July 15, 2018 / 3:05 PM / 2 months ago

Hollywood star Will Smith brings down curtain on Russia World Cup

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Hollywood actor and singer Will Smith performed the soccer World Cup’s official song “Live It Up” in the tournament’s closing ceremony in Moscow on Sunday.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Final - France v Croatia - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - July 15, 2018 Singers Era Istrefi and Will Smith perform during the closing ceremony REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

As Smith performed at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, giant screens laid out on the pitch showed images of soccer players and the colours of the Croatian and French flags - the two teams who face each other in the final.

Smith was joined on stage by Nicky Jam, a U.S.-born singer with Puerto Rican roots, and by Era Istrefi, a pop singer who describes herself as Albanian Kosovar. Both artists had featured with Smith on the “Live It Up” single.

In the final sequence of the ceremony, Russian opera singer Aida Garifullina performed Russian folk song “Kalinka” accompanied by bagpipes, a children’s choir, and a percussion section.

That section featured a guest performer: Brazilian soccer star and past World Cup winner Ronaldinho, who for a few bars of the song hammered out the rhythm on an African drum.

The performances were a prelude to France and Croatia’s players taking to the pitch to begin their final match, in front of a packed crowd at the 80,000-seat stadium.

Slideshow (3 Images)

Reporting by Christian Lowe; Editing by Keith Weir

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