World Cup organisers make final touches to Luzhniki Stadium

Christian Pulisic

Neymar and co. are backed to lift the trophy for a record-extending sixth time by 43 percent of users on the day before the tournament kicks off in Moscow on June 14.

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".

The action gets underway on Thursday when hosts Russian Federation face Saudi Arabia in Moscow.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in October both Blatter and ex-UEFA head Michel Platini, who was also suspended following an ethics investigation, would be welcome at the World Cup as "old friends" of the Russian president.

Naturally, the Luzhniki Stadium was where the majority of preparations were being finalised ahead Russia's opening group game against Saudi Arabia.

The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) have appointed Argentine referee Nestor Pitana to officiate the opening game of this year's FIFA World Cup between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia on Thursday in Moscow.

Another date to remember is June 28, when England take on Belgium in their final Group G encounter.

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.

You can check out the World Cup schedule here.

Brazil's two-time World Cup victor Ronaldo will also feature in a ceremony billed as consisting of a new format. That avoids a potentially embarrassing meeting with his successor Gianni Infantino, German news agency DPA reported.

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