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Russia launches 2018 FIFA World Cup with spectacular opening show in Moscow

June 14, 18:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW

FIFA World Cup 2018 kicks off in Russia

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British singer Robbie Williams performs at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium
British singer Robbie Williams performs at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium
British singer Robbie Williams performs at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Russian soprano Aida Garifullina performs at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
Russian soprano Aida Garifullina performs at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
Russian soprano Aida Garifullina performs at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Aida Garifullina and Robbie Williams perform at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Aida Garifullina and Robbie Williams perform at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Aida Garifullina and Robbie Williams perform at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Spanish footballer Iker Casillas holds the 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy
Spanish footballer Iker Casillas holds the 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy
Spanish footballer Iker Casillas holds the 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy
© Sergei Bobylev/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
A fan seen at Luzhniki Stadium
A fan seen at Luzhniki Stadium
A fan seen at Luzhniki Stadium
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Denis Tyrin/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Russia's fans cheer ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening match against Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium
Russia's fans cheer ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening match against Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium
Russia's fans cheer ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening match against Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium
© Sergei Bobylev/TASS
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British singer Robbie Williams performs at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Russian soprano Aida Garifullina performs at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Aida Garifullina and Robbie Williams perform at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Spanish footballer Iker Casillas holds the 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy
© Sergei Bobylev/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
A fan seen at Luzhniki Stadium
© Valery Sharifulin/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Denis Tyrin/TASS
The opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
Russia's fans cheer ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening match against Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium
© Sergei Bobylev/TASS

MOSCOW, June 14. /TASS/. The long-awaited 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off on Thursday in the Russian capital of Moscow with a spectacular opening ceremony at the legendary Luzhniki Stadium.

Less than an hour before the start of the official opening ceremony international supermodel Natalia Vodyanova from Russia and football legend Iker Casillas (the 2010 FIFA World Cup winner) brought to the pitch the 2018 FIFA World Cup Original Trophy.

The Trophy was brought to the stadium in a newly-designed travel case by Louis Vuitton, which had the lock and six clasps made in ruthenium - a strong dark-grey metal that has the chemical symbol Ru and was named after the host of this year’s FIFA World Cup.

Minutes before the official opening ceremony began an artificial cover was rolled out on top of the playing field with actors rushing out on it.

The ceremony started with the performance of a classical music piece by Russian composer Pyotr Chaikovsky. Then, Britain’s famous pop singer Robbie Williams appeared on the field accompanied by Brazilian football legend Ronaldo.

Robbie Williams performed then famous hit "Let Me Entertain You" accompanied by dancers and freestylers.

As the opening ceremony continued Russian harpist and composer performed one of his musical themes, while a huge firebird was rolled out on the pitch and as it spread its wings Russian singer Aida Garifullina emerged on the back of the fairytale creature.

Garifullina and Williams performed "Angels" in duo as the accompanying dancers were representing in pairs 32 participating national teams of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Following that song, an official ball of this World Cup, Telstar 18 by Adidas, was revealed to the full-packed 80,000-seat capacity Luzhniki Stadium. It was the exact ball, that was delivered earlier to the International Space Station (ISS) and brought back to Earth early this month.

The opening ceremony was wrapped up with Robbie Williams’ smash hit "Rock DJ" before the national football teams of hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia clashed in the opening match of the much-anticipated quadrennial global football championship.

"Dear friends, I welcome all guests of the legendary Luzhniki Stadium," Russian President Vladimir Putin said before the match. "I congratulate the whole international football family with the opening of the main football championship of the planet."

FIFA President Gianni Infantino addressed the spectators and football fans around the world speaking in Russian and English "Dear Russia, dear friends, welcome to the World Cup in Russia.".

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