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World Cup 2018 kicks off today

June 14, 2018 00:00:00

A hawker selling flags of different soccer nations on the Bailey Road in the city on Wednesday, ahead of the inauguration of the World Cup today (Thursday) in Russia — FE photo by KAZ Sumon

The long-awaited 32-nation FIFA World Cup 2018 begins today (Thursday) with hosts Russia taking on Saudi Arabia in the opening match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, reports agencies.

The match will kick off at 9.00pm Bangladesh time.

A total of 32 football teams, split into eight groups, will participate in this world cup.

The 30-minute glittering opening ceremony will begin at 8:30 pm (BST) with 500 local performers, including dancers, gymnasts and trampolinists, rendering the show.

Brazil's two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo will show off the trophy to 80,000 fans inside the stadium.

World Cup organisers earlier announced that British singer Robbie Williams will perform at the World Cup opening ceremony.

Robbie Williams will open the World Cup programme with Russia soprano Aida Garifullina joining the English singer for what FIFA has described as a "musical extravaganza".

A fireworks display is set to bring the ceremony to a close before the World Cup competition returns four years on from Mario Gotze's decisive contribution in Brazil.

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