One Direction favourites to record England's World Cup song... but could the teeny boppers better New Order, Embrace, Ant and Dec and these other classics?

By Simon Cass


England's players are looking forward to next summer's World Cup and the fans have started booking their trips - but who will provide the soundtrack as Roy's boys go for glory in Brazil?

One Direction are leading the race to record England's anthem for South America and bookies have the boy band as favourites.

But they could face stiff competition from the likes of Kasabian and Robbie Williams while New Order, who did the 1990 classic World In Motion, can't be ruled out.

One road to Brazil: One Direction are favourites to go to the studio for England's official World Cup song

One road to Brazil: One Direction are favourites to go to the studio for England's official World Cup song

Arctic Monkeys

Wager: Oasis have split up, but are 66/1 to get involved, while Sheffield indie rockers Arctic Monkeys are 20/1

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the full list of odds.


The England World Cup song - a proud tradition which dates back to a time when we actually had a chance of winning the thing. Since 'World Cup Willie' in 1966 there have been about as many highlights in the recording studio as there have been on the pitch for the national team.

But every now and again hopes of miracle are raised by a stirring alternative anthem which brings belief and passion to the hearts of a nation - before the tune in question ends up in the bargain bin as England crash out on penalties after struggling out of the group stages.

With the euphoria of making it to Brazil still fresh in the memory, MailOnline Sport takes a look at the ditties, some sung by tone-deaf footballers and others by bona-fide rock bands, penned to inspire our boys to glory.

Singing for England: New Order - with John Barnes - produced one of the most enduring football anthems

Singing for England: New Order - with John Barnes - produced one of the most enduring football anthems

Singing for England: New Order - with John Barnes - produced one of the most enduring football anthems

England 1966: World Cup Willie - Lonnie Donegan

Not a medical condition brought on by the inadequacies of England’s performance, after all we won it. Rather, an up tempo number written and performed by the undisputed king of skiffle Lonnie Donegan.

'Dressed in red, white and blue, he's World Cup Willie. We all love him too, World Cup Willie. He's tough as a lion and never will give up. That's why Willie is favourite for the Cup. Willie, Willie, he's everybody's favourite for the Cup.'

Stirring stuff which drove us on to beat the Germans. They don't write 'em like that any more. 

Mexico 1970: Back Home - The England Squad

Not wishing to cast aspersions but what do you expect when you employ a Scottish song writing duo to write England's World Cup song. Bill Martin and Phil Coulter were responsible for such classics as 'Puppet on a String' and 'Congratulations' before turning their talents to football.

Alan Ball, Bobby Moore and Jack Charlton, amongst others, strained their vocal chords against the brass section.

'Back Home', while reaching No 1, proved to be all too prophetic, however, as the reigning world champions were on the plane back from Mexico after losing in the quarter-finals to the Germans.

You might recognise the tune - Nineties TV show Fantasy Football League used it as their theme tune.

Spain 1982: This Time - The England Squad

Failure to qualify for the 1974 and 1978 World Cups did at least spare the nation's eardrums. But the England boys, replete with curly perms and other coiffures, were back with a bang with this classic song of hope.

Kevin Keegan and company declared: 'This time, more than any other time, this time. We're going to find a way, find a way to get away. This time, getting it all together.'

Suffice to say they didn’t as the dream ended at the second group stage phase with goalless draws against Germany and hosts Spain.

Mexico 1986: Whole World At Our Feet - The England Squad

The writing team responsible for the Brotherhood of Man iconic track ‘Save all Your Kisses For Me’ may have cracked Europe 10 years earlier, but that Midas touch failed to rub off on the world stage.

The tune, featuring the vocal talents of the likes of Gary Lineker and Bryan Robson, made it to 66 in the charts.

But any relation to England’s previous glories ended there, Argentina curtailing our journey at the quarterfinal stage thanks to ‘The Hand of God’ and ‘The Goal of the Century’ – Diego Maradona the architect of both.

Italy 1990: World in Motion - New Order feat. the England Squad

An object lesson in leaving it to the professionals, even if the ultra-cool Manchester ensemble did take their eye of the ball when it came to John Barnes and rapping. Aside from that, this electronic anthem was a song the nation could rightly be proud of.

The same went for England’s display in the tournament as Bobby Robson’s side defied all the odds in Italia. Sadly, although the song made it to the top of the charts, England were denied the chance to aim for top spot thanks to the heartbreak of a penalty shot-out defeat by the West Germans.

