THE city is gearing up for the start of the World Cup later today.

All games will be broadcast on either ITV or BBC, opening up a wide selection of Oxford pubs as World Cup-watching venues for fans.

In fact the King's Arms in Broad Street has timed an external refurbishment almost to perfection with scaffolding being removed today after more than 12 weeks.

Only a handful of Oxford's pubs show Sky Sports and BT, which dominate the domestic football schedule, so the World Cup will provide an opportunity for some of the more historic city venues to turn into fan pubs for the next month.

The opening ceremony will begin at 3.30pm today and will feature a performance from Robbie Williams as well as around 500 dancers, gymnasts and trampolinists celebrating Russian culture.

Half an hour later the action will get under way with hosts Russia kicking off the tournament against Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Coverage will begin on ITV from 2.30pm.

The nations are the two lowest ranked teams in the tournament - with Saudi Arabia just three places higher than the Russians, who sit 70th in the world rankings.

If today's game fails to deliver, tomorrow's matches should spark the World Cup into life.

Egypt face Uruguay (BBC) in the lunchtime match at 1pm and then Morocco will meet Iran (ITV) at 4pm.

But both will serve as warm up acts for the first heavyweight clash between Spain and Portugal tomorrow at 7pm on the BBC.

Spain, who sacked manager Julen Lopetegui just 24 hours before the tournament, will take on Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal - the reigning European Champions.

England will begin their campaign against Tunisia at 7pm on Monday (BBC).