British singer Robbie Williams throwing a zap sign at camera at the Russian World Cup opening ceremony on Thursday afternoon (screenshot)

The Russian FIFA World Cup was opened in Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, on Thursday afternoon–  and left most scratching their heads. 

In sharp contrast to South Africa’s 2010 opening spectacular, the Russian opening only lasted 15 minutes, and had little to write home about. 

It featured British singer-songwriter Robbie Williams performing some of his most successful singles including ‘Let Me Entertain You’, ‘Feel’ and ‘Angels’. 

Read: Robbie Williams gave the world the middle finger during World Cup opening ceremony

A bird-installation was seen crossing the field, while tens of performers spelt out the word ‘love’ on the soccer pitch – while activist Peter Tatchell is still being detained in Moscow for protesting Russia’s treatment of LGBTI+ people.

On social media, users called Russia out for having a ‘boring’ opening ceremony. 

“Of all the human rights abuses you can level at Russia, having Robbie Williams perform at the opening ceremony is probably the worst,” @GeordieDavid tweeted. 

Here are the ways Russia’s sad World Cup opening compared to South Africa’s 2010 spectacular: 

South Africa had Shakira's Waka Waka – Russia had Robbie Williams' middle finger

Shakira's performance of Waka Waka with local afro-pop group Freshlyground went down with little to no controversy, while William's used his performance to throw a rude sign at millions of people watching around the globe. 


South Africa had a burning calabash – Russia had a bird

The South African world cup opening ceremony had a calabash, a mug used at traditional gatherings, while the Russian World Cup had a brightly coloured yellow and red bird.


South Africa celebrated Africa – Russia celebrated soccer

South Africa's opening ceremony focused on Africa's role as the cradle of humankind, but Russia's opening ceremony mostly contained references to soccer. 


South Africa had airplanes – Russia... didn't


South Africa had thousands of drummers and dancers – Russia had a few trapeze artists 


South African perfomers wore traditional clothing - Russia's didn't 


South Africa had drummers - Russia had a man juggling soccer balls  


If that left you nostalgic for the 2010, here Shakira's performance of Waka.

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