Robbie Williams and Aida Garifullina perform during the opening ceremony.

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Russia hosts 2018 World Cup

Opening ceremony held in Moscow

Tournament runs from June 14-July 15

CNN  — 

After billions of dollars spent, new stadiums built and much anticipation, the 2018 World Cup got underway with a musical opening ceremony.

English pop star Robbie Williams, former Brazil striker Ronaldo – scorer of 15 goals over three tournaments – and Russia soprano Aida Garifullina were the star attractions at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium before the opening match of Russia 2018 kicked off.

Thirty minutes before the Group A opener between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia, the show began with a performance of work by celebrated Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

Williams then gave proceedings a more modern twist by singing “Let Me Entertain You.”

Germany's defender and captain Philipp Lahm (front-R) holds up the World Cup trophy as he celebrates on with his teammates after winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup final football match between Germany and Argentina 1-0 following extra-time at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 13, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI        (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Russian musicians featured heavily, from harpist and composer Alexander Boldachev to pianist Daniil Trifonov and Garifullina, who performed a duet with Williams. The pair sang the pop star’s worldwide hit “Angels.”

Ronaldo and World Cup mascot Zabivaka made a symbolic first kick with an official match ball – a ball which was sent to the International Space Station in March, returning to earth on June 3.

Artists perform in the World Cup's opening ceremony.

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Around 800 people performed in a ceremony which celebrated the start of football’s showpiece event. A tournament which will feature 32 teams competing in 64 games across 11 cities.