World Cup opening ceremony: When is it, who is performing & all you need to know about Moscow event

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Ahead of the opening ceremony to kick off this summer's tournament in Russia, Goal takes a look at who will perform and where it will be held

With the World Cup set to begin imminently on June 14, there is still the matter of the opening ceremony to take place. These ceremonies, which typically precede the opening fixture, are opportunities for the host country to show off their culture and traditions in the form of dancers and performers, and also feature big-name headline acts.

Goal takes a look at who will be performing at this year's ceremony in Russia and more.


When will the World Cup 2018 opening ceremony take place?


This year's opening ceremony ahead of the finals in Russia will be held on Thursday June 14 at 3:30pm BST (10:30am EST), 30 minutes before the opening match of the tournament between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

This is far closer to kick-off than is traditional, so the organisers will be hoping there's no technical hitches in the opening ceremony that delay the start of the tournament proper.


Where will the World Cup 2018 opening ceremony be held?


Luzhniki Stadium

The ceremony will take place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow – the national stadium of Russia – which is also where the final of the tournament will be held. It is the largest stadium in Russia with a seating capacity of 80,000 and has hosted a myriad of global events.

It was the venue of a recent friendly game between home nation Russia and Brazil, where the South American team won 3-0 The stadium is also home to the Russian national team.

The likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Metallica have all performed at the Luzhniki Stadium. The stadium was also the venue for the 2008 Champions League final, where Manchester United beat Chelsea in a penalty shootout.


Who will perform at the Russia 2018 opening ceremony?


Bizarrely, UK pop star Robbie Williams will be performing at the opening ceremony, which is being curated by Russia's Channel One, as well as renowned soprano Aida Garifullina.

“I’m so happy and excited to be going back to Russia for such a unique performance," says Williams, who's probably best-known for his songs around the turn of the millennium such as Angels and Rock DJ. "I’ve done a lot in my career, and opening the FIFA World Cup to 80,000 football fans in the stadium and many millions all over the world is a boyhood dream."

Ronaldo, hero for Brazil at the 2002 World Cup, will also feature in World Cup 2018 opening ceremony representing "the football glory that all players will be hoping to achieve on Russian soil" according to FIFA.

"Of course it is also an emotional one for the hosts," he told FIFA's official website. "After so much hard work, suddenly the whole world is gathered in your backyard to celebrate their love for football. I felt that in Brazil four years ago and I am now happy to share this excitement with the Russians as well.”

In addition to the ceremony taking place at the Luzhniki Stadium, there will be another concert occurring at the Red Square in Moscow where stars such as Placido Dominguez and Juan Diego Flores will perform.


Who are previous World Cup opening ceremony performers?


Shakira and Pitbull were the two headliners for the last opening ceremony held in Brazil, performing the tournament's official song "We Are One (Ole Ola)". Dancers and performers also featured, with homages tributes to Brazilian culture and heritage.

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Before the start of the 2010 World Cup held at the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, performers included Thandiswa Mazwai, Timothy Moloi, Hugh Masekela, Khaled, Femi Kuti, Osibisa, R. Kelly, TKZee, Hip Hop Pantsula and the Soweto Gospel Choir.

To kick off the 2006 finals in Germany, a Bavarian band dressed in lederhosen performed.

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