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UEFA Euro Championship songs ranked: The good, the bad and the ugly
Ranked from the very best of the bunch to the very worst - here are all eight of the UEFA Euro Championships official tournament anthems
Last updated: 26th May 2021
With the first game of this year's rescheduled UEFA Euro Championships just over a couple of weeks away, we felt now was as good a time as any to begin celebrating and promoting the prestigious football event. But rather than focusing on the beautiful game itself, the garish retro team kits or the questionable haircuts players have sported in the past, we decided to put our own musically related spin on things...
Following a good few team talks and some loose strategising, we agreed it was about time that someone tackled the lesser-known, much more rare and not always acclaimed beast that is, the official Euro anthem.
Yes, that's right. Many previously held Euro championships have had their very own anthem or song. Who knew (We sure didn't before embarking on this strange journey). Maybe not as familiar as World Cup masterpieces the likes of Fat Les' 'Vindaloo', 'Three Lions' from comedy duo David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, or New Order's smash hit 'World in Motion', and yet the Euro soundtracks have all similarly been written, produced and performed by a handful of mainstream musical giants. Whether that's a good thing or not, we'll let you decide.
So, without further ado, here's our pick of eight of the tournaments official songs and anthems ranked from best to the worst...
Euro 1996 - England - 'We're in This Together' by Simply Red
When soulful pop singer Mick Hucknall wasn't making the most of his season ticket at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, he was busy writing songs with his band Simply Red for football tournaments, or so it would seem (a dad joke for the older readers). Our favourite, shaggy-haired ginger singer actually wrote this epic power-pop record in 1978 and it was later used for the 1996 edition of the Euro Championships, held in England.
Joined on the track by the Umoja Singers Chorale and renowned South African flugelhorn player, Hugh Masekela the tribal-esque track builds to a huge, hymn-like ending. Similarly, the England team were also delivered a huge ending to their Euro '96 campaign that year, as Gareth Southgate missed his penalty in the sem-finals allowing Germany to proceed and win the title.
The video in its own nostalgic way is just as impressive, if not more so than the record itself. Appearances from fresh-faced players such as Alan Shearer and brothers Phil and Gary Neville kicking balls about are accompanied by images of Hucknall in an oddly oversized beige suit, collared t-shirt and some rather splendid sunnies.
The best of a bad bunch we reckon. Nice one, Mick.
Euro 2000 - Netherlands/Belgium - 'Campione 2000' by E-Type
Try to imagine how you'd expect a typically European football tournament anthem to sound in the year 2000. Now, press play and try and tell us it's not exactly how you imagined it. You can't can you?
Loaded with tribal sounding drums, rising synths and a four-to-the-floor customary Dutch dance beat, the track sounds like something straight out of a club in Ibiza back in the heydey of trance. Ok, maybe not that good. It also features the bizarre-sounding vocals of Eurodance overlord, Martin Eriksson AKA E-Type, and some pretty memorable football chants, such as 'Campione, Campione, ole ole ole', which can still be heard in stadiums across the European continent today.
At the time an acclaimed Euro anthem classic, 'Campione 2000' still resonates with football fans today and will go down on our list as one of the best. By the sounds of it, we also reckon it could have been responsible for inspiring the likes of H.P. Baxxter to form hardcore Eurodance outfit, Scooter. Whether there's any truth to that, we'll never know...
Check out the super strange video above, featuring Eriksson's first-rate Viking barnet. Back of the net.
Euro 2016 - France - 'This One's for You' by David Guetta featuring Zara Larsson
The impassioned rallying vocals and lyrics of Swedish singer Zara Larsson met the adept song-crafting skills of French electronic mastermind, David Guetta in 2016's Euro anthem - 'This One's for You'. An infectious dance track, ebbing and flowing between melodic choruses and a quirky drop with a palpable summertime vibe, almost perfectly attuned to the time of year in which the tournament takes place.
We kinda like this one. Plenty of references to the fans, to the game, and it's got that jubilant, carnival sound to it which really gets us in the mood for a classic international football spectacle.
A couple of little known and pointless facts here for you...
It came to light before the beginning of the 2016 tournament that the song was originally written for American singer Ariana Grande after a demo appeared with the singers' vocals on it, but she was later replaced by Zara Larsson.
Useless fact number two - The lyrics in the second verse of the song were changed from 'love's a battlefield' to 'love's a playing field', to further the tracks cause and purpose as the official UEFA Euro 2016 Championship. Bending over backwards to make it work, all in the name of the game. That's what we like to see.
Euro 2012 - Poland and Ukraine - 'Endless Summer' by Oceana
The official anthem of Euro 2012, the 14th European championship hosted by nations Poland and Ukraine, was created by German singer Oceana. Many of the gamers amongst us reading this will undoubtedly be aware of 'Endless Summer' as it featured quite heavily on the UEFA Euro 2012 video game (cast your mind back to the tournament mode, waiting for the game to load... can you hear it now?).
This upbeat, carnivalesque track sounds almost as if it was written for the wrong nations if you ask us, and instead could have been a world cup anthem for the more tropical countries and football tournament hosts of the world, the likes of Brazil or Argentina. That doesn't mean to say it's a bad track, however, but at the same time, neither is it good.
