The FIFA World Cup, the biggest sporting carnival on the planet, kick-started tonight. The World Cup kicked off in Russia Thursday as the host nation locked horns with Saudi Arabia in front of 80,000 people in Moscow after president Vladimir Putin officially declared the tournament open.
Brazilian great Ronaldo and British pop star Robbie Williams were present at the opening ceremony. Robbie Williams, who is best known for his hit single “Angels”, sang alongside Russian soprano Aida Garifullina shortly before Russia face Saudi Arabia in the first match of the FIFA World Cup at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
Unlike previous editions, this year’s opening ceremony took place just half hour before the curtain-raiser match, with a stronger focus on musical acts. Some 80 thousand fans were in attendance while millions more watched the live broadcast around the world.
Russia is spending more than $13 billion (11 billion euros) on hosting football’s showpiece, the most important event in the country since the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics.
The buildup has been dogged by controversy and diplomatic scandals and has shone a light on the challenges facing Putin’s Russia.
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