Music

8 English Football Anthems That’ll Make You Feel All Nostalgic

This could be the year.

The Spice Girls on set for the music video of their 1998 World Cup song (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

With the European Championships 2020 kicking off this Friday, football fans all around the continent are dusting off their nation’s jerseys and getting ready to cheer their team on. After the postponement of the tournament from last summer, the tournament’s return has been eagerly awaited, and it will run from the June 11 to July 11.

With football games come catchy anthems. They’re a part of the hype and celebration surrounding tournaments and matches. This year, Krept and Konan have the privilege of writing and performing a song for England’s Euro 2020 campaign. Following in the footsteps of rapper Dizzee Rascal and comedian David Baddiel, the rap duo star in a BBC Three documentary that will track their process.

Speaking in the documentary, Konan said he hoped the pair’s upcoming track would bring people together. “No matter who you are or where you’re from, we’re supporting England and the song should unite that as well,” he said.

As we anticipate the tune they’ll come up with, we’ve gone down memory lane and dug up England’s most iconic football anthems to get you Euros ready.

“Back Home” by the 1970 England World Cup Squad

The OG England football anthem sung by the England World Cup squad of 1970. This song birthed the tradition of the England squad recording World Cup songs to celebrate its involvement in the competition. England went in as the reigning world champions after winning the 1966 World Cup but was knocked out at the quarter-finals after a 3-2 defeat by West Germany.

“World In Motion” by New Order

The ‘80s didn’t bless us with many catchy football songs, but in 1990, New Order changed that with the release of “World in Motion.” The 1990 England team’s World Cup anthem features additional vocals from comedian Keith Allen, as well as several members of the England team, including a guest appearance from a rapping John Barnes, who played for England at the time.

“Three Lions” by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner & Lightning Seeds

Described as the de facto anthem of England football since 1996, the classic “Three Lions” promises fans that “football’s coming home.” As England hosted that year’s European Championship, national pride in the football team was on a high. The song sung by comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner and band the Lightning Seeds topped the UK Singles charts of that year, as well as the day after England reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2018.

“(How Does it Feel to Be) On Top of the World” by the Spice Girls ft. England United

Bringing girl power to football, Spice Girls joined forces with other British bands, Echo and the Bunnymen, Space, and Ocean Colour Scene to release the official theme song for the 1998 England World Cup team. Unfortunately, the song was overshadowed by other 1998 World Cup classics, “Three Lions 98,” a re-recording of the 1996 anthem, and Fat Les’ “Vindaloo.”

“We’re On The Ball” by Ant and Dec

After a five year hiatus, the famous presenting pair Ant & Dec resurrected their musical career in 2002 for the World Cup. The music video sees the pair disguise themselves as England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson and his assistant manager Tord Grip as they attempt to get themselves to the tournament. Following on from this song, the duo had another brief spell in the music industry with their chart-topping hit, "Let's Get Ready To Rhumble".

“World At Your Feet” by Embrace

As part of the 2006 World Cup campaign, the FA asked British band, Embrace, to write and perform the official song of the England World Cup squad. While “World at Your Feet” doesn’t possess the same chant appeal as previous England football anthems, this indie song was still a popular tune and even scored the number one spot on the UK Indie charts.

“Shout” by Dizzee Rascal & James Corden

An unlikely duo, Dizzee Rascal and James Corden brought us this catchy anthem for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The song samples the Tears of Fears song of the same name, as well as Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” and includes references to England players, Wayne Rooney and Ashley Cole. Dizzee Rascal went on to release an updated version of the song for Euro 2012.

“Sing 4 England” by Chris Kamara

Say what you wish about this one, but there’s no denying Chris Kamara’s Euro 2012 official song is a bop. If you don’t believe us, well England captain at the time, Steven Gerrard, was reported to be a fan of the track too. Kamara, a former midfielder turned sports presenter and football analyst may have used this opportunity to launch his singing career as he went on to release a Christmas album in 2019.