There was a time when the hype around an upcoming FIFA World Cup was not spurned on by associated songs. Can you imagine that? Neither can we! It just doesn’t feel the same. Official or unofficial, anthems and songs floating around a World Cup have a ritualistic essence to them.
This is a marriage that began in the 1962 World Cup in Chile when a Chilean rock band, Los Ramblers’ hit named ‘El Rock del Mundial’ was declared the official song of the World Cup. Ever since the trend has endured for reasons related to commerce as well as vibes.
The basic idea is to create a pop song that resonates globally but is simultaneously embedded in the culture of the host nation.
Sometimes the ploy has worked deliciously for the organisers and artists, and on other occasions, erm… not so much.
But don’t worry, FootTheBall delivers a cross so good that even Kevin de Bruyne would be proud, and picked out the Top 5 bangers you can and should still jam to.
— FootTheBall FC (@FootTheBallFC) November 24, 2022
El Rock del Mundial by Los Ramblers, Chile 1962
Rock/Jazz/Soul lovers unite! Because this dynamic anthem from the 1962 Chile World Cup, even though its title’s English translation is ‘The World Cup Rock’, is a harmonious mix of all these genres.
Although the song lyrics perhaps micro-focus on just the World Cup and fail to inculcate other cultural elements to add depth but if you’re a not Spanish speaker, the literal meaning obviously is not a problem for you!
In terms of everything else, El Rock del Mundial offers a different feel than most modern World Cup songs. This doesn’t mean that this hit fails to pass the ‘vibe check’. It passes with flying colours.
Waka Waka by Shakira and Freshlyground, South Africa 2010
Waka Waka by Shakira and Freshlyground is a proper cult classic which smashed the charts when it was released. The song video has over 3.3 billion views, and that’s saying something.
Shakira’s vocals forefronting lively, rhythmic beats produce a joyful energy that almost automatically forces you to shake your limbs and start dancing.
The fact that it doesn’t involve too much talk surrounding the World Cup is one of the reasons why it’s sitting outside the Top 3.
If a Can, Can by Awu, Brazil 2014
The unofficial theme anthem of the 2014 Brazil World Cup is an admiringly inspirational song that wants to entertain as well as engage the listener with its meaning. It wants you to ponder over significant matters and ideas in life.
Alongside celebrating football, Awu motivates his audience to appreciate and revel in differences and empathy instead of furthering prejudices about one another.
Awu’s soothing, melodious voice on top of a masterfully-crafted, soothing backdrop gives you an acoustic hug and uplifts your mood.
La Copa De La Vida by Ricky Marin, France 1998
Ricky Martin’s La Copa De La Vida, ‘The Cup of Life’, in English, was the official song for the 1998 World Cup in France.
It’s a sizzling hot track which took Martin’s 1999 album, ‘Vuelve’, to the pinnacle of the song charts and got him a Grammy. The buoyant vocals of Martin paired with the upbeat buzz generated via the drums make this number a fan favourite for grooving.
The song is wholly fun but stays away from being too cheesy while celebrating the beautiful game and the biggest footballing carnival.
Wavin’ Flag by K’Naan feat. David Bisbal, South Africa 2010
Has to be number 1, doesn’t it?
The popularity and genius of this track by the Somali-Canadian reggae artist, K’naan, has meant that by now, it has devised an enriching life of its own.
The song is in equal parts groovy, pulsating, and powerful. Fuelled by an unforgettable chorus, Wavin’ Flag quickly transcended its scope and became a universal anthem for football and beyond. Featuring in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa video game only helped its case.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was, in truth, a gift for humanity because, like all world cups, the football was scintillating but the music released during and because of the event was – *chef’s kiss* – ethereal.