World Cup 2018 Opening Ceremony: Known Performers and Latest Rumors

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2018

English musician Robbie Williams celebrates after winning a England V Soccer Aid World XI charity football match for Soccer Aid for Unicef at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England on June 10, 2018. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Robbie Williams will headline the opening ceremony for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, set to take place shortly before kick-off on Thursday at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Hosts Russia will face Saudi Arabia at 4 p.m. BST (11 a.m. ET), and the ceremony is scheduled to begin just 30 minutes prior.

According to Tom Dutton of the Evening Standard, Williams will perform alongside Aida Garifullina, a Russian soprano who won the 2013 Operalia competition.

View from the Moskva River of the Luzhniki Olympic stadium during a FIFA press tour ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup in Moscow on June 9, 2018. - The opening and final matches of the FIFA World Cup 2018 will be played at Luzhniki stadium. (Photo by YURI
YURI CORTEZ/Getty Images

Williams expressed his excitement to be part of the event:

"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.

"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."

Here's more from the 44-year-old pop star:

Surprisingly, there has been no indication the trio of Will Smith, Nicky Jam and Era Istrefi will perform in the ceremony as well. The three recorded the World Cup's official song "Live It Up," and usually, that is performed during the ceremony.

Here is this year's World Cup anthem:

According to the Telegraph, there are a host of Russian performers who will also play a part in a gala, including Denis Matsuev, Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eivazov, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Albina Shagimuratova. They will perform at the famous Red Square.

Per Dutton, local dancers, gymnasts and trampolinists will also be involved in the 30-minute spectacle, which will conclude with a fireworks display ahead of the opening match.

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