Every 2018 World Cup national anthem ranked from worst to best
Rank Sinatra over here.
Look, football isn't for everyone. We've all got our individual interests and they don't have to overlap because we are all beautiful and unique snowflakes at the end of the day.
Personally, I'd rather watch an elderly relative file their feet with a pumice stone than watch a game of footy. But that's just me.
One part of the World Cup I am looking forward to is the part where you can tell which footballers have taken the time to learn the lyrics of home country's national anthem, and who hasn't. That is comedy gold every single time.
But which country has the best national anthem? Which has the worst?
For no logical reason, let's rank this year's World Cup competing countries' national anthems.
32. Germany - Deutschlandlied
Alright Germany, calm down. "Germany, Germany above all, above all in the world" as your opening line? That's going to carry a bit of a sting if you don't win the World Cup, isn't it? There's no point counting your huhn before they've hatched. You can't be above everything in the world, that's a preposterous claim and it has annoyed me. Just get on with your national anthem, praise yourselves a little bit but don't go overboard. Be a bit self-deprecating, ffs. That first line has annoyed me and I can't get past it. Sort it out, Germany.
31. Tunisia - Humat al-Hima
A decent effort from Tunisia, but I'm not over the moon in love with it. It's fine. It's a national anthem and it does the job. It gets a bit tense when the line "No place for traitors in Tunisia" comes up, kind of like when someone does a really vague Facebook status complaining about a specific person without actually naming them and everyone just politely ignores it but spends the next few hours wondering who's wronged Sarah so severely that she's taken her frustrations out on her Facebook. Who hurt you, Tunisia? Who did it? I'll kill them.
30. Spain - La Marcha Real
Obviously the real Spanish national anthem is The Ketchup Song, so this one doesn't even compare. But let's review it anyway. Truthfully, it's a bit shit. It starts off quick, then gets slow, then quick again. There's a bit of a crescendo towards the end, but that's just typical Spain, isn't it? Always pulling it out of the bag with a crescendo. Who am I to critique a piece of music that originated in 1770? Absolutely nobody. But it is my God-given right to describe a national anthem as "a bit shit" if those are my true feelings. I will not apologise.
29. Switzerland - Swiss Psalm
This anthem belongs on a television advert for road safety awareness. Two cars crash in slow motion and this song accompanies the brutal footage of the devastating effects resulting from not wearing a seatbelt. Onlookers recoil in horror, a blade of grass is cut in two by a wayward hub cap, a dog covers his eyes using his tiny little paws. You vow to always wear a seatbelt from this moment forward. Switzerland's national anthem has saved countless lives and we owe it a great deal of gratitude. Bit of a buzzkill of a song though, really.
28. Mexico - Himno Nacional Mexicano
Forgive my ignorance in stereotyping, but I want to hear some maracas. Mexico is a lively place, filled with delicious food and also tequila. I'm just not getting that vibe from this anthem. It's a bit too corporate for my liking. I want to see the Mexican team walking out onto the pitch in Russia, standing in perfect order of height and then jamming out to La Bamba. That's what the World Cup needs, some banter and a belter of a tune. You've let everyone down, Mexico. Your anthem is fine, but it could've been great.
27. Peru -Himno Nacional Del Peru
Damn Peru, that is a fairly inoffensive national anthem you've got there. It's simple, conforms to the typical national anthem template and even gives the singer a bit of a challenge with the pitch. In terms of how it performs against its fellow 31 World Cup competing countries' anthems, it's just not really a standout song. It's absolutely fine. It doesn't evoke a dangerous desire to get out there and play some excellent football, but it gets the job done. I give it a C-.
26. Egypt - Bilady, Bilady, Bilady
Not a bad effort from the Egyptians here, but also not a great one. The lyrics "My homeland, my homeland, my homeland" pay a touching tribute to the TV series starring Claire Danes which aired a cool 88 years after the song was written. Obviously the unofficial national anthem of Egypt is 'Walk Like An Egyptian' by The Bangles, so this official one is slightly lacklustre in comparison, but still a perfectly palatable piece of music. The river Nile is sure to be pleased with its well-deserved shoutout in the song, meanwhile Tutankhamun is probably turning in his Valley of the Kings after being omitted from the lyrics. Poor form.
