The World Cup kicks off with Robbie Williams, rugged Icelanders and absent Italians



The World Cup begins today with the host, Russia, playing Saudi Arabia following a performance by Robbie Williams. The opening act is a surprising one, as the singer offended Russia in 2016 with his song “Party Like a Russian.”

We spoke to sports writer and author Jacob Sweetman about what to expect in the competition, Germany’s prospects of defending the title now that Italy hasn’t qualified, and his views on the popular underdogs, Iceland: “They’re rugged, and they’re handsome, and they’re bearded, and frankly I hate every one of them, being an England fan, having knocked us out of the European Championships.”

Tune into more coverage of the World Cup on-air, and go to our brand new blog Omnified, to check out a Spotify playlist of World Cup-inspired songs compiled by Jacob Sweetman.