As the kick-off of Russia 2018 creeps ever closer it’s time to re-visit some of the songs of previous World Cups.
There has been some stunners and some shockers, official and unofficial, anthems and albums – going back 56 years to when Los Ramblers created the first ever World Cup song for Chile 1962.
Here’s our countdown of the top ten World Cup songs of all time:
7. Wavin’ Flag – K’naan (South Africa 2010 – Unofficial)
Originally the song’s lyrics talked about growing up in war torn Somalia and hoping for freedom.
The lyrics still felt genuine after Coca-Cola chose Wavin’ Flag for their World Cup 2010 campaign – and launched the Somali Canadian poet, rapper, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist to world wide fame – 90 million Youtube views will that do that for you.
The tune is catchy and doesn’t feel fake (almost).
6. Boom – Anastacia (Japan & Korea 2002)
As great a songstress as American singer Anastacia, who burst onto the pop music scene in the early 2000s, might be she was still an unlikely choice to sing the official World Cup song of Japan/Korea 2002.
Not as catchy as her electronic-soul fusion “I’m outta love” it’s still a fairly pleasing dance number though the link to football seems very tenuous, although the video valiantly tries.
The song was heard a lot during the tournament in Japan and Korea, which was a big step up from the official anthem by Vangelis.
5. Samba e Gol – Bellini (France 1998 unofficial)
Originally titled Samba de Janeiro, this is Samba at its best and a video intercut with some fantastic footage of Brazil’s previous World Cup winning teams (as well as some very strange footage near the end of a random middle age man getting into a car and driving nowhere in particular.)
We live in world where artists modernize older versions of songs. Did it not come across anyone’s mind to recreate this song for the 2014 World Cup?
And much better than the official song – Pitbull’s insipid We Are One (Ole Ola) – although Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte did their best to enliven it.
4. Les Cour des Grands – Youssou N’Dor and Axelle Red (France 1998)
Belgian singer/songwriter and activist Axelle Red joined Senegalese singer, songwriter and composer Youssou N’Dour for this humanitarian hymn, which is uplifting, powerful and surprisnigly edgy for an official tune.
Accompanied by a earthy video which is simultaneously subversive and celebratory – quite an achievement.
3. El Rock del Mundial (The Rock of the World) – Los Ramblers (Chile 1962)
How can you not like a song with the chorus “Goooool, gooool Chile.”
The original FIFA world Cup anthem that started it all – so depending on how you feel about World Cup songs you are either very grateful or very angry at Los Ramblers, the icons of the Chilean new wave.
The song itself sounds like a South American version of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up”, although this was written seven years before Presley’s classic perhaps it was the King who was inspired by this early pop-rock chart-topper, which managed to sell around 900,000 copies of this single 45rpm record, a record for the time.
The film clip is pure vintage with highlights of Chile’s previous World cup campaigns.
If only they were all this good.
2. Waka Waka (This time for Africa) – Shakira (South Africa 2010)
The greatest criticism of this catchy number is that it should of course been sung by an African singer.
Instead it was the admittedly fetching Shakira, who hails from Colombia, although she does have a string football connection, being the long time squeeze of Barcelona defender Gerard Pique.
It’s a high energy dance number with a memorable chorus, and at least in the film clip they put the players right where they should be, front and centre – including of course Pique himself – interspersed with an African inspired dance routine.
Shakira’s voice sounds highly treated but the flavor of the music and the celebratory nature of the dance, including some jubilant younger performers, gives it a feel-good vibe that is hard not to succumb to.
The video also has historical footage of many of the greats – Ronaldo, Zidane, Messi, Maradona, Pele, Baggio – who in a moment that almost works, Shakira seems to be dreaming of.
It finishes with the words: “We’re all Africa” and 1.8 billion views of Youtube is not be sneezed at.
Neither were the sales where it topped the charts in 15 countries but could only reach 21 in the UK.
1. World in Motion – New Order (1990 Italy)
“Some of the crowd are on the pitch. They think it’s all over… well it is now!”
The immortal words of Kenneth Wolstenholme’s commentary from the 1966 World Cup final won by England 4-2.
These words start this up-tempo little ditty created by the former members of Joy Division a band who were known as the most depressing ever.
One wonders what Ian Curtis would have thought.
The video is appalling, even by 1989 standards.
