When I get older, I will be stronger, they’ll call me freedom, just like a wavin flag.
The FIFA World Cup is not just another quadrennial event. It is a festival, a carnival for the major part of this planet and no feast is ever complete without a sound of magic to create that aura. The culture of creating an anthem has been around for quite some time. Although, during the early avatars of the tournament it was not the need of the hour, but now it has become as necessary as the teams itself. So, we take a look at the best FIFA World Cup songs ever.
World Cup Willie – England, 1966
The song was recorded by Lonnie Donegan Jr. and was originally sung by his father, with regards to the official mascot ‘Willie’ (a lion) of the tournament. The mascot was named as ‘World Cup Willie’ because of its appearance. This was the first ever mascot in the history of the FIFA World Cup.
West Germany and England were the finalists of the tournament, with hosts England being the winners by beating the German side 4-2 in extra-time. Portuguese legend Eusebio was the top scorer at the tournament with nine goals and German legend Franz Beckenbauer took home the Best Young Player of the Tournament award.
Un Estate Italiana – Italy, 1990
The song was originally composed by Giorgio Moroder as ‘An Italian Summer’. This version was then recreated in Italian by Edoardo Bennato and Gianna Nannini. The song won the people’s hearts and was regarded as the most passionately performed football song ever. It was later recreated in Spanish too.
West Germany won its third World Cup title that year by beating the other finalists Argentina, 1-0 in Rome. Italian talisman Salvatore Schillaci won both, the top scorer (6 goals) and the Best Player of the Tournament award.
Colours – Russia, 2018
Sung by American singer Jason Derulo in collaboration with Coca-Cola, ‘Colors’ will be the official song for the upcoming FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia. It is considered as the official Coca-Cola anthem of the tournament. The official music video of the song has already mesmerized the fans of the game.
Gloryland – USA, 1994
The song was originally recorded by American singer Daryl Hall and award-winning German band Sounds of Blackness.
This track was recorded with such brilliance that it touches the heart. No wonder it was one of the favourites all over the world during 1994.
That year, Brazil won their fourth World Cup title by winning against a strong Italian side in the penalty shootout in the final. Brazilian Romario was undoubtedly chosen as the best player of the tournament.
Dar um Jeito (We will find a way) – Brazil, 2014
Recorded by Carlos Santana, Wyclef Jean and Alexandre Pires featuring the late Swedish DJ Avicii, this dance single was a local favourite in Brazil. It was considered as the official anthem for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
It was a very disappointing year for the hosts as they were eliminated from the semi-finals of the tournament by a ruthless German side who won the game 7-1. Germany also went on to win the World Cup that year by beating Argentina in the final.
Colombian star James Rodriguez scored six goals in the course of the tournament to win the top scorer award and Lionel Messi won the Best Player award.
We Are One – Brazil, 2014
The 2014 World Cup consisted of several theme songs, most of which were hits across the world. Amongst them was the single ‘We Are One (Ole Ola)’ by Pitbull which was specially dedicated to the fans watching the tournament all over the world.
La Copa de la Vida (The Cup of Life) – France, 1998
This track was recorded by Ricky Martin and was chosen as the official song for the World Cup in France that year. The single topped the charts in many countries around the world for several months.
The host country won its maiden World Cup title that year by beating defending champions Brazil. It was a mesmerizing final which ended 3-0 in the favour of the hosts.
Brazilian sensation Ronaldo was the Best Player while English attacker Michael Owen was the Best Young Player of the tournament.
Time of Our Lives – Brazil, 2014
Moroccan singer Ahmed Chawki released this single in collaboration with RedOne, which was considered as one of the best World Cup songs in 2014. ‘Time of Our Lives’ was the official BeIN Sports song that year. It was also produced in Arabic and Spanish later on.
Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) – South Africa, 2010
Sung by Colombian singer Shakira, ‘Waka Waka’ was the official song of the 2010 World Cup. The song initially generated several controversies in Africa over its singer, but later as the issues were dissolved, it topped the charts in several countries. It has sold 10m copies worldwide so far to become one of the best-selling singles of all-time.
This World Cup produced some of the most enthralling goals in the history of football. Spain won the tournament by beating an equally strong Netherlands team 1-0 after extra-time in the final. Uruguayan Diego Forlan was the Best Player of the tournament while the Best Young Player award went to THE promising Thomas Mueller of Germany.
Wavin’ Flag – South Africa, 2010
The 2010 World Cup in South Africa brought a couple of best-ever theme songs in World Cup history. Wavin’ Flag, sung by Somali-Canadian artist K’naan was the promotional anthem of Coca-Cola for the World Cup. This song took the world by storm as it became a global hit. It reached the top ten lists in more than 20 countries in the world.
Live it up – Russia, 2018
On first listen it is a very catchy tune that should excite everyone in Russia and around the world during the month-long World Cup. Will Smith, Nicky Jam and Era Istrefi will perform the song live at the World Cup final on July 15, ahead of the World Cup final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
So far, the song has received mixed reactions from the football fans all over the globe and it will be interesting to see how it turns to be in another week’s time.