FIFA World Cup

Best FIFA World Cup Anthems of All Time

These five are songs we'll keep coming back to

2010 FIFA World Cup
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World Cup winners and incredible goals are often what we reminisce about from previous tournaments, but there’s also another that hits a different tune in our nostalgia: anthems.

The first official anthem of a World Cup came in 1962 when Chile hosted the quadrennial tournament. Los Ramblers’ “El Rock del Mundial” song, which translates to “The Rock of the World Cup”, was the first ever anthem.

Since then, having an anthem has become a World Cup tradition. Sometimes there will be one song translated to different languages, but since 2002, multiple artists curate songs in different languages that are used for promotional purposes, with one song being dubbed the “official” version. 

For the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, “Hayya Hayya” by Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Aisha became the first song to be released from the tournament’s soundtrack while Lil Baby’s “The World is Yours to Take” is the official Budweiser anthem of the tournament. 

With plenty to pick from, both official and unofficial, these five World Cup anthems, in no particular order, are among the best of all time:

“Wavin’ Flag” by K’naan – 2010

There’s really no other song to start off with. K’Naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” was released ahead of the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa and is still regarded as a masterpiece to this day – and likely always will be. It’s a perfect representation of what the sport is all about. We often associate soccer with flashy stadiums that hundreds of thousands of spectators pack, and while that is true, most fans play the game on smaller dirt and grass fields with little to no proper equipment, which the song takes us through. 

“We Are One (Ole Ola)” by Pitbull – 2014

It’s quite the poetic justice if “Mr. Worldwide” is the one reminding us of how soccer unites the globe. Pitbull’s “We Are One” featuring Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte was the official song of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which wonderfully highlighted Brazilian culture from dances, clothes and playing the game on the beach. 

“Waka Waka” by Shakira – 2010

It’s the most-viewed World Cup anthem for a reason. Shakira’s “Waka Waka” song was the official one of 2010 and has accumulated 3.2 billion views and counting on YouTube. It was the first ever time a World Cup had been hosted by a country in Africa, and South African culture was spotlighted fantastically by everyone involved. To have two timeless classics in one tournament exemplified how great the vibes were that year.

“La Copa de la Vida” by Ricky Martin – 1998

From the artist who gave us “Livin’ La Vida Loca” in 1999, it’s not exactly surprising that “La Copa de la Vida”, which translates to “The Cup of Life”, was released just one year before. This was the official song of the 1998 World Cup hosted by France and is still capable of bringing out goosebumps, no matter how long it’s been since being released.

“We Are the Champions” by Queen – 1994

While it wasn’t the official song of the 1994 World Cup hosted by the U.S., it’s one that has become ubiquitous in the sporting world today whenever a title winner is crowned. That year it was Brazil that earned the right to sing Queen’s song, but it’s another evergreen track that we’ll keep coming back to every time. 

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