The FIFA World Cup is the kind of global event that brings the whole world together. Football is arguably the most popular sport on the planet and the FIFA World Cup is its showpiece event.
The world is always prepared to come together for football's biggest tournament way before the first match starts. World Cup songs have become an integral part of the build-up to the tournament.
FIFA has endorsed and provided support for the production and distribution of World Cup songs to build anticipation and excitement for the competition.
Over the years, we've had many football anthems that have encapsulated all the myriad emotions that come tied with a FIFA World Cup. Without further ado, let's take a look at five of the best FIFA World Cup songs of all time.
#5 We Are One - Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez (2014 FIFA World Cup)
We are One by Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez for the 2014 FIFA World Cup is one of the most listened to World Cup anthems of all time. Pitbull raps over groove beats and his stirring lyrics precedes a characteristically energetic and bumpy verse by the iconic Jennifer Lopez.
The chorus that goes 'Ole, Ole, Ole' over samba-esque beats is a great touch and it is an overall amazing tune to dance to. The visuals portray the unity among several countries and it was widely accepted and appreciated for being vibrant and soulful.
#4 Hot Hot Hot - Arrow (1986 FIFA World Cup)
'Hot Hot Hot' by Caribbean artist Arrow is arguably the first World Cup song that was recognized for being great. What's interesting about 'Hot Hot Hot' is that the track was not written for the World Cup. It was actually a part of Arrow's debut album that he released in 1982.
But FIFA adopted it four years later for the World Cup in Mexico and it proved to be a huge hit. It had an upbeat Caribbean flavor to it and was very well received at stadiums thanks to its groovy nature and jovial lyrics.
Overall, it had a celebratory vibe to it and is one of the truly great World Cup songs of all time.
#3 Wavin' Flag - K'naan (2010 FIFA World Cup)
Wavin' Flag has become such a popular song that it has inspired numerous remakes and versions over the years. It's a hit single by Somani hip-hop and reggae artist K'naan. The song was initially written for Somalia and the lyrics were about their fight for freedom.
It blew up when it was chosen as Coca-Cola's promotional anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. K'naan added new lines to the song and turned it into a classic. It's so much more than just a groovy beat-dominated track that will make you dance.
The motivational lines and uplifting chrous, which consists of lines that his grandfather Haji Mohammad, a celebrated poet, had written, makes it a riveting experience. These are arguably the greatest lines to have ever made it to a World Cup anthem. It goes:
“When I get older, I will be stronger they’ll call me freedom, just like a wavin’ flag.”
#2 Waka Waka - Shakira (2010 FIFA World Cup)
The 2010 FIFA World Cup definitely had the best collection of anthems. Waka Waka by Shakira is one of the most pulsating tracks of the modern era. It is the most viewed World Cup song of all time and has more than three billion views on YouTube.
Shakira's delightful vocals, motivational lyrics and fun groove were released to overwhelmingly positive responses. It's an absolute banger from start to finish and is an out-and-out World Cup song worth every second you invest into it.
#1 The Cup of Life (La Copa De La Vida) - Ricky Martin (1998 FIFA World Cup)
To outrank the likes of Wavin' Flag and Waka Waka has to take something special. Ricky Martin's 'Cup of Life', the official song of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, is an absolute stunner in that regard and is our pick for the number 1 spot.
It was a track that had everything going for it. Martin's incredible vocals gave the track the right amount of weight and the sprightly lyrics reeled people in. It also had an extremely catchy chorus that people could sing along quite easily.
The song was such a big hit that it helped make Ricky Martin's 1998 album 'Vuelve', which contained 'La Copa De La Vida', earn him his first Grammy.