"Football is truly loved here. I felt that in Brazil four years ago and I am now happy to share this excitement with the Russians as well".
The Luzhniki stadium hosts the opening ceremony (Picture: Getty Images)When is the World Cup opening ceremony?
Russian Federation declared the FIFA World Cup open in a ceremony full of glitz, colour and some acoustic trouble at the Lushniki Stadium in Moscow.
Football fans exploded on Twitter after noticing the ageing singer stick his middle finger up when leaving the pitch following a performance of his hit song Angels as part of Thursday afternoon's proceedings.
The decision to book the former Take That member to sing at the opening ceremony met with surprise when Federation Internationale de Football Association announced it on Monday.
Meanwhile, critics in the United Kingdom slammed Williams' decision to even perform at the ceremony in Russian Federation.
Over the past ten months, FIFA Legends, 2018 FIFA World Cup ambassadors and prominent figures around the world have provided valuable support with the organisation of the tour. This year there will be a strong focus on musical acts.
Before anyone trolls Williams, it needs to be appreciated that he's apparently still enough of a thing to be featured at the World Cup opener.
The next 32 days are going to be one hell of a ride.
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The Daily Express featured the British flag as its front page with the headline: "Ignore the will of the people at your peril". While the clip may breach parliamentary protocol, Bardell said she was willing to risk it for the sake of democracy.