British pop-star Robbie Williams and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina lead the celebrations before host nation Russia faces Saudi Arabia in the first game of the competition in the Russian capital, Moscow. 

The show was short and sweet, allowing for the focus to be on the sport rather than the pageantry that one might associate with the Olympic Games opening ceremony and its parade of flags and hours-long performance. 

The British singer has, however, come under some criticism for accepting to perform in Russia amid sanctions from the West and in particular tensions between his home-nation the United Kingdom, and World Cup host Russia.

Nonetheless, with the competition underway controversies will be eclipsed as football enthusiasts around the world turn to Russia in the hopes of seeing their team win.


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