The FIFA World Cup 2018 kicks off in Russia on Thursday as years of preparations dogged by diplomatic scandals give way to a month of action on the field in football's global showpiece. The sport's largest event will be preceded by an opening ceremony that is expected to spare no expense, with Russia and President Vladimir Putin eager to impress with the eyes of the world upon them.
Award-winning British pop star Robbie Williams is expected to perform alongside Russian soprano Aida Garifullina at the opening ceremony shortly before the opening match, with former Brazil striker and two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo Nazario de Lima — also known as O Fenomeno — taking part in the ceremony in an unspecified role. The official song of the World Cup is traditionally performed during the opening ceremony before the first match and this edition's song is called Live It Up, featuring Will Smith, Nicky Jam and Era Istrefi.
Russia will get the ball rolling against Saudi Arabia at the completely refurbished 80,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow after the opening ceremony, in what will be the only match of the day. The tournament will begin in earnest on Friday, with a minimum of three matches to be played every day until the end of the group stage on 28 June. The round of 16 will commence on 30 June after 16 teams have been knocked out and will be followed by the quarter-finals and semi-finals, which will be wrapped up by 11 July.
Here is all you need to know about when and where to watch the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the Russia vs Saudi Arabia match:
When and where will the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony be held?
The 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony will be held on Thursday, 14 June at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The Russia vs Saudi Arabia match will be played at the same venue shortly after the opening ceremony.
How do I watch the opening ceremony and matches live?
The opening ceremony and matches will be telecast live on SONY TEN 2, SONY TEN 2 HD, SONY TEN 3 and SONY TEN 3 HD.
What time will the live coverage start?
The live coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony will start at 6.30 pm IST and the first match of the tournament will be played at 8.30 pm IST.
Where can I follow the match online?
The opening ceremony and the first match will be shown live on SONY LIV.
Updated Date: Jun 18, 2018 20:50 PM