25. Iran - National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Hey, it's that song that comes on every time the bad guy in your favourite cartoon appears. He's a rat dressed in a grey trench coat, with a top hat and sunglasses even though the cartoon is always set at night. Gregory, the villain, is forever pestering the folks of Newton Village. He tears holes in their bins, rummaging around for crumbs and scratching at the doors until homeowners will let him in for a cup of tea and slice of cake. This isn't a national anthem, it's a soundtrack. Try again, Iran.
24. Japan - Kimigayo
This is grand. It's respectable, but also very short. Dare I say it, it's a comforting anthem. It's confident. The Japanese team will sing along to this song, then go out there and play some maybe decent football depending on the day. Do I prefer this song or 'Turning Japanese' by The Vapors? I think we should let the lyrics battle it out. "May your reign continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations, until the pebbles grow into boulders, lush with moss" OR "I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so". A clear winner has prevailed.
23. Portugal - A Portuguesa
"Noble people, valiant, immortal nation". I hate to argue with song lyrics from 1890, but no nation is immortal. A bunch of people die every day, some of them even in Portugal. They are not immortal and lying about the nation's anthem is a pretty serious offence. Blatant lies aside, this song builds really nicely throughout and the ending is exciting. The Portuguese football team will be pounding their fists upon their chests in anticipation of their matches. Step aside, there's work to be done here.
22. South Korea - Aegukga
It's clean and it's pleasant. The South Koreans have produced a very solid anthem complete with the mandatory intermittent crash symbols that we've come to expect from most anthems. The lyrics are very picturesque, "The autumn skies are void and vast, high and cloudless, the bright moon is like our heart, undivided and always true". It's poetry. There's no unofficial national anthem of South Korea, to the best of my musical knowledge, so I'm happy to let them keep this one. It's a bit long, a bit crap, but it's not awful. You can quote me on that.
21. Costa Rica - Noble patria, tu hermosa bandera
For some reason, this sounds exactly how I expected the Costa Rican national anthem to sound, despite never having heard it before. It's a decent and reliable piece of music, with some poetic lyrics, "Through tenacious struggle from fruitful toiling that crimsons men's faces, your children, simple peasants, secured, prestige, esteem and honor forever". That's been translated to English and I still don't understand it, so that's a sign of some good poetry. Well done, Costa Rica. Not bad.
20. Serbia - Bože pravde
This is sturdy, it's a reliable national anthem. If you played it for me without any information about which country it's from, I wouldn't know that it was Serbia, but that's fine. National anthems all sound the same anyway, that's the only thing I've learned from this hellish experience. Serbia has put in a very solid effort here. It's quick, it's clean, it's a national anthem. The lyrics "On our sepulchre of ages breaks the resurrection morn, from the slough of direst slavery, Serbia anew is born" damn that's beautiful. Good job, Serbia.
19. Panama - Himno Istmeño
It starts off with great promise, akin to the soundtrack played right before a Quidditch match during a Harry Potter movie. Then things drift into conformity and it becomes undoubtedly a national anthem. "At last we reached victory in the joyous field of the union", seems exactly like something Dumbledore would say as he presents the cup to Gryffindor, Harry looks worse for wear after being tackled to the ground several times during the quest for the golden snitch, but it was worth it. His dignity is intact.
18. Colombia - National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia
A solid effort from Colombia here, whose unofficial national anthem is, as we all know, literally anything sung by Shakira. The concept of "immortal joy" is a strange one, because we're all mortal, so joy being immortal makes no sense since there won't be anyone around to experience it. Anyway, I'm nitpicking. Overall, it's a decent national anthem. It hasn't got a patch on 'Hips Don't Lie', but it's probably a smidge more appropriate of a representation for an entire country.
17. Sweden - Du gamla, du fria
You're on a date, you've somehow been convinced to go to the opera because the tickets were going spare at work. You're trying your best to seem interested to trick your date into thinking that you're a sophisticated person. This particular song is being performed by a rotund man standing centre stage. He's making eye contact with you, or the person sat in front, it's hard to tell. You have no idea what is happening, you just can't wait to leave because your arse has fallen asleep. Thank you Sweden, for making my arse go to sleep.
