Russia will lift the curtain on this summer’s World Cup with a glittering opening ceremony at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
The tournament will officially begin when hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia at the same venue at 4pm on Thursday, June 14, but the excitement is already building as the host nation prepares to welcome 32 national teams each with sights set on World Cup glory.
The opening show is due to last approximately 30 minutes with 500 local performers involved, including dancers, gymnasts, and trampolinists.
Fifa World Cup opening ceremony 2018
A fireworks display is set to bring the ceremony to a close before World Cup competition returns four years on from Mario Gotze’s decisive contribution in Brazil.
The ceremony will take place at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, with the show scheduled to start 2.30pm UK time on Thursday, June 14.
TV, online and live stream coverage
The pre-tournament event will be televised live on ITV, with coverage starting at 2.30pm UK time.
You will be able to follow the opening ceremony with Standard Sport‘s dedicated LIVE blog ahead of coverage of the opening game of the tournament between Russia and Saudi Arabia (4pm).
The main venue for the finals will host the first and last match. Built in the 1950s, it was used during the 1980 Olympic Games and hosts most matches played by the Russian national team and at various times has been home to city clubs Spartak, CSKA, and Torpedo. Manchester United fans will remember it fondly – it was here, in driving rain, that the club won their third European title by beating Chelsea on penalties in 2008.
Tenors Placido Domingo and Juan Diego Florez are the only confirmed performers for the ceremony.
The official World Cup anthem “Live It Up” has been recorded by Will Smith, Nicky Jam, and Era Istrefi. It is unclear whether the trio will be in Russia to perform their song, though the tournament track is traditionally sung at either the opening or closing ceremony.
Pianist Denis Matsuev will be joined by global opera stars Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov, Roberto Alanya, Ildar Abdrazakov, Aida Garifullina and Albina Shagimuratova for a concert at Moscow’s Red Square on June 13.
Watch Fifa World Cup Opening Ceremony 2018:
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