Top 10 Greatest FIFA World Cup Anthems

Snehartho Dey

Here, we will take a look at the greatest world cup anthems we have seen over the years.The countdown has started as the FIFA World Cup 2014 is coming this June with a mission to enchant all the football lovers around the globe. Footballers and fans will unite to celebrate the occasion and leave with memories to cherish for a lifetime. And to celebrate the event, we always have artists and composers who brighten up the tournament with their inspirational and heart touching songs.From 1962, this idea of composing official songs for the World Cup emerged and since then we have had many songs created for the purpose of enlightening the various editions of the World Cup over the years. With Pitbull and J Lo working on the new "We are One" track which is due to come out with a promotional video for the summer event in Brazil, we highlight the 10 best anthems that have rocked the Cup and left a lasting impression on us.

#10 Gianna Nannini & Edoardo Bennato - Un Estate Italiana (1990)


This World Cup anthem had two versions released - "Un'estate italiana" in Italian and "To be number one" in English. Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock composed this beloved song for the 1990 World Cup. The Italian version which is also known as "Magic Nights" was performed by Gianna Nannini & Edoardo Bennato and is universally acclaimed to be one of the most passionate sung anthems ever.

The inspiring lyrics convey the message to chase one's dream because everything is possible. The song was a chart success across several European countries and from January to September 1990, the song was the best-selling single in Italy.

#9 Shakira - Waka Waka (2010)


Colombian pop sensation and singer-songwriter Shakira joined hands with the South African band Freshlyground to create the 2010 official anthem "Waka Waka- This time for Africa." The single was included as the leading track in the compilation 2010 FIFA World Cup album. With over six and a half million views on YouTube and still counting, this is the most watched and heard song among all of the anthems till date.

The cheesy song recreates the essence of Africa through its musical style and involved many footballing stars in the video including Shakira's present boyfriend Pique who started their relationship during the video shoot.

#8 Lonnie Donegan - World Cup Willy (1966)


Lonnie Donegan was responsible for composing "World Cup willy" for the 1966 World Cup in England. The King of Skiffle recorded this novelty song dedicated to the mascot of the 1966 World Cup in England.

Before this anthem, Donegan didn't have much popularity in the British music circuit. But England football fans and followers loved every bit of this classic doodly tune.

#7 Los Ramblers - El Rock del Mundial (1962)


This is where it all began. The concept of World Cup songs originated in 1962, Chile when Los Ramblers composed the first ever official anthem titled "El Rock del Mundial."

The rock and jazz band created its rock n'roll piece fifty years ago and though it is not popular among the fanatics today, it is considered as one of the most unique anthems with great lyrics with a purpose to arouse feelings for the game. The song sold more than 80,000 copies that year and has sold two million copies till date.

#6 Youssou N\'Dour and Axelle Red - Les Cour des Grands (1998)


France served as the host country of the 1998 World Cup which was ultimately won by them. But prior to the tournament, the feeling within the nation was quite low as the supporters lacked confidence in their team's chances of suceeding in the event.

In stepped Belgian pop singer Axelle Red and Senegal activist Youssou N'Dour with their 1998 anthem entitled "Les Cour des Grands." The song was composed with a purpose to instill faith among the French people and to stress France's stature to be fully accepted as a member amongst the premier sport nations of the world.

#5 Daryl Hall - Gloryland (1994)


When USA is involved in any global event, expect the occasion to reach new heights. And with a country boasting of world famous musical geniuses, the time was right for FIFA to hit the "Land of the Brave" as 80's billboard certified pop artist Daryl Hall accompanied by Sounds of Blackness composed and sang "Gloryland" which was the 1994 non-official anthem. The song was a success on the US and UK music charts.

Daryl Hall and Sounds of Blackness also sang it at the opening ceremonies of the FIFA World Cup with lyrics. It was also used as the theme to ITV's coverage of the tournament.

#4 Vangelis - Anthem (2002)


This anthem should be fresh in our memories if we do remember Cafu picking up the trophy in Japan over a decade ago and the music hit the stadium to glorify Brazil's success. Vangelis, the man who is responsible for the ever inspiring "Conquest of Paradise" theme composed for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

The electronic musical piece had a heart lifting rhythm to it and it was welcomed among the footballing fans all over the globe. Japan still dance to this tune as it reflects their proud moment to have hosted the 2002 event.

#3 Il Divo and Tony Braxton, The Time of Our Lives (2006)


This is perhaps the most emotional and soulful song that one could hear among all the other anthems. Six time Grammy winning R&B singer-songwriter Toni Braxton combined with the Operic Pop male group Il Divo to perform this masterpiece for the 2006 World Cup which was held in Germany. "Time of our lives" was the official theme song and Il Divo along with Braxton performed it during the opening ceremony at the stadium in Munich.

The song coveys a message to join hands and create a better world by working as a team. The powerful performance of both the artists and the massive melodic portions make this one of the World Cup timeless classics.

#2 Knaan feat. Nancy Ajram - Wavin Flag (2010)


Everybody was talking about K'naan during the 2010 World Cup. It seems the guy was a fan favourite even before the tournament began. Well if you compose something which is as happy and cute as "Wavin' Flag", then people are bound to join your wagon.K'naan originally wrote the song to epitomize the freedom aspirations of the people of Somalia. It became a true global hit and was selected as the promotional anthem for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Although many people may not have been amused by Shakira's anthem, the non-official anthem of K'naan was the tune of the hour as some sections of the crowd were in favour of its more melodical approach. K'naan performed this song with various artists across different continents with a goal to unite everyone and wave their country's flag with every right of expressing their freedom. The video which I have put features Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram which was directed towards the middle-east nations. Personally, this is my favourite one.

#1 Ricky Martin - Copa de la Vida - (1998)


"The Cup of Life" was the song that revolutionized the concept of World Cup anthems. Somehow this song was responsible for making a cross-over to the mainstream world and laying the groundwork for the next acts to follow. Ricky Martin was bestowed with the honours to perform this song and the Puerto Rican became a worldwide sensation after the song came out.

With a catchy screaming chorus "ale ale ale", the song brought soccer anthems to a new level when it made charts worldwide. The Latin music scene exploded when he performed this song at the 41st Grammys. This has been the most energetic anthem the World Cup has experienced up until now.

Edited by Staff Editor


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