16. Poland - Poland Is Not Yet Lost
It's a slightly pessimistic title for a national anthem, but it works. It's quite upbeat from the start, letting us know that "Poland has not perished yet", so that's good. Perhaps it would be more suitably placed at halftime as opposed to the start of their World Cup matches, just in case they're 3-1 down and need a bit of reassurance that all is not lost. It's an uplifting song for a very patriotic country. I'm going to listen to this every time I watch The Chase because it's inspiring and makes it feel like anything is possible, even beating The Dark Destroyer.
15. Brazil - Hino Nacional Brasileiro
You're watching Midsomer Murders and there's a ballroom dancing scene on. A bunch of rich people are frolicking around to this song, furiously spinning and putting their bodies in unnatural positions to impress each other. A masked man pulls an attractive lady aside. The music gets louder, loud enough to conceal a scream, at which point he stabs her multiple times in plain sight. Nobody notices the blood as she's unfortunately wearing a red dress. The masked assassin slips outside, never to be seen again. Thank you Brazil for this evocative song.
14. Saudi Arabia - National Anthem of Saudi Arabia
At the risk of being put in a maximum security prison for expressing a fleeting but controversial thought, if you remove the lyrics from this anthem, it actually sounds quite British. There's something about the trumpets, strings and drums that exude Britain. It's the kind of song they would use in a low budget movie to signify that the location is in Britain, set to images of Union Jack bunting and aerial shots of Big Ben. Trust me. It's in there. Also I have probably lost my mind.
13. Russia - State Anthem of the Russian Federation
I mean it was always going to be quite an extra anthem from Russia, we knew that going into it. But it's even more extra than we ever could've imagined. The music is epic, it's self-congratulatory, demands your attention and reeks of superiority. Russia, with a large amount of fearful respect, I need you to cool the jets. We get it, you're a very large and worryingly powerful nation. A more understated approach and you could've been onto a winner. A legal, unfixed winner. Still, it's a bit of a banger.
12. Uruguay - Orientales, La Patria O La Tumba
This is not a national anthem, this is the soundtrack for a cartoon about a tiny little frog who dreams of becoming a commercial airline pilot. He gets into all kinds of adorable mischief in his quest to pilot a flight, trying to sneak onto a plane in someone's hand luggage, slipping under an elderly man's top hat, even trying to jump from the runway into the cockpit window. Ralph is a scoundrel who's always in trouble. He never actually gets to fly a plane, but he tries out a simulator and that's good enough for him.
11. England - God Save The Queen
As a non Brit, I can do this one objectively and without any bias. It's a decent national anthem, but I have some questions. When Prince Charles is in charge, will it be changed to 'God Save The King'? Also, does it really represent England? Surely something like Hard-Fi's 'Living For The Weekend' would better sum up the nation's attributes, which include "Hey hey, I got some money, I just got paid, got some money and I can't wait for 6 o'Clock, I'm outta here". That's certainly the England I know. One where people can't wait to go to the pub after work. But no, God save the Queen, I guess.
10. Iceland - Lofsöngur
It feels a bit like a church hymn, but goddamn it if that isn't a beautiful anthem, I simply don't know what is. The pace is elegant, the music is gentle and the message is strong: Iceland is a nice place. You feel like placing a tender palm across your breast to respect the beauty of this anthem, without anyone forcing you to do so. If you're not picturing beautiful landscape, waterfalls, outdoor hot tubs and a crowded supermarket when you're listening to this song, you're doing it wrong.
9. Argentina - Himno Nacional Argentino
Damn, that is a gorgeous piece of audio. The instrumental bit at the start is delicate but authoritative, letting you know that some heavy words are about to drop. There's a menacing tone through the middle, "To the Argentine people, hail", which presumably is referring to the weather. Hail is a bit of a nightmare, but usually doesn't stick around for too long. Maybe that's a metaphor for Argentina's upcoming performance in the World Cup? I have no idea. Nice national anthem, though. Sounds a bit like circus music around the 3-minute mark.
