What are the best World Cup songs ever? Let’s take a look.

The World Cup starts in Russia today with what could be the worst opening game ever: host Russia (ranked #104 in the world and are only there because Russia is the host country) vs. Saudi Arabia (#97). Not exactly a barnburner match, right?

Still, the World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world and gives the whole planet to slack off at work for the next month. I love it most games will be right in the middle of the workday here in the eastern time zone.

Who will win? Germany, probably. But anything can happen. This AI program ran through the tournament 100,000 times and came up with its prediction.

And then there’s the matter of World Cup music. Here’s this year’s track.

Meh. But what’s better? Billboard has sorted through the best World Cup songs since 1962 and has come up with this verdict.

Here’s their #1 pick: Shakira’s “Waka Waka” from 2010.

My favourite? This rejected submission by Colourbox for the 1986 tournament in Mexico (which was the last time Canada qualified; we score nil goals.)

And I can’t finish this post without a nod to New Order’s official song for the 1990 English squad.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “What are the best World Cup songs ever? Let’s take a look.

  • June 14, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Alan! Wasn’t Union Jack by Big Audio Dynamite a World Cup song for England? Or is it just soccer song in general from Megatop Phoenix?

    • June 15, 2018 at 8:34 am

      Not sure if it was an official one–there are lots unofficial ones–but we should look that up to be sure.


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