Antonio Calanni/Associated Press
The 2018 FIFA World Cup began with a bird.
No, it wasn’t an eagle soaring high above the sky like you see in many American sporting events.
Instead, it was a big old flipped bird from English pop singer Robbie Williams.
Arash Markazi @ArashMarkazi
Robbie Williams with the signature moment during the #WorldCup opening ceremony. “I did this for free.” https://t.co/3QEuT2Dxr1
During the opening ceremony for the Russia-hosted event, Williams flipped his middle finger at the camera, likely in a sign of protest at both Russian and English audiences.
Williams has taken flak inside England and Russia for his decision to perform at the World Cup, as noted by ESPN.com.
Some in Russia were upset Williams was chosen because of his song “Party Like a Russian,” which has been interpreted as mocking the country’s oligarchs.
Meanwhile, he has been criticised in England because he was performing at an event hosted by Russia, which is run by Vladimir Putin—a controversial leader who has been accused of numerous atrocities against his own people and other countries.
Williams apparently had one finger to offer to all of his critics.