Bernard Summer sings his little heart out in an Umbro football jersey, while John Barnes juggles a football behind him, the backdrop a couple of housing commission low-rises on a training ground in
Paul Gascoigne, Peter Beardsley, Des Walker and Steve McMahon also make an appearance, mumb;ling along to the video wondering what they are doing.
The mid-song wrap break delivered by John Barnes is the best thing in it – and shows maybe the Liverpool legend missed his true calling. It contains the phrase: “We ain’t no hooligans, this ain’t no football song, Three lions on my chest, I know we can’t go wrong”
They did of course go wrong in the semi-finals – as Gascoigne shed his famous tears.
But the real question is who is more embarrassed – band member Gillian Gilbert during the filming or Chris Waddle looking back on his haircut.
The song was re-released for the 2002 World Cup, when David Beckham was meant to re-record the wrap but un/fortunately that never happened.
The song went to No1 in the UK but could only manage No5 in the USA.
The finals in Russia are coming into sharper focus as club matters conclude, with the Three Lions’ Group G opener against Tunisia in Volgograd now just 68 days away.
Rashford is all but certain to be in the squad announced by Gareth Southgate in mid-May and the Manchester United forward cannot wait to represent his country in a World Cup for the first time.
“The England squad’s quite young, so there’s just a massive bundle of excitement buzzing around,” he said.
“Everyone’s excited to just go there and do as best as we can.
“(Gareth Southgate has) brought a massive amount of freedom, especially to the forward players, but it’s within a structure.
“So, we have a baseline and we know what we’re doing.
“We know what our individual roles are, and we still need to learn and develop that.
“But yeah, it’s enjoyable playing under him and we just hope for the most success possible, in the World Cup.”
Rashford claims not to have yet dreamt about reaching the Luzhniki finale, but the forward does have silverware in his mind as United’s season ends.
The Red Devils have a Wembley semi-final against Tottenham to look forward to next weekend and the 20-year-old is determined to go on to win the competition, as well as sealing second spot in the Premier League.
“I think our main focus now is finishing second in the league,” Rashford told Inside United. “That’s important for us and winning the FA Cup.
“If those two things happen, then we’ve took what we can out of the season at this point.
“They’re the most important things.”
Success on a collective and individual basis is Rashford’s focus right now.
Nobody has made more appearances for United since Mourinho’s appointment, but reports suggest the forward is unhappy at the lack of Premier League minutes he has been getting.
Rashford, who has made 97 appearances as either starter of substitute under the Portuguese, appears to be looking at the bigger picture.
“I wasn’t aware of (the statistic that I played most for Mourinho) before I saw it and it’s something to be proud of,” he said.
“But we always want more, and we always want to show progression individually and as a team, so the numbers don’t really matter as much as the results do to me.”
Provided by PA Sport
Russia intends to spend more than €162 million to make sure stadiums built for the World Cup do not go to waste after the showpiece ends.
The hosts are trying to use the football final to revive fan interest in the struggling domestic leagues.
Each of the 11 host cities is either getting a brand new arena or having an existing one refurbished from the ground up.
The idea is to replace cavernous all-purpose stadiums in which supporters are exposed to the sun and snow with modern ones outfitted with the latest amenities.
Vladimir Putin issued an order last October requiring his government to draft a World Cup “legacy” programme that raises club-match attendance and boosts youth player development.
But the question long facing Russia has been how to reap rewards from the massive investment in cities where local clubs play second-tier football.
The cabinet’s proposal reported by state media on Tuesday admits that the government will have to foot the bill in some places until 2023.
“Keeping in mind the high cost of stadium operations and the low expected football club revenues, it is impossible to expect stadium use to be commercially viable in the next 3-5 years,” the government programme says.
The RIA Novosti state news agency said the government wants to assign 16.6 billion rubles ($265 million) to the legacy programme.
Most of that money – $190 million – will come from the federal budget and be assigned to keeping stadiums open in seven of the smaller host cities.
Some of the money will also be spent on training facilities and youth football centres.
Russia admits that it will not turn a profit as host.
But it views the international football extravaganza as a chance to make a long-term investment in a game that has struggled since Soviet times.
It also dearly wants to avoid getting stuck with white elephants, stadiums built for major events that turn into abandoned symbols of mismanagement and excess.
The problem has most recently attracted attention after the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.
Provided by AFP Sport