Three Lions

Football’s coming home: my favourite England World Cup songs!

Hey everyone! Apologies for my temporary absence. I am now back home in the UK! To start off this new England chapter of mine, I couldn’t think of a better topic to write about than football, or rather more specifically, England’s love of cheesy World Cup songs. These optimistic and joyful songs have provided a soundtrack to decades of hope, disappointment and solidarity at every attempt at clinching the trophy. Despite it being 52 years since our last World Cup victory, we are more hopeful than ever – and to be honest, we too have more reason than ever. Let me take you through my favourite England World Cup songs!

“Three Lions” by Baddiel, Skinner, and the Lightning Seeds

Okay, I have started with my favourite World Cup song. Released originally for England’s ’96 Euro endevours, the “Three Lions” hit was re-released for England’s attempts on the global stage in ’98. Its Britpop spirit, celebrity frontmen, and relatable fan emotion makes this football chant a favourite among many.  It is especially a big hit this year, where hope is backed by unprecedented good fortune. Regardless of what happens on Wednesday, we’ve done better than we have done in years! In the immortal words of “Three Lions,” football might be coming home after all.

“World in Motion” by England New Order (1990)

Another English favourite is New Order’s collaboration with the ’90 squad, “World in Motion” – considered as one of the coolest football tracks. This catchy synthpop and dance number is not only by the stellar New Order, but also includes a number of iconic guest appearances by famous members of the ’90 football squad including Paul Gascoigne (or “Gazza”), and John Barnes – who can forget that iconic rap!

“(How does it feel to be) On top of the world” by England United (1998)

1998 was a big year for England football tracks, including the aforementioned Three Lions, and Fat Les’ Vindaloo – I will touch on the latter of these later on. The cheesiest football number of the year has to be “(How does it feel to be) On top of the world” by England United – a group consisting of the Spice Girls, rockers Echo and the Bunnymen, and the Lightning Seeds. Whereas “Three Lions” encompassed the trails and tribulations of being an England fan (“thirty years of huuurttt!”), this peppy nineties track beams of joy and celebration.

“World at your Feet” by Embrace (2006)

Fast forward to the mid-noughties and England’s spell in the 2006 World Cup – the World Cup I and many others remember very clearly for many reasons (where do you even start with that?!). Embrace’s indie rock number became the official football anthem for that year, beating the likes of Crazy Frog. Ahh, the noughties.

“We’re on the Ball” by Ant and Dec (2002)

Say hello to the last ‘official’ anthem on the list. Who could forget this track by Ant and Dec? Presented from a reworking of an Arsenal anthem, “We’re on the Ball” now acts as a glorious throwback to England in 2002 and their endevours in Japan and Korea. It is joyful, and very cheesy!

“Vindaloo” by Fat Les (1998)

Now, any list of British football anthems will be incomplete without the spoof classic “Vindaloo,” with its lyrics penned by comedian Kieth Allen. With a music video which parodies The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” this football spoof became an anthem in its own right with its roaring success. With homages to the English love of vindaloo, lager, and promises that they will score “one more goal than you,” it is really random but loveable. Another cool fact about this track? In partnership with Allen, the song is co-written by Alex James (from Blur) and Guy Pratt (who was a part-time bassist for Pink Floyd!).

That’s all for today. Come on England!

From Sophia with Love x

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