The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup has kicked off in the iconic Russian city of St. Petersburg, with a ceremony showing off folk and contemporary Russian culture.
The opening ceremony turned the St. Petersburg Arena into the setting for a spectacular and bright show, with more than 2,000 actors involved in the performance.
A ballerina in a crimson dress, joined by a famous character from Russian fairytales, the Tsarevich, lit up a magic forest with their dance, while a number of Russian pop stars gave new life to folk songs, performing them in never-heard-before versions.
The “khorovod” traditional Russian round dance and funfair with more characters from Russian folklore were also featured in the ceremony.
The cup's mascot, Zabivaka the Wolf, made a spectacular appearance, descending into the arena on a cloud-turned-air balloon.
The four Russian cities that will host the eighth Confederations Cup – St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi – were represented at the event.
Along with Team Russia, they will welcome teams from seven countries: New Zealand, Portugal, Mexico (Group A); and Germany, Chile, Cameroon and Australia (Group B).
Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, as well as FIFA President Gianni Infantino, attended the opening ceremony and the cup's first game, which saw Russia beat New Zealand 2-0.