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The home nation is on a five-game winless run and a loss today would be an embarrassing setback as no host team has ever lost its opening match in the World Cup. Russia is the odds-on favourite to win at 4/9 but Saudi Arabia beat the Soviet country in their first and only match so far, winning 4-2 in the 1993 friendly. Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, which sits 81,000 people, will host both the game and prior opening ceremony.What time is kick off between Russia and Saudi Arabia? The first match starts at 4pm BST in the UK, officially two hours behind Moscow time. Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the opening ceremony before supporting his team. The World Cup 2018 is Russia’s first time as host and matches will be held in stadiums across 11 of the country’s cities. Brazil is currently the odds-on favourite to win their first World Cup since 2002. Adenor Leonardo Bacch’s team will be hoping to banish all thoughts of their humiliating semi-final defeat in 2014. The South American team crashed out of the tournament in spectacular style after being hammered 7-1 by opponents Germany.Who is performing at the opening ceremony? Former Take That act Robbie Williams will headline the opening ceremony’s entertainment. The cheeky chappie will sing alongside Russian soprano Aida Garifullina, while 500 dancers and gymnasts perform acrobatic moves. Williams 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 FIFA World Cup to 80,000 football fans in the stadium and many millions all over the world is a boyhood dream. “We’d like to invite football and music fans to party with us in Russia, in the stadium, or to tune in their TVs a little earlier for an unforgettable show.” The opening ceremony begins at 3.30pm BST.When is England’s first game? England will have to wait four nerve-wracking days to plays its first game. The much-hyped match against Group G opponents Tunisia is on Monday, June 18 at 7pm BST. Live coverage of the Volgograd Arena match will be shown on the BBC.
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