Belfast Telegraph

Robbie Williams kicks off 2018 World Cup in Russia

Robbie Williams has kicked off the World Cup in Russia with a huge performance at the opening ceremony.

The former Take That singer strutted onto the football pitch at Luzhniki Stadium to the sound of Let Me Entertain You, wearing a red printed suit and black shirt, before singing the song.

He was joined on the pitch by dancers clad in football-related costumes, including some with large football-shaped hats and others who were performing tricks with balls.

Russian operatic soprano Aida Garifullina then made her way onto the playing field, riding on what appeared to be a large phoenix.

Williams then started to sing his other single Feel while the word "Love" was spelled out by dancers on the pitch.

The show ended with Williams and Garifullina joining forces for a duet of his single Angels as the crowd sang along.

Earlier, Williams kicked off a mini pre-show rehearsal on his Instagram, filming himself getting ready for his World Cup performance.

He told some 2,500 viewers on Instagram Live: "I'm enjoying doing this live stream because its taking my mind off what I'm about to do."

His wife Ayda Field was in the room with him as he was getting his hair and make-up done.

"You look incredible, I'm so glad you fancied me. I'm so glad you said yes," he told her.

Before signing off for vocal warm-up, he teased his outfit, saying: "Not gonna give the suit away but it's a cracker. Wish me luck."

Speaking ahead of his performance, Williams said that he is "praying for a miracle" because he thinks England's efforts on the pitch at previous tournaments have been "boring".

He told ITV, when asked how he thinks England will do: "It's been disappointing, a lot, being an English supporter.

"Our qualifiers are all sort of boring but we win, and they do the job, and it's great that they do, but then we get to a World Cup finals and we'll score a goal within eight minutes - Vardy will put one in or Harry Kane will put one in - and the whole country will go in unison, 'We're gonna win the World Cup!'

"And then the opposition will score and it'll be a 1-1 boring, drab result. And so on and so forth and so it goes ... but I'm praying for a miracle."

He added that to perform at the opening ceremony is a "'pinch me' moment".

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