FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan brings you all the colour, noise and action from Moscow at the official opening of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
For some, the four-year wait is over. For others, it must have felt like a lifetime.
Nonetheless, the wait is finally over as the 2018 FIFA World Cup got underway at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday evening.
It was Russia who got their campaign off to a perfect start as they beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 to kick things off in Group A, courtesy of goals from Yury Gazinsky, Denis Cheryshev (2), Artem Dzyuba and Aleksandr Golovin.
Yet, while three points in the bag was undoubtedly crucial for either team’s prospects at the World Cup, Thursday would have meant so much more than that to so many people from all across the globe.
Following Brazil 2014, fans have had to wait four years to once again see their nations challenge to be crowned kings of the world.
Then, there is someone like Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, the 45-year-old with 158 caps to his name who will finally get his first taste of the World Cup, 21 years after making his international debut.
And finally, just imagine the excitement and anticipation in the camps of Iceland and Panama – the teams and the fans – as they prepare to make their World Cup debut in the 21st edition of the tournament.
The end of a wait for what would have been a lifetime dream for many was best exemplified at Luzhniki Stadium for, while it was Russia and Saudi Arabia locking horns the field, the magnificent arena was filled with 78,011 fans decked in just about all of the colours that will be represented at Russia 2018.
From the Brazilians who have won the tournament so many times that their fans never look out of place confidently strutting around with a replica of the World Cup in hand, to the Mexicans in their signature sombreros.
From the Colombians sporting wigs reminiscent of legend Carlos Valderrama, to Vietnamese fans whose dream to see their nation grace world football’s biggest stage continues but were still present to soak it all up.
At the end of the 90 minutes on Thursday, the wait for the greatest spectacle in sport was finally over.
The best part? There will be another 30 days of riveting action and drama to look forward to before the next four-year wait begins.
This article was created in partnership with Vivo, the official smartphone of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. All videos and photos in this article were shot on the Vivo V9.