The video is where all the action is at, once again (we should have named the feature videos ranked, not songs). People dancing on a beach, people showing off their football tekkers, few clips of Ibrahimovich being Imbrahimovich in his native Swedish colours, few more people dancing this time under the Eiffel Tower... there's a lot going on. Take a look for yourself but be prepared to set aside some time. At just under five minutes long, it's quite the commitment.
Euro 2004 - Portugal - 'Força' by Nelly Furtado
Taken from her critically acclaimed 2003 full-length release Folklore,Nelly Furtado's 'Forca' was chosen to be the official anthem of Euro 2004 in Portugal, largely due to her dual nationality - part Canadian and part Portuguese.
An inoffensive pop track that has a very familiar tribal drumbeat running through it (we're beginning to see a theme emerging here), Nelly's Forca was also recorded in Portuguese for the benefit of the home fans. Unfortunately, it didn't spur the home side on to victory in 2004, as 80-1 underdogs Greece took the title from the Portuguese side in the final of the tournament, scoring the only goal of the game in the 57th minute. Ouch.
In our opinion, it's one of the more beige sounding tracks on our 'good to bad' lineup. Unlike her breakout single, 2009's 'I'm Like a Bird' or smash hits 'Maneater' or 'Promiscouous', 'Forca' just doesn't cut the mustard. A hard one to place. Not a terrible record but not the best. Middle of the pile it is, miss Furtado.
Euro 1992 - Sweden - 'More Than a Game' by Peter Jöback & Towe Jaarnek
A real pearl but for all the wrong reasons, 'More Than a Game' hasn't aged very well...
Featuring all the post-production drum machine and synth sounds available at that time, including a rather suspect sounding flute/pan-pipe hybrid, the official '92 anthem was created by Swedish vocal duet Peter Jöback and Towe Jaarnek and included lyrics detailing what it's like to be a part of a football team. Very fitting.
It's one of those tracks that's more than likely been included on one of the first editions of a 'Now That's What I Call Music' compilation, and that's where it should remain. Never to be heard again. Gathering dust and forgotten about in the recesses of your attic or loft space.
Euro 2008 - Austria and Switzerland - 'Can You Hear Me' by Enrique Iglesias
The so-called 'King of Latin Pop', Spanish heartthrob Enrique Iglesias also had one of his many pop tracks featured as an official Euro Championships song back in 2008.
Now, unlike many of the other songs including on our list, 'Can You Hear Me' has a completely different feel to it. In fact, had we not done the research and found out it was indeed a Euro anthem, we'd have had no clue it was related to football or the tournament whatsoever. The only reference to the sport can be found in the music video, and even then it's not crystal clear.
Click play on the video above and keep a keen eye out for the silhouette of a football popping up every now and again, inside what appears to be a rather fancy looking nightclub. Something which regular nightclub attendants will tell you happens all the time.
It's Enrique but not at his 'I can be your hero' best. A track that tried too hard to sound like Usher's 'Yeah' and ended up sounding more like Hilary Duff's 'With Love'. It's not a football anthem, it's not even a pop anthem, and it doesn't get us excited for the upcoming tournament. One of the worst on our list. Sorry, Enrique.
Euro 2020 - Pan-European - 'We are the People' by Martin Garrix featuring Bono and the Edge
If you're a fan of Martin Garrix's work or the music of U2, chances are you might like... whatever this is. If not, proceed to listen at your own risk...
'We are the People' feels and sounds more suitable as a backing track to the knock out stages of the X Factor TV show, or something along those lines. Like an emotional tear-jerking moment when someone gets sent home. You know what we're talking about.
This is not a football anthem. Upon hearing it, does it make you think about the Euro championships? No, of course, it doesn't. Want to know what makes the track come off even worse? It was actually commissioned as a Euro official anthem! Meaning they knew exactly what the purpose of the song was, and yet this is all they could come up with! It's no 'Beautiful Day' is it, Bono? And Martin Garrix, call yourself a dance producer/DJ... you need to get some pointers from our boy E-Type. He'll show you how it's done.
Luckily, Euro 2020 was cancelled and so was this song.
Easily one of the worst Euro anthems, neigh, football-related tracks we've ever heard. Get in the bin.
So what have we actually learnt from this official Euro anthem ranking exercise? Well, there are no top-quality, classic earworm, sing-a-long Euro anthems out there, the likes of which can be heard every year the World Cup comes around. Don't get us wrong, there are a few just above-average numbers, but nothing worth writing home about.
It's an untapped market as far as we're concerned, and one that's waiting to be fulfilled. Could this year be the year someone releases a song worth singing? There's a rumour going around that rap duo Krept & Konan might be in the studio as we speak, producing such an anthem... Watch this space.
Regardless of whether or not our Lions have a decent anthem to bring the title home to this year (c'mon you know), we'll all no doubt be out in our hordes, faces poorly painted, watching them throw it down in our local boozers or at one of the huge screening events taking place across England next month.
If a live screening event sounds like a bit of you, you should head over to our Euro's Inspire Me Page and get yourself some tickets to an unforgettable live football experience.
For more football events and live screening events where you are, click or tap - here