The Opening Ceremony will precede the opening fixture featuring the host nation Russia against Saudi Arabia on Friday. The ceremony is an opportunity for Russia to show off their culture and traditions through various performances supported by a background cast of dancers and gymnasts.
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) explained that this year’s opening ceremony will have a “slightly different format,” focusing on “musical acts and will take place much closer to kick-off.”
The Opening Ceremony will take place in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow – the national stadium of Russia – which is also the location where the final of the tournament will be held.
The Luzhniki Stadium 😍
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) April 25, 2018
It is the largest stadium in Russia with a seating capacity of 80,000 and has hosted a variety of global events. The likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Metallica have all performed at the Luzhniki Stadium.
The stadium was also the venue for the recent friendly game between Russia and Brazil where the South American team won 3-0, as well as the venue for the 2008 Champions League final where Manchester United beat Chelsea in an intense penalty shootout.
The opening ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. local time (GMT+3), just 30 minutes before Russia and Saudi Arabia spar off to officially commence this year’s World Cup. This is far closer to kick-off when compared to previous years so the organisers will certainly be on edge hoping everything runs smoothly and on time.
You can compare your time with Moscow here to avoid missing the performance!
Who will be performing?
World Cup organisers announced on June 11 that the former ‘Take That’ British singer Robbie Williams will headline the opening ceremony on Thursday.
— Robbie Williams (@robbiewilliams) June 11, 2018
“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 football fans in the stadium and many millions all over the world is a boyhood dream,” Williams expressed in a statement.
The minutes leading up to kick-off will be jam-packed with talent as actor Will Smith and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina will also take to the stage.
The whole world will get the chance to see Will Smith sing live once again with American singer Nicky Jam and Era Istrefi to the 2018 World Cup theme song, “Live It Up.”
The World Cup trophy will be presented by Brazil’s icon and two-time world champion Ronaldo who also took a World Cup Golden Boot (2002), a Golden Ball (1998) and a World Cup Silver Ball (2002) along with his tournament wins.
The crowd at Luzhniki Stadium will surely be in for a treat on opening night. Be sure to not miss it!