The Women’s World Cup 2023 is entering its tense end stages, and after beating host nation Australia in a nail-biting semi-final, England have secured a historic spot in the World Cup finals. Not only is this the Lionesses’ first time reaching the last stage of the competition, it’s also the first time that any senior England football team has reached a World Cup final since 1966.
As the Lionesses and Sabrina Wiegand prepare for a final showdown against Spain, it’s officially an acceptable time to dig out those World Cup playlists again ahead of securing a spot to watch Sunday’s match.
With a new World Cup comes new tracks — and this year’s anthem comes in the shape of FIFA’s official release, Do It Again by New Zealand singer-songwriter BENEE, featuring Australian musician Mallrat.
A jangly indie bop propelled by a dance beat, it’s the official song for the Women’s World Cup, which is currently taking place in Australia and New Zealand. A plucky squad of musicians including Spice Girls legend Mel C and pop star Self Esteem have also written a brand new anthem for the England squad.
It may not be time for Sweet Caroline just yet, but as the compeition roars on, it’s inevitable that more and more old classics will start to creep up. Is it coming home? That remains to be seen, but these World Cup anthems, old and new, are the perfect soundtrack.
Call Me A Lioness
Following the Lionesses’ triumph at last year’s Euros, Sweet Caroline and Three Lions rang through a packed-out Wembley Stadium. Having finally brought it home, it became clear that England’s women needed their own anthem.
Well, just ahead of World Cup kick-off, mega-collaboration Call Me A Lioness appeared. Billing themselves as Hope FC, the formidable musical team behind the track boasts some of the UK’s most exciting talents, including Self Esteem, Olivia Dean and Spice Girls’ Melanie C.
The result is a slickly written and produced call-to-victory that seems like the Lionesses answer to Three Lions, raising funds for women’s football charities as well as raising the atmosphere of the tournament.
It’s no secret that South Africa’s World Cup back in 2010 spawned some quality footie-themed bangers, although with constant honks of now-banned vuvuzelas ringing through the stadium, there wasn’t much need for a soundtrack.
Still though, Somali-Canadian singer K’naan provided one of the most motivational theme tunes in recent years. 2010’s Wavin’ Flag has the stadium feel that all World Cup anthems should have, and with an uplifting message centred on the beautiful game at its centre, its a more recent classic. My mind replays Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal every time I listen to it.
Shakira’s Waka Waka (This Time For Africa) meanwhile, was FIFA’s official track for that same tournament. In some ways, the song has outlived the memory of Spain’s victory over the Netherlands in a bookings-filled final.
Still, long after the tournament ended, Waka Waka continued to keep its appeal. The iconic music video features cameos from some of the game’s greats, including a younger, longhaired Lionel Messi, paired with polished choreography from the Hips Don’t Lie hitmaker.
Waka Waka has over 3.6 billion views on YouTube alone — and obviously, it’s an absolute banger.
Do It Again
FIFA’s official Women’s World Cup 2023 anthem Do It Again is an indie-pop stomper from Auckland singer-songwriter BENEE and Australian singer-songwriter Mallrat, as both of their respective home nations are jointly hosting the tournament.
Packed with the kind of endurance that’s needed in the latter stages of the tournament, it’s a song about perseverance and determination. “Do it, don't quit, no stress, don't miss,” urges the chorus, “Don't overthink and do it again.”
World In Motion
Ah, Italia 90 — what a rollercoaster of emotions that was. In typical England style, the squad were scuppered by a dreaded penalty shootout in the semi-finals, and crashed out against West Germany.
Still, the excitement around England’s performance led to New Order’s only UK number one single, with World In Motion written to support the Three Lions, and even featuring a guest rap from winger John Barnes. It’s a trip down memory lane for anyone who got to experience the tournament that had the country holding its breath.
South Korean DJ Peggy Gou might be bringing back an iconic chant this summer with (It Goes Like) Nanana, but this completely bizarre track is arguably the originator.
Somewhat of a supergroup, Fat Les — made up of Blur’s Alex James, musician Damian Hirst and (strangely) actor Keith Allen, the trio created a hot and spicy favourite which rears its head in any and every international tournament England play in.
La Copa de la Vida
The best World Cup songs manage to incorporate the high-energy and excitement of football on the global stage, while staying true to the kind of music that the chosen artist makes. Ricky Martin’s La Copa de la Vida (The Cup of Life) manages to nail both sides.
Made for the 1998 World Cup, the track feels like being at a cup final and a carnival all at one. A relentless samba beat, matched with infectious chants, heavy drums and blockbuster dance breaks, its an explosion of atmosphere from start to finish.
Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds - Three Lions
Let’s face it, no tournament for England is quite the same without hearing Three Lions blaring across the country.
Though the track itself was originally a Euros anthem, few other anthems manage to sum up the bittersweet rollercoaster of emotions that comes with supporting England through any international competition. This is probably why it’s outlived every other England anthem, regardless of tournament. The highs and the lows are captured perfectly in just under four minutes — with the track charting during every major tournament England perform well in, and serving as a reminder of how much the country backs its Three Lions.
After all, it’s coming home, right?