From Ricky Martin to Morricone: The seven best World Cup anthems of all time

Morricone’s theme faced backlash from people in Argentina, the hosts of the 1978 tournament, as the composer was Italian. But there’s very little in this world that isn’t improved by a Morricone score, and the world of football is lucky to have been touched by one of the world’s greatest modern composers.

#6 Un’estate Italiana -Giorgio Moroder (1990)

From one iconic film composer to another, Giorgio Moroder stepped out of his disco/electronic comfort zone to produce this glam rock banger for the Italian Cup in 1990. A catchy chorus, distorted guitars and lyrics that evoke the magic of an italian summer is a track that perfectly captures the turn of the decade.

The English version was written by Tom Whitlock, with whom Moroder had collaborated four years earlier for Breathtaking which was in Top Gun.

#5 We are a – Pitbull feat. J Lo and Claudia Leitte (2014)

In 2014 the World Cup was held in Brazil, so who better to ask for a tournament anthem than Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull? Pitbull, who is definitely not Brazilian, teamed up with Jennifer Lopez (also definitely not Brazilian) and singer Claudia Leitte (who is Brazilian) for this whistle-heavy track.

For a relatively simple and sometimes too repetitive song, We are a features a mammoth list of songwriters, including Australians Sia, RedOne, Danny Mercer, Dr. Luke, Cirkut and Thomas Troelsen. How else do you get magic like,“Put your flags in the sky (Put them in the sky), And wave them side by side (Side by side)”?

Kidding aside, it’s a fun track with the right amount of vague “we’re all in this together” themes to help everyone feel warm and fuzzy.

#4 Boom – Anastasia (2002)

In 2002, the World Cup was hosted jointly by South Korea and Japan, so I guess it makes sense that the anthem was performed by American pop sensation Anastacia?

Leaving aside the bizarre choice of the singer, Boom isn’t just a great football anthem, it’s a great all-around pop song. Unlike most anthems, Anastacia did not attempt to incorporate musical elements from the host countries. She just delivered what she knows how to do best: electro pop from the early 2000s. And it worked.

#3 Waving flag – K’naan (2010)

Technically waving Flag by Somali-Canadian rapper and singer K’naan was not the official anthem of the World Cup hosted by South Africa in 2010 (more on that later). Rather, it was Coco-Cola’s “promotional anthem” for this cup. But the song is so good that it deserves to be on this list.

It’s an unabashedly joyous and uplifting track that acknowledges the best of the World Cup: cultures around the world come together to celebrate, celebrate and celebrate the magic of football.

#2 Waka Waka (This time for Africa) – Shakira (2010)

Another anthem where the singer has no connection to the host country, but another anthem where it doesn’t matter how good he is. While the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will be remembered for the relentless rumble of thousands of vuvuzelas, it deserves to be remembered for giving us two iconic anthems.

Waka Waka (This time for Africa) is by far the most streamed anthem, and Shakira’s biggest hit after hips don’t lie (which she also performed at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2006 World Cup in Germany). There’s not much more to say about this one. Just listen to it.

#1 La Copa de la Vida (The Cup of Life) -Ricky Martin (1998)

Do you really want it? It doesn’t matter that it is the anthem of the 1998 World Cup in France. It has become synonymous with tournament play, whenever and wherever it takes place. In fact, you can play any sporting event. Scratch that, any event. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries.

It’s hard to pick the best thing about this song. The horns ? The song “Come on, come on, come on”? The rhythm of the samba? Everything is so good. It also helped bring Latin music into Western pop consciousness, paving the way for artists such as Bad Bunny and Shakira.

Its true no La Copa de la Vida (The Cup of Life) means no Shakira, which means no WakaWaka. How darker would our world be?

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