We’re just a few days away from kickoff as the world’s biggest sporting event—the FIFA World Cup—is all set to make us cheer on loud, bite our fingernails, make us feel the despair of our favourite team crash out and give us the euphoria of a splendid goal being scored. While most of us are just waiting for the whistle to blow, some fans are playing some of the all-time favourite FIFA anthems on loop to build the excitement. While we can’t wait to see Hayya Hayya, this edition’s official song, become a rage on social media, here are some of our favourite World Cup songs.
La Copa De La Vida/The Cup of Life (1998, France)
As an eight-year-old, I didn’t know who won the FIFA World Cup that year, but I certainly knew that there was a singer by the name of Ricky Martin who sang a song that everyone around me was hooked on. La Copa De La Vida (Spanish) or The Cup of Life (English version) was the track on everyone’s mind and heart and for good reasons. With powerful vocals and lyrics, one didn’t need to be a football fan to sink into the fervour of the tournament. Twenty-four years on, the track will give you goosebumps and make you want to get on the dance floor in absolutely no time.
Wavin’ Flag (2010, South Africa)
I’m already smiling thinking about the song even before I can write the first sentence. That’s how good and impactful Wavin’ Flag was, and continues to be. To begin with, it isn’t a song. It is an anthem. The track from the Somali Canadian singer, K'naan, hits all the right notes, the inspirational lyrics being the perfect representation of what this beautiful game is all about. And it gets brownie points for the music video, which unites the entire world, evoking an immense amount of joy that few songs have been able to replicate.
Waka Waka (2010, South Africa)
There are FIFA World Cup official songs, and then there is Waka Waka. There mustn’t have been a single soul back in 2010 who hadn’t heard this scintillating Shakira song. Right from the dance steps that everyone now aces effortlessly, to the lyrics that bring out the diversity and culture of Africa in all its glory, every single second of the song is spot on. If you ask us, there will never be another FIFA World Cup song like Waka Waka. Don’t believe us; pump up this song before a match and you’ll see why this song continues to live up to the hype. It’s the most-viewed World Cup anthem for a reason.
We Are One (2014, Brazil)
Mr Worldwide aka Pitbull in a song that talks about the world and its people being one. Poetic justice, if you ask us. And it wasn’t just him, but singing sensations JLo and Claudia Leitte in a track that brought out the samba that Brazil is famous for. With big names, a catchy beat, and lyrics that aim towards uniting the world, We are One gets you in the mood to play a game of football in no time.
Live it Up (2018, Russia)
Live It Up, performed by Nicky Jam, was the official song for the 2018 FIFA World Cup held in Russia. The song also featured Hollywood actor Will Smith and Albanian singer Era Istrefi. It’s tough to listen to this groovy track and not want to put on your dancing shoes. It’ll take you from 0 to 100 in absolutely no time. While it may not be as popular as the other songs mentioned in this list, it certainly was one of the reasons why the last World Cup was so memorable.
Hayya Hayya (2022, Qatar)
For the next month or so, the entire world will be going “Hayya Hayya”. You’ll see it everywhere, so better get used to it from now. Performed by Trinidad Cardona, Davido and AISHA, the song is themed around traditional Arabic music with RnB and Reggae influences. Just like many of the iconic FIFA World Cup songs, this one too symbolises how music—and football—can unite the world.