Bengaluru, June 11: The FIFA World Cup 2018 is a few days away and all the qualified nations have already kicked off their preparations for the biggest football extravaganza, which will be held in Russia from June 14-July 15.
In this edition of the FIFA World Cup, 32 countries have made the cut to the final stages and all of them have been pooled into eight groups of four each.
The top two from each group qualify for the knockouts (Round of 16) until one winner emerges at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15. In Group A, hosts Russia will take on Asian giants Saudi Arabia in the World Cup opener, also at Luzhniki, on June 14.
Ahead of the inaugural game between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia, the world will witness a grand opening ceremony at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow on June 14.
Time: The match will start at 8:30 PM (IST) and the opening ceremony, will begin approximately half an hour before the kick off.
Celebrities & Performers:
As many as 500 local performers, including dancers, gymnasts and trampolinists will be put up a grand spectacle in the arena attended by some 80,000 fans.
According to the FIFA.com website, global music icon, Robbie Williams will entertain the crowd and the millions watching around the world. Celebrated Russian soprano Aida Garifullina will join him during the musical extravaganza.
The football glory that all players will be hoping to achieve on Russian soil will be represented by Brazil's two-time FIFA World Cup champion Ronaldo.
Will Smith and Nicky Jam will perform at the official song of the tournament "Live It Up".
This year's opening ceremony will have a slightly different format compared to previous editions of the tournament. This time, the ceremony will focus on musical acts and will take place much closer to kick-off, just half an hour before the start of the match.
However, the underlying theme of celebrating not only football but also the host country will remain the same. This time Russia's most acclaimed young voices, Aida Garifullina will be enthralling the audiences.
Russia's Channel One will produce the show, and the creative concept will be developed by Felix Mikhailov, who directed the main ceremonies held throughout the entire 2018 FIFA World Cup journey.
Another concert will be held at Moscow's Red Square, where stars such as Placido Dominguez and Juan Diego Flores will perform.