Media playback is not supported on this device
World Cup 2018: Best & worst bits as Robbie Williams opens World CupBritish singer Robbie Williams and Brazil legend Ronaldo got the 2018 World Cup in Russia under way with the opening ceremony in Moscow.Williams performed a series of his hits, joined by Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, prior to the hosts’ opening 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia.Ronaldo dummied the opening kick, allowing a child to pass the ball to mascot Zabivaka.Russian president Vladimir Putin then gave a speech at the Luzhniki Stadium.”We are sincerely happy to host the World Cup in our country,” he said.”Football is truly loved here. Russia is an open, hospitable and friendly country.”Impressive Russia win World Cup openerReaction to Russia’s 5-0 win over Saudi ArabiaWhat happened?
Garifullina entered on a ‘firebird’A large image of a football was overlaid on the pitch, with a stage in the centre, surrounded by dancers.Former Real Madrid and Barcelona striker Ronaldo, who scored twice as Brazil beat Germany in the 2002 final and was part of the 1994 winning squad, walked out with a child wearing a Russia 2018 shirt.Former Take That singer Williams, wearing a red and black leopard print suit, then took over proceedings with a rendition of Let Me Entertain You, before Garifullina was carried out on to the pitch on the back of a ‘firebird’ float.
Media playback is not supported on this device
Throwback to Robbie Williams’s World Cup debutWilliams sang a section of Feel before he and Garifullina performed a duet of Angels as performers emerged, dressed in the colours of the flags of all 32 teams and carrying a sign bearing the name of each nation.Ronaldo returned with the official ball, which was sent into space with the International Space Station crew in March and came back to earth earlier this month.He then shaped to take the opening kick but pulled out, inviting the child to pass it to Zabivaka, a brown and white wolf that is the official mascot of the tournament.As the playing surface was cleared in time for kick-off, Williams closed with Rock DJ.Putin’s plea for unity
Russia president Vladimir Putin gave a speech before the opening gamePutin addressed the crowd and the worldwide television audience in a lengthy speech, calling football a uniting force. “Whatever traditions we hold, football brings us together in one single team and we are united by our affection for this spectacular and vibrant game,” he said.”I wish all the teams success and an unforgettable experience to fans. Welcome to Russia.”Russia has faced several controversies in preparing to stage the tournament including concerns over racism, problems with hooliganism and political tensions with the West.In March, foreign secretary Boris Johnson likened the way Putin is promoting the World Cup in Russia to Adolf Hitler’s notorious use of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.There was vocal support for Putin within the ground, with BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent Richard Conway reporting large sections of the crowd chanted, “Vladimir”.After Putin, Fifa president Gianni Infantino also gave a speech in Russian, English and Arabic.”As of today, for one month football will conquer Russia and from Russia football will conquer the whole world – enjoy the biggest celebration on earth,” he said.
Former Brazil striker Ronaldo took part in the opening kick, accompanied by a child and Zabivaka the mascot
Williams was backed by various dancers and acrobats
Performers spelled out the words ‘welcome’ and ‘love’ as part of the ceremony
Before the opening ceremony started, former Spain keeper Iker Casillas and Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova brought out the World Cup trophy Related to this story From the section World Cup Read more on World Cup 2018: Russia thrash Saudi Arabia 5-0 in tournament opener From the section World Cup Read more on World Cup live: Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in opener From the section World Cup Read more on World Cup 2018: Football showpiece set to begin in Russia From the section BBC News Read more on Robbie Williams to kick off World Cup – despite offending Russia in 2016 Read more on Listen to the latest 5 live Euro Leagues podcast 2018 Fifa World Cup Lineker, Shearer, Lampard and more… World Cup pundits’ predictions Five reasons to be optimistic about England ‘A shambolic decision’ – arguments galore as Brazil 1970 wins BBC’s World Cup of kits Which is your favourite? Check out all 32 World Cup home kits All you need to know about World Cup in seven charts ‘El Chucky’, ‘The Sergeant’ & ‘The Bull’ – the youngsters to watch at the World Cup Bullet-maker to Ballon d’Or: The man who reinvented goalkeeping How can you predict who’s going to win the World Cup? Tattoos, balls, goals & more – all our quizzes in one place A ‘watershed’ in hooliganism – when England last met Tunisia Inside England’s ‘modest’ World Cup base Car washes, sleeping rough & military service – Asian players’ journeys to the World Cup Download your World Cup wallchart BBC to show World Cup in Ultra HD & VR Also in Sport Bullet-maker to Ballon d’Or: The man who reinvented goalkeeping From gunpoint ordeal to fastest man in the world – GB sprinter vows to go quicker Watch: Morgan and Root inspire England to victory Pamela Anderson’s boyfriend, Suarez’s unwanted record & the sticker-crazy nation – World Cup bluffers’ guide Watch: Shearer and Jenas select their England XI World sport: 10 photos we liked this week Five reasons to be optimistic about England Will McLaren’s struggles drive Alonso out of F1? ‘You’re not amputating my leg! I’ll never ride again’ – TT rider’s comeback Revealed: What was your maddest World Cup moment? ‘You feel you have to lie’ – the cyclist, the crash, her depression & the ‘mask’ athletes wear Get running with the Couch to 5K app Football notifications, social media and more Get latest scores and headlines sent straight to your phone, sign-up to our newsletter and learn where to find us on online. Today’s football gossip The latest rumours and stories from around the world of football. World Cup Daily podcast: Subscribe & download The latest news, debate, analysis and big-name guests – plus interviews from inside the England camp – at the Fifa 2018 World Cup. How to get into Football How to get into football – the most popular sport in the world, with clubs and facilities throughout the UK. Get Inspired Activity Finder Run by the BBC and partners Find ways to get active near you: Enter your town, city or postcode: This Girl Can Swim Mini Athletics – Woking For more ideas, information and inspiration, visit bbc.co.uk/getinspired