Federation Internationale de Football Association picks referee Pitana of Argentina for World Cup opener

Who is bidding for the 2026 World Cup and when will the host nation be decided

Who is bidding for the 2026 World Cup and when will the host nation be decided

Back in 2010, Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Federation Internationale de Football Association president of the time Sepp Blatter after Russia was announced as the host for the 2018 World Cup.

Much of the team's base players are now in Mexican clubs; goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, defender Luis Advincula, midfielder Pedro Aquino and strikers Raul Ruidiaz and Andy Polo.

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) said this year's opening ceremony will have a "slightly different format", focusing on "musical acts and will take place much closer to kick-off".

Smith will be performing the World Cup's anthem alongside Kosovan singer Era Istrefi and Nicky Jam.

This is the first World Cup since 2006 to be hosted in Europe.




Read on for a look at what to know ahead of the opening ceremony.

Hosts Russia get things underway in two days' time when they take on Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Williams said he was "happy and excited" about the "unique performance" in front of 80,000 fans and many millions all over the world and that it was a boyhood dream. As they have never made it past the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup, they will be desperate to change their fortunes and give their fans something to cheer about.

The 34-year-old, who left Barca to join Vissel Kobe last month, has also hinted at the possibility of hanging up his Spain boots after the World Cup.

Jose Mourinho has predicted a mouthwatering World Cup quarter-final clash between England and Brazil, although the Manchester United boss believes the match-up will end in more heartache for the Three Lions. Together with the Original Trophy we have traveled all around Russian Federation - from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok - and everywhere we saw the highest level of readiness for the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

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