The closing ceremony of the FIFA World Cup, ahead of the final kickoff, was a starry affair with the noted Russian soprano and Vienna State Opera soloist Aida Garifullina starting the revelries with a rendition of ‘Moscow Never Sleeps’, alongside DJ Smash.

World Cup 2018: FULL COVERAGE

The ceremony paid tribute to all the 11 host cities and the 32 participating nations, while flash mobs danced in the tribunes getting the 81,000 attendees – fans and dignitaries alike – involved.

Nicky Jam, Will Smith and Era Estrefi also belted out the popular number, ‘Live it up’ – the official World Cup anthem, and then 2002 World Cup winner Ronaldinho engaged in some lighthearted banter with Zabivaka, Russia 2018’s mascot and playing the drum, even as Aida was sending the stadium into a tizzy, singing 'Kalinka'. 

In the end it was time for the actual business, as Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm and Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova brought the coveted Cup – 36cm in height, weighing 6.175 kg – to the ground, taken out from the safety of its specially designed travel case. From then on the 22 men took over, giving their heart and soul in the biggest game of their life.