A guide to the Russia World Cup opening ceremony

Thursday June 14 2018

A man passes a poster featuring Zabivaka, the official mascot of the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament, outside the 80,000-seater Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 12, 2018. PHOTO | YURI CORTEZ |

A man passes a poster featuring Zabivaka, the official mascot of the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament, outside the 80,000-seater Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 12, 2018. PHOTO | YURI CORTEZ | AFP

By DAVID KWALIMWA
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The 21st edition of the Fifa World Cup kicks off in Russia on Thursday.

Here's what you need to know about the world's most popular sporting event:

1. The opening ceremony will officially commence at 4pm (Kenyan time), two hours before the start of the first game of the competition pitting hosts Russia against Saudi Arabia.

2. The opening ceremony, which is certain to showcase Russia's tradition and culture to the rest of the world, will be held at the Luzhniki Stadium, which will also host the final. Russia President Vladmir Putin, Fifa boss Gianni Infantino, Caf president Ahmad Ahmad plus a majority of the Football Associations presidents from around the world, Kenya's Nick Mwendwa included, will be in attendance.

3. The opening ceremony will involve a host of activities including a series of musical acts. Some 500 dancers, gymnasts, and trampolinists will also be performing in an opening extravaganza that will pay homage to all things, Russian.

4. English pop icon Robbie Williams is among the foreign artists expected to perform at the opening ceremony. He said: "I'm so happy and excited to be going back to Russia for such a unique performance. I've done a lot in my career, and opening the World Cup to 80,000 football fans in the stadium and many millions all over the world is a boyhood dream."

5. You can watch all this action, the opening game, and 31 other matches including the quarters, semis and final, live and free on NTV.