World Cup: Robbie Williams flips off the camera at the opening ceremony

Giving the world the middle finger is certainly one way to start the World Cup.

While performing at the opening ceremony of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow, just before the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia, British pop star Robbie Williams decided that it was time for the world to see his middle finger. In the middle of one of his four songs, he flipped the bird at the camera, and then just went on singing like it never happened.

That’s quite the casual bird-flip, though the effect is a little dampened by his singularly ugly suit.

Williams has been criticized in the United Kingdom for agreeing to perform at the World Cup. The royal family and many British government officials aren’t attending in protest of the poisoning of British spy and Russian informant Sergei Skripal. The UK government has accused the Russian government of poisoning him and his daughter on British soil.

The middle finger could be Williams’ way of protesting … or it could just be a middle finger. If Williams really wanted to protest, he could have performed his song “Party like a Russian,” which mocks Russian oligarchs for stealing money from their own people to fund their lavish lifestyles. I’m sure that would have gone over splendidly with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who may or may not be a secret billionaire.

British pop star Robbie Williams flipped the bird on camera during the opening ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter at @lizroscher.

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