World Cup 2018 opening ceremony: Start time, performers and TV channel

Telegraph Sport
Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium will host the opening ceremony and, indeed, the final - FIFA

What time is the World Cup opening ceremony?

The curtain will be raised on the tournament at 3:30pm (BST) on Thursday June 14, just 30 minutes before the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia

Where is the opening ceremony?

At Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium which will also host the final.

There will also be a concert held in the city's famous Red Square concurrently with the opening ceremony. 

What will the opening ceremony involve?

The event will focus on a series of musical acts, with Robbie Williams headlining. 

Around 500 dancers, gymnasts and trampolinists will also be performing in an opening extravaganza that will pay homage to all things Russian. 

Who will be performing with Robbie Williams?

England will have representation in the opening ceremony in the form of 90s pop icon, Robbie Williams.

Williams, who helped mastermind another edition of Soccer Aid for Unicef, will perform for the capacity crowd inside the Luzhniki Stadium and millions more watching on around the world.

“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,” said Williams.

Allow Robbie Williams to entertain you ahead of the first World Cup game  Credit: PA 

“We’d like to invite football and music fans to party with us in Russia, in the stadium, or to tune in their TVs a little earlier for an unforgettable show.”

The former Take That star will be joined by celebrated Russian soprano Aida Garifullina.

According to Fifa, the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony will have a slightly different format compared to previous editions of the tournament, with a particular focus on musical acts.

The show will also take place much closer to kick-off, just half an hour before the start of the match, which is scheduled for 4pm UK time.

Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull were headlines acts at the 2014 opening ceremony in Brazil.

Opera singer Placido Domingo - who famously soundtracked Italia '90 as one of the Three Tenors alongside Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras - will also be performing. Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez will join him. 

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"It is interesting that football events are usually opened by opera stars, because classical music is a universal code understood by residents of every country," said the tournament organisers.

Pianist Denis Matsuev, global opera stars Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eivazov, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Albina Shagimuratova are among the Russian stars on show. 

We do know that the official World Cup song is called Live It Up and features Will Smith, Nicky Jam and Kosovar Albanian singer Era Istrefi. 

The official song is customarily performed ahead of the tournament's opening match. 

How can I watch it?

ITV are broadcasting the opening match so they will show the opening ceremony live on ITV 1. If you're on the move, you can follow events with our dedicated live blog and ensure you do not miss out on the excitement. 

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