No ‘Party Like A Russian’ for Robbie Williams at World Cup opening

Alfred Osborne
June 15, 2018

The 2018 World Cup begins today, but while many are waiting for the games to begin, others are looking forward to the opening ceremony.

The 44-year-old Williams showed the world the finger during his final song "Rock DJ" as he prowled down the sideline of Luzhniki Stadium before the opening tournament match between host Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

In the track, Williams sings about a leader who "alleviates the cash from a whole entire nation, takes loose change and builds his own space station", and adds: "Ain't no refutin' or disputin' - I'm a modern Rasputin", while women dressed as ballerinas dance around him in the music video. Garifullina guhed to Federation Internationale de Football Association that, "I never imagined I would be part of this huge celebration, the World Cup, happening in my own country". One thing will remain the same, however: the underlying theme of celebrating not only football but also the host country, this time with a touching performance by one of Russia's most acclaimed young voices, Aida Garifullina.

Since 2006, every new edition of the FIFA World Cup™ has brought with it the promise of a new Trophy Tour travelling and touching down in new cities and meeting new fans.

Williams had also sparked controversy in Russia two years ago for promoting stereotypes about the country with his song "Party Like a Russian".

The 44-year-old opened with his 1998 single "Let Me Entertain You" at the start of proceedings after spending time on stage with former Brazil striker Ronaldo.

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The performance took place just before the first game in pool play between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia, where the home team won in dominant fashion 5-0.

The ceremony precedes the World Cup's first game, between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

Talking of a love of soccer uniting the planet "as one team", Mr Putin said: "In this unity, over which no powers reign, in which there are no differences of language, of ideology or of faith, lies the great power of football, and of all sport". The first match of the season was played between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

After the performance, he was joined on-stage for a duet of "Angels" with opera singer Aida Garifullina - but as he closed out the ceremony with number one hit "Rock DJ", he "flipped the bird" to viewers.

In a word, the opening Ceremony of World Cup 2018 was short but it was really crisp and entertaining.

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