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This Singer Just Opened the World Cup by Flipping Everyone Off

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images Sport

If you tuned into the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Thursday morning (United States time), chances are you weren't paying much attention to the obligatory international pageantry and the musical performance before the first match between Russia and Saudi Arabia. That is, until you found yourself getting the finger during the live broadcast.

No, you're not going crazy. Robbie Williams, the British singer and actor you may remember from Take That, straight-up flipped off the whole world during his performance. While dancing near the sidelines of the soccer pitch-turned-ceremony stage at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, Williams looked straight into the camera, smirked, and flipped the bird.

You -- like many of the thousands of folks waving their home country's flag in the audience -- may have missed the moment, but the internet certainly didn't. Many viewers quickly turned to Twitter to confirm what they just saw.

Who is Robbie Williams?

Robbie Williams surged to fame as a member of the pop group Take That in the mid-'90s, but is best known today for his successful solo career. The 44-year-old British singer, songwriter, and actor is the best-selling British solo artist in the United Kingdom, with 10 out of his 11 studio albums having hit No. 1 on the UK charts. He broke a Guinness World Record in 2006 when he sold 1.6 million tickets to his Close Encounters Tour in the span of one day. In other words, the dude is extremely popular, especially across the pond. 

Some fans and other observers were surprised when FIFA announced Williams would perform at the World Cup's Opening Ceremony, considering Russia is the host nation. His 2016 song "Party Like a Russian" is a clear jab at Russian oligarchs and earned him plenty of negative reactions there. Some fans have also criticized Williams for performing at the World Cup following the Russian government's alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, accusing him of selling his soul to the "dictator" Vladimir Putin. He responded to critics by saying he'd be fulfilling a "boyhood dream" by performing at the event, according to a report by the Evening Standard

Perhaps flipping off the whole world was part of that boyhood dream.

Find out where to watch the World Cup games with all the soccer fans in your city with our list of the best World Cup bars in NYC, LA, SF, Chicago, DC, Miami, Houston and more.

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Tony Merevick is Senior News Editor at Thrillist and isn't a huge soccer fan, but he's totally here for all the weird and funny stuff bound to happen throughout the World Cup. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.