FIFA World Cup 2018 kicks off in Russia

A freestyle artist performs outside the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow ahead of the opening ceremony.

A freestyle artist performs outside the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow ahead of the opening ceremony.  

All eyes are on Russia as the 21st edition of the quadrennial football extravaganza - the FIFA World Cup - kicked off on Thursday at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

FIFA World Cup 2018| Match schedule in IST

 

 

8: 30 p.m

 

Robbie Williams takes the stage

Robbie Williams performs hits 'Let Me Entertain You' and 'Rock DJ' accompanied by dancers and freestylers.

He is joined in a duet by Garifullina, a soloist from the Vienna State Opera, who entered the pitch on a firebird, singing Williams' hit song 'Angels'.

Robbie Williams and Aida Garifullina sing prior to the match between Russia and Saudi Arabia which opens the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow.

Robbie Williams and Aida Garifullina sing prior to the match between Russia and Saudi Arabia which opens the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow.  

 

8 p.m

The 'first kick'

Ronaldo and a child accompanying him pass the ball to the mascot, Zabivaka. This was “a symbolic first kick”. 

The official mascot for the Russian edition is Zabivaka the wolf. Zabivaka means ‘the one who scores’ in Russian. The mascot, which was selected via online voting, was designed by graphic design student Ekaterina Bocharova who described it as a wolf that is “fluffy and has kind eyes.”

The mascot’s role goes beyond being popular with the viewers, says Local Organising Committee Chairman Vitaly Mutko. “Our Mascot is tasked with inspiring supporters, getting the wider population involved in football and inviting them to the stadiums in order to experience memorable and positive emotions,” he adds.

 

7 p.m

 

You know it's football season when even the Pope is excited.

And here's another legend who says he is "more than ready."

 

 

6:45 p.m.

Indian kids to be Official Match Ball Carriers

In case you missed it, two Indian kids will get the chance to be Official Match Ball Carriers at the World Cup this year.

One of them will carry the match ball during the Belgium vs Panama game while the other will get a chance to get onto the pitch before the Brazil vs Costa Rica match.

Read more
 

6: 30 p.m.

 

FIFA 2018 ready reckoner

Just got here? Here's a handy guide to know all about the teams, key players, important numbers, and more.

Read more
 

6 p.m

 

Shocker from Spain

Even before kick-off, the atmosphere has been charged up with the news of Spain, in an unprecedented move, replacing their manager 24 hours before the World Cup.

 

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:43:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/live-fifa-world-cup-2018-opening-ceremony/article24161196.ece

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