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World Cup 2018 Opening Ceremony: artists, times and information

The opening ceremony for World Cup 2018 in Russia takes place on June 14 with Ronaldo Nazario, Robbie Williams and Aida Garifullina at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
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Soccer Football - World Cup - Opening Ceremony - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - June 14, 2018   Aida Garifullina performs during the opening ceremony   REUTERS/Carl Recine

The 2018 World Cup kicked off on Thursday June 14 with an opening ceremony featuring stars  Robbie Williams, Ronaldo Nazario and local Russian singer, soprano Aida Garifillinam.

The opening ceremony started at 5:30 p.m (local time), allowing half an hour's worth of song and dance action before kick-off in the first game of the 2018 World Cup, which will see the hosts, Russia, face Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Robbie Williams and Aida Garifullina
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Robbie Williams and Aida GarifullinaMLADEN ANTONOVAFP

Ronaldo Nazario to present the opening ceremony of the World Cup

The master of ceremonies was former Real Madrid and Barcelona striker, Ronaldo Nazario of Brazil fame also (he won two World Cups in 1994 and 2002). "The inaugural game is always very symbolic; it's the moment when you realise the time you have been waiting for the last four years, as a player and as a fan, has arrived. Nobody knows what will happen in the next four weeks but everyone is sure it will be memorable," says Ronaldo.

The company in charge of organising the show is Russian television station, Channel One, under director Felix Mikhailov. He is one of the creative minds heavily involved in several of the events around World Cup 2018. He is also in charge or directing the closing ceremony on July 15.

Robbie Williams performs during opening ceremony in Luzhniki Stadium

Robbie Williams, the former Take That star, who went solo and has had an incredibly successful career, performed during the opening ceremony. He was very excited beforehand. "I am very happy and excited to return to Russia for such a unique performance," he said. "Opening the FIFA World Cup to 80,000 football fans in the stadium and to many millions around the world is a childhood dream," he continued. He said he wants to invite football and music fans to join together for the celebration and to tune their TV shows in a little early in order to catch the unforgettable show.

Williams brought a little bit of controversy to proceedings, with a profane gesture to his critics.

Aida Garifullina the local star at the ceremony

The host country, Russia, was also represented. One of the most acclaimed voices in Russia, the soprano, Aida Garifullina, sang at the ceremony too. "I never imagined that I would be part of this huge party, the World Cup, and that this would all happen in my own country," she said.

Opening hours of the 2018 World Cup opening ceremony by country

Spain: 16:30

Colombia: 9:30

Chile: 10:30

Argentina: 11:30

Mexico: 9:30

United States: 10:30 am

A World Cup full of stars

Once the performance and the ceremony is over, the biggest event in the sporting universe will begin, the 2018 Russian World Cup. You can follow it in AS English, match by match and with all the information regardin fixtures, live games, match reports, analysis, news and more.


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