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19th Jun 2018

Robbie Williams explains what he meant by World Cup opening ceremony gesture

We *think* this was tongue in cheek

Simon Lloyd

Robbie Williams is already back on British soil

In truth, it’s been an eventful few days for him. Not even a week ago, he performed at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, inexplicably giving a one-fingered gesture to a global audience of millions midway through his performance.

The incident has generated plenty of headlines in the time since, and on Tuesday he was on the This Morning couch to present something of an explanation.

“At these things, it’s really important not to cause an international incident,” Williams said. “And do you know what? I managed it.”

Interviewed by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby about it, he was asked what had happened. His answer (we assume) was tongue-in-cheek, explaining that he had merely been signalling that there was only one minute to go until kick-off in the opening game of the tournament.

“There was one minute to kick-off,” he added. “I was under a lot of pressure because there was one minute left and I didn’t know if I could do it in half a minute. So I just did a one minute countdown.”

Williams continued by admitting he can’t trust himself in such situations.

“I can’t trust me… I don’t know what I’m going to do at any time,” he added.

“The plan was, sing in key, don’t fall over. That was the plan and 99 percent of the plan, I pulled off… Nothing actually passes into my head. There’s a block between me and sense and something happened and five minutes later I’m like ‘Did I just… yeah, I did, didn’t I?'”

Williams performed a medley of some of his better-known songs as part of the opening ceremony, which took place shortly before the host nation’s team defeated Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the first game of the World Cup.