As the 2018 World Cup draws to a close I wanted to add a thought on football anthems and their role in major football tournaments. There have been a fair few of these over the years, most immediately forgotten once the sporting moment has past. However two have stuck in the country’s hearts, one even more so as the 2018 World Cup has shown.
So, the first is the repetitive ‘Vindaloo’ by British band Fat Les, released as a single in 1998 and recorded for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The majority of the song consists of the phrase “nah nah nah” and the word “vindaloo” repeated over and over occasionally interspersed with other lines such as “And we all like vindaloo” and “We’re England; we’re gonna score one more than you”.
The other is “Three Lions” a song released in 1996 as a single by English band The Lightning Seeds to mark the England football team’s hosting of that year’s European Championships…written by the Lightning Seeds’ Ian Broudie, with comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner…providing the lyrics.
This is another song with simple and very repetitive lyrics and this seems to be one of the secrets of the staying power of a football anthem. Three Lions contributed to the nations feel- good feeling as hope slowly started to build that we might actually get somewhere this World Cup and we very nearly did! This song, more so than Vindaloo, which is catchy in its own right, sums up nationalism- ‘its coming home’ and although it didn’t this time, hope slowly started to rise that it might.
Ultimately that was what this world cup was all about for us British people- national identity, national pride and national cohesion.