June 13, 2018 – The 2018 World Cup will officially open on Thursday, June 14th, with a match between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Moments before kickoff, pop icon Robbie Williams and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina will take the stage at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, and will be joined by two-time FIFA World Cup champion Ronaldo!
“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 Robbie Williams. “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.”
Preparations are underway two days before the opening game.
This tournament’s ceremony will be a bit different than those in the past, focusing more on the musical acts who will perform just 30 minutes before the match. The World Cup opener will begin at 18:00 local time.
“I never imagined I would be part of this huge celebration, the World Cup, happening in my own country. And, on 15 July, we will find out for whom this precious dream will come true, back on the same stage, after a month-long festival of football in Russia,” said Garifullina.
Ronaldo spoke about the symbolism and emotions involved in the opening ceremony.
“The opening match is always a very symbolic one – it is that instant when you realise that the big moment you, as a player or fan, have been waiting for four years has finally arrived. No one knows what will happen in the four weeks of the tournament, but everyone is sure that it will be memorable. Of course it is also an emotional one for the hosts. After so much hard work, suddenly the whole world is gathered in your backyard to celebrate their love for football. I felt that in Brazil four years ago and I am now happy to share this excitement with the Russians as well.”
Felix Mikhailov is the man in charge of the ceremony’s creative concept and has been involved from the Preliminary Draw in 2015 to the closing act before the World Cup final.
“We are happy to introduce a new format for the FIFA World Cup opening and closing ceremonies, in terms of their duration and start time closer to kick-off. At the same time, the action will extend beyond the stadium, encompassing the city and the area around the Luzhniki Stadium. The co-director of the opening ceremony will be my friend Ilya Averbukh, who has added new colour to the spectacle on the pitch. And, of course, our show will be about football and love,” concluded Mikhailov.