After four long years, the World Cup is finally back.

Russia 2018 kicks off on Thursday afternoon with the host nation taking on Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in the capital Moscow.

You can follow the opening ceremony and all the action from the tournament’s first match, with proceedings due to kick off at 3.30pm BST. Our man at the helm will be DAN RIPLEY. 

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14.15: Fans from both teams are in good spirits as they arrive at the Luzhniki

A supporter takes a group selfie in front of Russia fans outside the stadium before the game

A supporter takes a group selfie in front of Russia fans outside the stadium before the game

A supporter takes a group selfie in front of Russia fans outside the stadium before the game

Russia fans will be hopeful their side can open up with a win on home soil

Russia fans will be hopeful their side can open up with a win on home soil

Russia fans will be hopeful their side can open up with a win on home soil

A Saudi Arabia fan shows off their national flag as he arrives for the World Cup kick-off

A Saudi Arabia fan shows off their national flag as he arrives for the World Cup kick-off

A Saudi Arabia fan shows off their national flag as he arrives for the World Cup kick-off

Saudi Arabia supporters are looking forward to their first World Cup since 2006

Saudi Arabia supporters are looking forward to their first World Cup since 2006

Saudi Arabia supporters are looking forward to their first World Cup since 2006

14.11: This is a huge game for Russia and Saudi Arabia…

And not just because it is the opening game and all the eyes are all on them. They are also in a group along with Uruguay and Mohamed Salah’s Egypt.

With tough games like those to come, victory today is perhaps crucial to whether they progress beyond the group stage.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are also grouped with Egypt and Uruguay. The top two will progress

Russia and Saudi Arabia are also grouped with Egypt and Uruguay. The top two will progress

Russia and Saudi Arabia are also grouped with Egypt and Uruguay. The top two will progress

14.05: The Luzhniki Stadium is all set for the first game of the tournament 

The Luzhniki Stadium will host the opening game for the FIFA World Cup finals

The Luzhniki Stadium will host the opening game for the FIFA World Cup finals

The Luzhniki Stadium will host the opening game for the FIFA World Cup finals

The host nation Russia will be taking on Saudi Arabia to kick off proceedings

The host nation Russia will be taking on Saudi Arabia to kick off proceedings

The host nation Russia will be taking on Saudi Arabia to kick off proceedings

Kick-off for the Group A clash is at 4pm BST in the only game of the day from Russia

Kick-off for the Group A clash is at 4pm BST in the only game of the day from Russia

Kick-off for the Group A clash is at 4pm BST in the only game of the day from Russia

14:00: Remember all those international breaks you were forced to endure?

Well, your patience is about to pay off. It’s finally here. Arguably the greatest show on Earth.

Welcome to the The FIFA World Cup!

Sportsmail kicks off live coverage of the tournamnet with the barnstormer of… Russia vs Saudi Arabia.

Oh well, they can’t all catch the imagination but maybe these two teams can spring a surprise and produce an opening game to remember… what do you mean they are the two lowest ranked teams?

Russia fans arrive at the Luzhniki Stadium for their side's opening game against Saudi Arabia

Russia fans arrive at the Luzhniki Stadium for their side's opening game against Saudi Arabia

Russia fans arrive at the Luzhniki Stadium for their side’s opening game against Saudi Arabia

 

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