Goal Singapore Top 5 - World Cup songs

Goal Singapore lists five of the best World Cup-themed songs of recent years that you should add to your playlist now!
From Daryl Hall's painfully patronising Gloryland at USA 94 to Shakira's highly commercialised Waka Waka, official Fifa World Cup anthems have been a hit and a miss.

But not all songs get the official endorsement of Fifa, with some, like Three Lions '98 by The Lightning Seeds and comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, a reworked version of the official England anthem from Euro 96, proving equally popular nevertheless. Others, like the parody, Vindaloo by Fat Les also for France 98 have found their own audience as well.

We look at five of the best songs that were written for the World Cup.

5. Represent - Weezer
Weezer's Represent was written as an unofficial anthem for the USA national team before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. But the song was so well liked by the team that they Tweeted lead singer Rivers Cuomo, to announce that it had been added to their pre-game playlist.

The band famous for hits like Buddy Holly and Hash Pipe decided to do their part to lend a helping hand to the US and it would appear that it did. USA finished top of their group ahead of England, although they needed a last minute dramatic winner from Landon Donovan against Algeria in their last game to seal qualification. But their campaign only lasted for one more round, going out to Ghana on extra time in the Round of 16.


4. Goal Goal Goal - James
Manchester band James had a string of hits from the late 1980s to early 90s, with fans probably remembering the song Laid best. Goal Goal Goal was included as part of Fifa's official compilation of songs for the 1994 World Cup.

While the album featured a number of songs that were not specifically written for the competition, Goal Goal Goal was actually intended to be an official anthem for the England national team. Football fans will recall that England was noticeably absent in USA that year, having failed to qualify, with Netherlands and Norway finishing ahead in their group.

Nevertheless, Goal Goal Goal, reworked from the song Low, Low, Low, which featured in James' Laid album, captures the Madchester sound that was popular of the era.


3. Don't Come Home Too Soon - Del Amitri
Del Amitri decided to get straight to the point in their plea to the Scottish national team heading to the 1998 World Cup. Don't Come Home Too Soon, is exactly what the title says it is and was written as the official team anthem and the video features several of the team's stars.

Unlike the typical thumping anthemic songs that usually get released ahead of the World Cup, Del Amitri eschewed the trend with this slow ballad that includes such heartfelt lines as 'And the world may not be shaking yet, but you might prove them wrong, even long shots make it'. Simply put, Scotland who had not made it past the first round since their debut in 1954, were asked to just stick around a little longer.

So did Scotland heed the advice of Del Amitri? Not only did the team return home after the first round, they have not left for another World Cup since. Scotland finished last in their group in France, managing just one point, a draw against Norway, while registering defeats to eventual runners-up Brazil and Morocco. They failed to qualify for the next four editions including this year's in Brazil. At least the song is good.


2. World in Motion - New Order
For England to snag New Order, one of the most influential and critically acclaimed bands of their time, to sing the official team anthem ahead of the 1990 World Cup was quite the coup. For New Order, it was also their only number one hit in UK despite a long and successful career.

The video features members of the England squad while John Barnes provides a rap towards the end of the track. The song found new life as it was re-released 12 years later ahead of the 2002 World Cup but the quintessential synthpop number failed to make a similar impact in a new era of music. England on the other hand enjoyed a memorable campaign in Italy in 1990 finishing fourth, their second best performance in the competition they won in 1966.


1. The Cup of Life - Ricky Martin
It will be hard to argue against this Ricky Martin track as being the best World Cup song of all time, official or otherwise. La Copa de la Vida, released as The Cup of Life for the English-speaking market, was the official theme song for the 1998 World Cup and proved to be a smash hit around the world, topping music charts in a number of countries.

The song eventually transcended its intended football audience and helped launch Ricky Martin as a global pop star in the late 90s and brought all new attention to Latin music as a whole. The singer's memorable live performance at the 1998 World Cup and at the 41st Grammy Awards, which drew a standing ovation from the audience, propelled the song to a mainstream audience.

While recent official anthems, like Shakira's Waka Waka and Pitbull's We Are One come across as heavily contrived, La Copa de la Vida effortlessly captures the enthusiasm and passion of the game perfectly.