The official FIFA Telstar-18 ball, which was brought down to Earth from orbit on Sunday, was used during the opening ceremony of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, a spokesperson for Russia’s State Corporation for Space Activities, Roscosmos, told Sputnik on Thursday.
“The official FIFA Telstar-18 ball, [that had] traveled to the ISS, was used in the opening ceremony, [that] took place at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium…” the spokesperson said.
The ball was taken to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 21 and returned to Earth on Sunday, spending a total of 75 days at the station. The ball was signed by the ISS crew and has an official ISS stamp on one of its hexagons.
Russia’s first-ever World Cup will be holding at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15.
Meanwhile, 78,011 spectators attended the opening match of the 2018 World Cup between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The game took place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday, with the hosts thrashing Saudi Arabia 5-0.
The World Cup will continue through 15 July, with a total of 64 matches set to be played at 12 stadiums across 11 Russian cities.