8. Denmark - Der Er Et Yndigt Land
You're watching Home Alone and the scene where Kevin McAllister goes to the church is coming up. He's walking slowly in the snow, soundtracked by this reserved anthem which the choir are singing before they bash out that Christmas classic 'Carol of the Bells'. Kevin arrives at the church doors just as the Danish national anthem ends, but when he goes inside, he's actually stepping out onto a football pitch. He plays for Denmark now and he's competing in the World Cup. The end. Fin.
7. Belgium - La Brabançonne
The beginning sets the scene of a handsome man smoking a cigarette on a balcony, then he turns around and returns inside to make love to a beautiful woman. He is James Bond and he holds a martini the entire time he's riding her. It's impressive. The cigarette retains all of its ash during intercourse as well, as it hangs confidently from his mouth. When all parties are sufficiently catered for, James puts on a record which plays this exact song but slightly louder than it has been up until that point. Sorry for ruining your national anthem, Belgium.
6. Australia - Advance Australia Fair
Now that's a national anthem. Here we fucken go. Some of the grammatical decisions could be updated for more modern ways of phrasing, such as "Our home is girt by sea", just say 'surrounded', maybe? But boy does this one build. Particularly at the World Cup, the purpose of the national anthem is to get the team pumped and the fans behind their squad. In that regard, Australia has absolutely nailed it. Obviously the unofficial Australian national anthem is 'Down Under' by Men At Work, but until the World Cup organisation agrees to play that before all of Australia's matches, this anthem will do.
5. Nigeria - Arise, O Compatriots
Any national anthem that starts the same way as the song from 2001: A Space Odyssey gets a huge thumbs up from me and also anyone else that has functioning ears. It's a jazzy number, the drumrolls are particularly national anthem-y and that's a good thing. Sometimes tradition is comforting. The final line "One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity" creates a picture of a utopian land, one where you can maybe even return items without proof or purchase after you carelessly threw out the receipt you bloody idiot. Thank you Nigeria, that was lovely.
4. Morocco - Cherifian Anthem
Yes Morocco, get in. This sounds like the outro music that runs with the credits after a 70s cop movie starring a bunch of actors your Mum fancies. The gravelly male vocals really give it a sense of professionalism, while the lyrics feel as though they may have been lost slightly in translation. "Filling each heart, sung by each tongue, body and soul, your champion has risen and answered your call", sure? If I was playing football for Morocco, I'd feel suitably revved up to go out there and score some goals for my country after hearing this song. Unfortunately, my stereotypically high-pitched girl voice means I probably can't sing low enough to really give it my all, but I'd try.
3. France - La Marseillaise
Mad respect to the French here, they've got a banger of a national anthem on their side. You can't help but march on the spot when listening to La Marseillaise, fantasising about baguettes and various melted cheeses. This is France. The people are a bit too serious sometimes, but they know how to conform to national anthem parameters. They're going to be pumped beyond belief when the final blast of horns ring out. Russia isn't going to know what's hit it.
2. Croatia - Lijepa Naša Domovino
This is like the Champions League anthem part two and it's magic. Sure, the verses tend to drag on a bit, but then we're sucked right back in with the lively cymbal crashes dispersed throughout. I have no idea what they're saying, they could be singing about Cheestrings but it doesn't matter because it sounds good and convincing. The Croatian team will run onto the pitch like a bull through a China shop after this. They'll be unstoppable. Nobody is safe. Hide your kids, hide your wife.
1. Senegal - Le Lion Rouge
Senegal creeping up the inside here with the most fire national anthem of 1960 and maybe of all time. What a gorgeous piece of music. It belongs in a movie, during the pivotal scene where two estranged lovers finally reconnect and share a kiss so passionate, fireworks erupt and a real tear falls from Owen Wilson's left eye as he watches his sister and his best friend cement their undying love for one another. The lyrics "Shoulder to shoulder, my more-than-brothers" are beautiful. What could be more than brothers? Siamese twins? Who cares, what a stunning piece of music. Yes. Congratulations on your top spot, Senegal. I never want to listen to a national anthem again.