2018 FIFA World Cup starts with music and 21-min opening ceremony

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the FIFA World Cup open after a colourful opening ceremony at the 81,000-seater Luzhniki Stadium here on Thursday.

The glitzy ceremony was headlined by British pop star Robbie Williams and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina.

The 21-minute show produced by Russia’s state Channel One broke from World Cup tradition, focusing on musical acts including a performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky in front of full stands.

Putin said, “I hope fans and teams enjoy their stay in Russia, an open, hospitable and friendly country with people who have the shared values. Football brings us altogether in one team, we are united by this game.”

Cheryshev makes World Cup history

  • Denis Cheryshev, who became the first substitute to ever score in a World Cup opening game, struck twice for Russia as the World Cup hosts thumped Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of the tournament in Moscow on Thursday.
  • Gazinsky scored after 12 minutes & Cheryshev added a second after coming on as an injury replacement for Alan Dzagoev.
  • Artem Dzuyba netted a third before Cheryshev and Aleksandr Golovin wrapped up Russia’s emphatic win.

Friday’s matches

  1. Egypt vs Uruguay (5.30pm IST)
  2. Portugal vs Spain (11.30pm)
  3. Morocco vs Iran (8.30pm IST)