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Albina Shagimuratova are among the Russian stars on the show.

How much money will be spent?

Russia is spending more than $13 billion (11 billion euros) on hosting football's showpiece, the most important event in the country since the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics.

What is the official Fifa World Cup 2018 song?

The official Fifa World Cup song is called Live It Up and features Will Smith, Nicky Jam and Kosovar Albanian singer Era Istrefi.

The official song is customarily performed ahead of the tournament's opening match. "One life, live it up" is the central theme of the fast-paced dance tune. 'Live It Up' has been produced by DJ and songwriter Diplo and features Nicky Jam, Will Smith, and Kosovar singer Era Istrefi.

Football frenzy in India

Football frenzy has gripped India with fans buying jerseys to support their favourite teams.

Fifa World Cup 2018 Opening Ceremony at Luzhniki Stadium: Updates

As per reports, the total TV market is estimated to be Rs 500 billion, growing at 7-8 per cent.

Consumer electronics major Samsung India expects the sales of premium televisions in the country to increase by 10-15 per cent during the football world cup, which kicks off from today.

"With Fifa World Cup coming into play, the market should see 10-15 per cent growth in premium TV sales. We will be hopefully more than that," said Piyush Kunnapallil, general manager-consumer electronic business, Samsung India.

The Fifa World Cup Trophy

Iker Casillas. (Photo: AP/PTI)

Iker Casillas. (Photo: AP/PTI)

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas of Spain holds the World Cup Trophy before the group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia which opens the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia.

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 20:20 IST