The 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup is being hosted by Russia in 12 venues across 11 cities. The first match will be played between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia on Thursday, June 14 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The Luzhniki is also the venue for the final that will be held on July 15.
The match between Russia and Saudi Arabia will be preceded by an opening ceremony that will feature Hollywood star Will Smith and Nicky Jam who feature in the tournament anthem for the year. They will be accompanied by British pop star Robbie Williams, Russian soprano Aida Garifullina and Brazilian great Ronaldo. The opening ceremony will start at 6.30 PM IST while the match itself will start at 8 PM IST.
While only one match will be played on the opening day, there will be three matches played every day till the end of the group stage. The matches begin at 5.30 PM and the final match ends tentatively around 1.30 AM.
The first high profile match will be played between Portugal and Spain on Friday with kick off scheduled at 11.30 PM. Defending champions Germany will be playing their first match of the tournament on Sunday at 8.30 PM against Mexico. Brazil, who hosted the previous edition of the tournament in 2014, will play their opening fixture after that match against Switzerland on the same day.