X

World Cup 2018 Opening Ceremony Schedule: TV Coverage and Online Live Stream

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2018

TOPSHOT - This aerial view taken with a drone shows Luzhniki Stadium (C) and the Moskva River in Moscow on November 4, 2017. 
Luzhniki Stadium will host seven matches including the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV        (Photo credit should read DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images)
DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/Getty Images

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Thursday as hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia in Group A at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

Before the football gets under way, though, there is the small matter of the opening ceremony that will officially mark the start of the month-long tournament.

Set to take place just half an hour ahead of the 4 p.m. BST (11 a.m. ET) kick-off for the Russia-Saudi Arabia clash, festivities will include appearances by British pop star Robbie Williams, Russian opera singer Aida Garifullina and Brazilian football legend Ronaldo. 

Now a traditional curtain-raising event, the opening ceremony will set the tone for Russia as they aim to host a tournament to remember.

        

Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia 

Date: Thursday, June 14 

Time: 5:30 p.m. local, 3:30 p.m. BST, 10:30 a.m. ET

TV Info: ITV (UK), Fox (U.S.)

Live Stream: Fox Soccer Match PassITV Hub 

        

The Luzhniki Stadium is the largest of the 12 venues that will host matches at the World Cup.

It boasts a capacity of 81,000 and is situated on the banks of the Moskva River, making it an ideal setting for the start of this year's tournament.

Tension is likely to be high in the vicinity of the stadium in the buildup to the opening ceremony and first match as it is a must-win game for the hosts.

Russia are one of the lowest-ranked sides in the tournament but would give themselves a chance of making the knockout rounds if they pick up three points against Saudi Arabia.

Russia's coach Stanislav Cherchesov gestures from the touchline during an international friendly football match between Russia and Turkey at Moscow's VEB Arena on June 5, 2018. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER
ALEXANDER NEMENOV/Getty Images

Their other Group A opponents are Egypt and Uruguay, who will provide sterner tests than the side from the Middle East.

The opening ceremony is sure to provide home fans with some relief ahead of the crucial clash, and it should be a spectacular occasion.

Per FIFA, it will be a slightly different event than in previous years, with the ceremony focusing on musical acts and taking place much closer to kick-off than usual. 

However, it will not be lacking in pomp and ceremony, with 500 dancers, gymnasts and trampolinists set to perform an "homage to all things Russian," per the Telegraph.

Former Take That member Williams announced his participation on Twitter:

Robbie Williams @robbiewilliams

Very excited to be returning to Russia to perform at the opening of the @FIFAWorldCup - tune in early on Thursday for an unforgettable show! #WorldCup https://t.co/skwCwt21SM

Friday will see the 2018 World Cup get into full swing with three matches scheduled to be played, including a mouthwatering fixture between Spain and Portugal in Group B.

Russia will play host to the highest quality football the globe has to offer over the next month, and it all leads to the final at the Luzhniki Stadium on July 15. 

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.