Argentina’s Pitana to ref World Cup opener

Wednesday, 13 Jun, 2018

"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".

Williams said: "I'm so happy and excited to be going back to Russian Federation for such a unique performance".

The "Angels" icon will perform to a crowd of 80,000 people at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Thursday, shortly before the opening game between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) said this year's opening ceremony will have a "slightly different format", focusing on "musical acts and will take place much closer to kick-off".

Read on for a look at what to know ahead of the opening ceremony.

David Silva Spain

"Please understand that the track list for the opening ceremony of the 2018 Fifa World Cup has been agreed between the artists, Fifa, and the local organising committee, who would like to keep this as a surprise for the public until the show". There has been no mention of a performance of the official World Cup song, Live It Up, featuring film star Will Smith, Colombia-based pop star Nicky Jam, and Kosovan singer Era Istrefi.

Federation Internationale de Football Association says it approved a new formula which rewards teams for playing more games, and it takes effect in the post-World Cup ranking on July 19.

Shaikh Khalifa took part in a meeting of heads of continent's federation chaired by the FIFA chief Gianni Infantino.

Robbie Williams and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina will entertain the crowd at the opening ceremony of the World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium.

A south American team has never won the World Cup in Europe, while Germany are aiming to be the first team since Brazil in 1962 to retain the trophy.