Every [Absolutely Awful] Official England World Cup Song — Rated

Andrew Nattan
May 20, 2018 · 5 min read

May 10th, 2018. A historic day for English football. A heroic day for English football. On that auspicious day, the FA announced that the England World Cup squad would not have an official song.

No Vindaloo, no Three Lions, not even a Meat Pie, Sausage Roll, Come on England Give Us a Goal.

That noise you hear is a grateful nation, sighing in relief. But how bad are official World Cup songs, really?

Spoiler alert. Barring one, they’re fucking terrible.

1970 — Back Home

The England Squad

On the plus side, it’s only two minutes long.

Ahh, the 70s. A simpler time, where instead of Twitter spats you’d have your captain arrested for allegedly nicking jewellery, and where Bobby Charlton could smoke fifty a day and have to be subbed off because breathing is hard.

A time where the defending world champions could think of nothing better than donning a natty blazer and warbling along to an awful, tuneless dirge before losing to the bloody Germans.

If only Gordon Banks hadn’t got food poisoning. If only West Germany hadn’t been really good at football. If only nobody had thought of releasing official World Cup songs. History could be so different.

Most cringeworthy lyric: “Back home, they think we’re the greatest.” — Apparently tabloid journalists weren’t a thing in 1970.

Rating: No Peter Bonetti flaps out of five.

1982 — This Time (We’ll Get it Right)

The England Squad

It’s bad. Then the drum kicks in.

We’ll get it right” is the least accurate thing any England team has ever said. Which part of this seems right? Appointing Ron Greenwood over Brian Clough. Taking a clearly injured Kevin Keegan. Letting the squad sing the bloody song, again.

After Back Home, England missed two back to back World Cups out of sheer shame. Then came Spain in 1982. All anyone remembers about Spain 1982 is that Keegan came on for ten minutes with one working leg and missed a sitter.

As painful as that memory is for Kev, I think he’d rather think about that than his star turn singing this.

Most cringeworthy lyric: “We’re gonna find a way, find a way to get away.” — Not playing well enough seemed to be the trick to getting away from Spain, lads. Strange that you’d plan that in advance.

Rating: No Kevin Keegan goals out of five.

1986 — We’ve Got The Whole World at Our Feet

The England Squad

It starts off like an 80s game show, then gets worse

One last hurrah for the awful squad-sung song. Chris Waddle had such a great time recording this that he’d form Diamond Lights with Glenn Hoddle, which should tell you just how bad an idea this was.

Anway, they’re saying they’ve got the whole world at their feet because you can’t use your hands in football. Unless you’re Diego Maradona, and you want to punch the ball into the net as revenge for this bloody song. Fair enough, Diego. Fair enough.

Most cringeworthy lyric:There’s not a single team we can’t beat.” — History suggests otherwise.

Rating: No Hands of God out of five.

1990 — World In Motion


Warning — video contains mullet.

How does it take 20 years to come up with the idea of getting one of the best bands in the country to record a song and limit the players to miming the chorus in the background?

I say limit the players. One player knows no limits. One player stepped up to the plate to deliver a stunning show of competence unheard of in these songs.

It’s no wonder England almost went and won the bloody thing.

Most cringeworthy lyric: None. Even the bit where John Barns raps about the importance of crossing from as close to the goal line as possible is brilliant.

Rating: Five rapping John Barnses out of five

1998 — (How Does it Feel to Be) on Top of the World

England United (basically The Spice Girls and assorted hangers-on)

Geri Halliwell quit after this. Who can blame her?

Ahh, 1998. The official Last Good World Cup(tm). It had everything. David Batty missing a penalty and then shrugging while a nation cried because David Batty don’t give a fuck about you or your problems. Dennis Bergkamp defying the laws of physics with that goal. A drugged up Ronaldo being forced to play the final at gunpoint by Nike executives. Fabien Barthez’s stupid bald head.

And the songs. Fat Les’ Vindaloo, the ’98 remix of Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home), that CD someone made of Des Lynam reciting Rudyard Kipling’s If over the strains of Faure’s Pavane. Op. 40

So why the fuck did the FA let The Spice Girls do the song? It’s as inspirational as a Victoria Beckham dressing room speech, as memorable as Victoria Beckham’s entire solo career, and as full of personality as — you get the picture.

Most cringeworthy lyric: “Goals are flying in we’ve made the news, ‘cos we’re born to win we can’t lose.” — Just a low effort line there, showing an ignorance of England’s ability to lose every single time.

Rating: No embarrassed FA suits who wished they’d picked Vindaloo out of five.

2002 — We’re On The Ball

Ant & Dec

Ho ho, the whole video is a caper. If you laugh, seek clinical help.

The Japan and Korea World Cup is synonymous with three things. Warm Carling and cold sausage butties at 6am. South Korea bribing referees. The absolute unbridled fucking horror of the music put out by bellends.

2002 also gave us Goldenballs, Sven Sven Sven and Meat Pie, Sausage Roll, Come on England Give Us a Goal, so we got off bloody lightly with an absolutely forgettable piece of shit from two TV presenters who spell rhumble with an h.

Cue three minutes of parping brass, desperate recollections of the qualifier where England dicked Germany, and the song’s titular refrain repeated for what feels like hours.

Nobody remembers this song. Just like nobody remember that Trevor Sinclair went to a World Cup. Jesus Christ. Trevor fucking Sinclair.

Most cringeworthy lyric:The cup of Eastern promise, in the land of the Rising Sun.” — Eesh.

Rating: No rejected PJ and Duncan B-sides out of five

2010 — Shout (Shout for England song)

Dizzee Rascal (ft James Corden)

If you pause it at 0:33, James Corden looks like he’s doing a shit in his plus size jeans.

Fuck off. It had James Corden in it. I’m not even listening to this one. Consider this a disqualification.

Also, who wants to think about England’s 2010 World Cup campaign? Rob Green slowly collapsing over a scuffed shot from some American repeated in your head over and over and over and over and over and over again?

Even James Corden’s more entertaining than that.

Most cringeworthy lyric:Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough!” Sit down, Corden. You’re pissed.

Rating: No talentless bellends out of five.

2014 — Sport Relief’s Greatest Day

Gary Barlow, and a cast including two Spice Girls, Glenn Hoddle and Michael Owen. For some fucking reason.

Glenn Hoddle will be reincarnated as a house plant as a result of this.

It’s not even a football song. It’s Gary Barlow, re-recording a Take That song with a few Spice Girls and other assorted hangers on singing the bits the weird one usually sings, while Geoff Hurst stands there with a microphone that’s definitely not plugged in.

It was for charity though, so I shouldn’t slag it off too much. As a piece of popular culture, it’s far better than a goalless draw with Costa Rica.

Most cringeworthy lyric: Stay close to me.” Really? You’re asking Rickie Lambert for a cuddle? That’s odd.

Rating: No relationships to football whatsoever out of five.

The Final Ranking

  1. World in Motion

Everything else is just shit.

If you’re a glutton for punishment, check out this Spotify playlist, filled with all these awful songs and more. The perfect soundtrack for an inevitable second round exit at the hands of Senegal.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store