Robbie Williams stars in Russia 2018 opening ceremony

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Robbie Williams and Russian soprano Aida Garifullina perform during the opening ceremony of the Russia 2018 World Cup at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. (AFP)
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The opening ceremony of Russia 2018 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. (Reuters)
Updated 14 June 2018
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Robbie Williams stars in Russia 2018 opening ceremony

  • Robbie Williams performed hits “Let Me Entertain You” and “Rock DJ” accompanied by dancers and freestylers.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin was next into the action, officially opening the World Cup in Moscow’s 80,000-seat Luzhniki.

LONDON: Robbie Williams got the ball rolling in the opening ceremony of Russia 2018 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

The 15-minute show produced by Russia’s state Channel One broke from World Cup tradition, focusing on musical acts including a performance of Pyotr Tchaikovsky in front of full stands at the capital’s main Luzhniki stadium.
Iker Casillas and Russian supermodel and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova brought the World Cup trophy onto the pitch in a Louis Vuitton travel case.
Robbie Williams performed hits “Let Me Entertain You” and “Rock DJ” accompanied by dancers and freestylers.
He was joined in a duet by Aida Garifullina, a soloist from the Vienna State Opera, who entered the pitch on a firebird, singing Williams’ hit song “Angels.”
The opening ceremony was followed by a match between the host team and Saudi Arabia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was next into the action, officially opening the World Cup in Moscow’s 80,000-seat Luzhniki.
Minutes before host nation Russia kicked off against Saudi Arabia in the first match of the tournament, Putin said: “I congratulate all of you at the start of the most important championship in the world.”


Australia captain Tim Paine worried about brittle batting after Pakistan win in Abu Dhabi

Updated 24 min 43 sec ago
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Australia captain Tim Paine worried about brittle batting after Pakistan win in Abu Dhabi

  • Aussie skipper admits side has to sort out batting ahead of Test series against India.
  • Abbas destroys Australia with a haul of 17 wickets in the series.

LONDON: Tim Paine admitted Australia need to sort out their batting and fast with a Test series against India to prepare for.
The Baggy Greens skipper was speaking after his side had been beaten by 373-runs by Pakistan in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Friday. That victory gifted the hosts a 1-0 win in the two-Test series and left the Aussies scratching their heads as to what they need to do before they come up against the No. 1 ranked India side on home soil.
Pakistan’s medium pacer Mohammad Abbas did the damage once again as he took his maiden 10-wicket haul in a match to fire his side to victory. Abbas followed his five for 33 in the first innings with figures of five for 62 to bowl out the tourists for 164 after they were set a daunting 538-run target.
It was Australia’s heaviest defeat against Pakistan, beating the 356-run hammering at this same venue four years ago. And Paine admitted the defeat had given his food for thought, especially regarding the side’s brittle batting line-up.
“It is obviously really disappointing to have them five for 57 on day one and we let that opportunity slip,” the captain said.
“When you do that against really good teams in Test cricket you pay the price and I thought they batted really well after that in the first innings, put us under pressure and we weren’t up to the challenge with the bat.
“I thought our bowlers toiled pretty well on that wicket. To bowl them out twice was not a bad effort.
“It’s just our batting. Mohammad Abbas challenged our defense time and time again and as we’ve seen a number of times over the last couple of years we’ve come up short. There’s certainly no sugar coating that we’ve got some real issues with our batting and we need to address it really quickly.”
Paine’s opposite number Sarfraz Ahmed was left to praise Abbas, who in 10 Tests has already taken 59 wickets at an average of 15.64.
“The way Abbas has bowled all series is one of the biggest positives for us,” the Pakistan captain said.
“All the youngsters who have come through in recent times have done well. We have to groom them all. There was pressure, when the team loses there is pressure, the most important is that the team wins. Thankfully my batting performance in this Test contributed to the win.”
It was Abbas who destroyed Australia with a haul of 17 wickets in the series — becoming the first Pakistani fast bowler to take ten wickets in a Test since Mohammad Asif’s feat against Sri Lanka at Kandy in 2006.
Abbas had jolted Australia with four wickets off just 23 balls while Yasir Shah finished with three for 45 to give Pakistan their tenth series win on the neutral venues of UAE.
They have only lost one series — 2-0 to Sri Lanka last year — since being forced to play their home matches in UAE since 2009.