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The 10 worst World Cup songs

Prepare for some absolute aural atrocities

The 10 worst World Cup songs
11 June 2018

For those of you who thought Olympic songs were bad: brace yourselves.

The first official football World Cup song was El Rock del Mundial, recorded for the Chile World Cup in 1962. A ham-fisted stab at Bill Haley-style rock ’n’ roll, it at least had the excuse that popular music as we know it was only just beginning to get going. Since then, the standard has gone one way - and it’s not up.

Here are the 10 worst official World Cup songs ever. A straight red card for every single one of these crimes against music.

10. Roberto do Nascimento - Fútbol México 70

Mexico (1970)

This, to be kind, is all over the place. Attempting to shoe-horn in every possible style of Mexican music, it jumps around from section to section without really settling down. The main hook is pretty good in a 70s crime show theme tune kind of way though. Probably the least worst on this list, but that's not saying much.

9. Nicky Jam featuring Will Smith and Era Istrefi - Live It Up

Russia (2018)

Hot off the press, this is, essentially, a complete mess which even Will Smith - God bless one of the greatest rappers in musical history - cannot rescue. There’s no explanation as to why a World Cup in Russia should have a reggaeton anthem, while the shoehorning in of different artists in order to satisfy all global demographics is just patently cynical (as is the blurring out of, presumably a non-FIFA-approved brand logo on Jam’s jacket). Mainly though, the words in the chorus just don’t fit. ‘One life live it up cos you don’t get it twice’ is just unbelieveably clunky. Still, at least Freddie Flintoff and Ricky Wilson remade Rasputin for some authentic Russian vibes… right?

8. Herbert Grönemeyer ft Amadou & Mariam - Zeit Dass Sich Was Dreht (Celebrate The Day)

Germany (2006)

A spirited attempt at a Samba track for the World Cup in, er, Germany. Unfortunately it sounded about 20 years out of date and is, at its heart, once you strip everything away, look for the true meaning and really dig deep into it, a really, really quite rubbish song.

7. Maryla Rodowicz - Futbol

West Germany (1974)

"What are writing this song for?" "It's the football World Cup" "OK, shall we just sing football, football, football over and over again on top of a backing track we didn't think was good enough for Eurovision this year?" "Perfect".

6. Plácido Domingo - Mundial '82

Spain (1982)

He was destined to redeem himself eight years later, by joining up with fellow tenor Luciano Pavarotti following his exquisite version of Nessun Dorma dominating the airwaves at Italia '90, but this piece of utterly cheesy Europop meets opera (Europopera, if you will), is truly terrible.

5. Anastacia - Boom

South Korea & Japan (2002)

Firsly, what Anastacia has to do with South Korea or Japan we have no idea. Secondly, this is the definition of a phoned-in track, despite the presence of Michael Jackson-collaborator Glen Ballard on songwriting duties. Thoroughly and dispiritingly soulless and pointless.

4. Edoardo Bennato & Gianna Nannini - Un'estate italiana (To Be Number One)

Italy (1990)

This song almost enters the realms of so-bad-it's good. Synth pioneer Giorgio Moroder was on the production team for this one and, contrary to his brilliant South Korean 1988 Olympic song (which probably got him the booking), this is a total cheesefest from start to finish. Just look at what the guy in the middle is wearing: he looks like a guy who got rejected at the auditions for Color Me Badd.

3. Daryl Hall & Sounds of Blackness - Gloryland

USA (1994)

We know the Americans are a patriotic people, but this is almost vomit-inducing. A mid-tempo ballad that Boyz II Men would have rejected for being 'a bit much', the singular good thing about it is that the intro sounds a bit like the start of the Baywatch theme tune. Of course, there is a horrible key change into the second verse. Of course there is. Well, at least we now know who the brains of Hall & Oates was (clue: not Hall).

2. Toni Braxton & Il Divo - The Time Of Our Lives

Germany (2006)

It's almost impossible to describe how middle of the road this track is. It's in the middle of the white line in the middle of the road, tucking its arms and legs in, just in case they deviate from the central point too much. This is music for people who find Celine Dion a bit too edgy. Why didn't they ask Rammstein or The Scorpions? We will never know. And why do they open the video with the teams running out for the 1996 World Cup final - which Germany lost? Did anyone put any thought into this whatsoever? Utterly atrocious.

1. Jean Michel Jarre & Tetsuya Komuro - Together Now

France (1998)

Look, we know Jean Michel Jarre is a legend of electronic music, but this is one total and utter unholy mess. A sped-up breakbeat, screeched vocals and nonsensical lyrics kick things off, before segueing into a truly horrible chorus. Granted, there's some cracking lasers and a keytar, but that is nowhere near enough to adequately compensate for the musical atrocity happening in the background. Appalling.