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The greatest England football songs of all time

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Celebrate the World Cup with these classic England football songs. 

While the England squad have inspired a lot of great football, they’ve also inspired a number of classic pop tunes. To get you in the mood for this year’s World Cup, here are the top five songs that celebrate the England football squad.

5. Back Home by England World Cup Squad

This somewhat quaint song started off the trend of England football songs, topping the charts for three weeks in 1970. It features a rousing chant from the 1970 England squad singing over a brass band, who were then the reigning World Cup champions. Unfortunately, they didn’t get to follow up the song until 1982 as they failed to qualify for the next two World Cups.

4. We’re on the Ball by Ant and Dec

‘We’re on The Ball’ was the cheeky Geordie duo’s first foray into the pop charts since their PJ and Duncan days. This catchy song was the official England song back in 2002 when they were fresh off their famed 5-1 win against Germany. Borrowing the chorus from a novelty single written by Harold Spiro, Ant and Dec wrote the entire rest of this feel good song by themselves.

3. Vindaloo by Fat Les

Keith Allen leads this humorous track written with Blur’s Alex James and occasional Pink Floyd bassist Guy Pratt. Though its nonsensical lyrics were designed as a spoof of football chants, it soon became a classic chant in its own right. Also check out the music video for a very funny parody of the video of Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve.

2. World in Motion by New Order

This underrated synthpop gem gave the famed Mancunian quartet their only number one single. Keith Allen also helped out with the song, co-writing its inspiring lyrics and singing “express yourself!” with the England squad. As well as featuring the band’s classic fusion of post-punk and electronic music, it also features a (ahem) rap from England midfielder John Barnes.

1. Three Lions by Baddiel & Skinner & Lightning Seeds

This classic anthem gave rock band The Lightning Seeds their biggest hit while teaming up with comedy duo Baddiel and Skinner. As opposed to the blind optimism of many previous England songs, this song expressed an acknowledgement of the England squad’s decline, but with passionate hope that they’d reclaim their former glory. Its superb Britpop production is matched by its clever lyrics and soaring melodies that are perfect to be chanted from the terraces.