Baku, Azerbaijan, June 14
A spectacular opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup has been held at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva attended the event.
The ceremony brought together nearly 20 heads of state and government.
The ceremony started with the performance of a classical music piece by Russian composer Pyotr Chaikovsky. Then, Britain’s famous pop singer Robbie Williams appeared on the field accompanied by Brazilian football legend Ronaldo.
Robbie Williams performed then famous hit "Let Me Entertain You" accompanied by dancers and freestylers.
As the opening ceremony continued Russian harpist and composer performed one of his musical themes, while a huge firebird was rolled out on the pitch and as it spread its wings Russian singer Aida Garifullina emerged on the back of the fairytale creature.
Garifullina and Williams performed "Angels" in duo as the accompanying dancers were representing in pairs 32 participating national teams of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"Dear friends, I welcome all guests of the legendary Luzhniki Stadium," Russian President Vladimir Putin said before the match. "I congratulate the whole international football family with the opening of the main football championship of the planet."
FIFA President Gianni Infantino addressed the spectators and football fans around the world speaking in Russian and English "Dear Russia, dear friends, welcome to the World Cup in Russia".
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 cities of Russia.
The World Cup opened with a match between Russia and Saudi Arabia in Group A.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva and Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva watched the game.
Russia thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of the football championship. The goals came from Yury Gazinsky, Denis Cheryshev (2), Artyom Dzyuba and Alexander Golovin.