France 1998: How Does It Feel To Be On Top Of The World - England United

Sadly the nation was to have no idea about how it felt to be on top of the world. Musically, World in Motion was always going to be a tough act to follow and the same was true on the pitch in France as Glenn Hoddle's side crashed out on penalties to Argentina in the second round.

The song featured the combined talents of The Lightening Seeds, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Spice Girls – the latter’s involvement being an argument for using the dubious singing skills of the England players once more.

David Beckham's red card continued an unfortunate Spice Girl related connection as England were shown up as Wannabes.

In the record shops the nation opted for unofficial track Vindaloo by Fat Les, aka Keith Allen who also was involved in New Order's effort. 'Can I introduce you please to a lump of cheddar cheese'.

Baddiel, Skinner and the Lightning Seeds' hugely successful 'Three Lions' effort from Euro 1996 was also re-recorded two years later, adding references from the iconic tournament in the lyrics.

'Ince ready for war' for his bloodied performance in Italy to secure qualification, 'Pyscho screaming' after Stuart Pearce's penalty success against Spain, and 'Shearer certain to score' after his golden boot performances two years previous, were all included.

South Korea/Japan 2002: Ant and Dec

As England waited for news on Beckham’s the nation was soothed by the dulcet tones of Geordie Morecambe and wise impersonators, Ant and Dec. As a proud Newcastle United fan I can only apologise for this complete aberration.

Taking the England Supporters Band number as its inspiration - give me a vuvuzela any day of the week - Ant and Dec extoled the virtues of Emile Heskey as a reason for confidence. Sven Goran Eriksson's side made it to the quarter-finals before being seen-off by 10-man Brazil.

Presumably David Seaman cited the mental torment caused by this song as the reason for him being lobbed by Ronaldinho. 

Germany 2006: World At Your Feet - Embrace

Mark that down as a one for originality, see Mexico 1986. Apparently the FA approached Embrace’s Danny McNamara to see if he would be interested in ruining his career, sorry, writing the official World Cup song.

McNamara only went ahead after consulting his dad and getting the thumbs up. So much for fatherly advice. Not a bad tune but hardly one that lent itself to some terrace chanting. ‘With the world at your feet, there’s no one you can’t beat’, proclaimed Embrace.

Err, apart from Sweden in the group stages and Portugal in the quarter-finals as England’s penalty curse stuck again and Ronaldo scratched his name from Wayne Rooney’s Christmas card list.

World Cup 2010: Shout for England - Dizzee Rascal and James Corden

Actor and comedian James Corden, pally with several members of the England side, combined with king of Grime Dizzee Rascal for this number one hit ahead of the Three Lions' disastrous campaign in South Africa.

Holding an acid-house beat, the song was backed by pop mogul Simon Cowell, and is a re-worded cover of Tears for Fears' 'Shout'. Rascal spits about how Wayne Rooney 'must be fit' and why Aaron Lennon (who played two of the four games in the tournament) is needed down the wing.

It didn't rouse the nation to the heights of Vindaloo and co, and it certainly didn't rouse the team, who crashed out 4-1 to Germany in the second round after a dismal group stage.

Odds on who will sing the England song for Brazil 2014

10 One Direction, 12 Peter Kay, 14 Olly Murs, 16 James Corden, Ant and Dec, 20 Skinner and Baddiel, Robbie Williams, Coldplay, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, 25 The England squad, Gary Barlow, Lightning Seeds, Muse, Kaiser Chiefs, 33 Take That, James Arthur, New Order, Chemical Brothers, Spice Girls, Adele, Jessie J, Beady Eye, 40 Pet Shop Boys, Ellie Goulding, High Flying Birds, 50 Blur, James Blunt, Basement Jaxx, Scouting For Girls, Florence and the Machine, 66 Oasis, Dizzee Rascal, Fat Les, Sugababes, Lily Allen, 80 Embrace, John Bishop, 100 Radiohead, Tony Christie, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Farm, David Bowie 250 Gazza, 500 Adrian Chiles

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The Darkness!

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It'll make the puppeteers of SyCo a few bob but it'll hardly be a classic like New Order, Three Lions and Vindaloo!! Bore off teenies!

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No no no no no NO! I will honestly be massively disappointed if this Teen Pop crap does the world cup song for England. Get something good! English Rock or something. If 1D do the song, I will refuse to listen to it, you will just have a load of teenage girls buying the track who only care about that band and making death threats with eachother...

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"three lions on my shirt jules rimet still gleaming" brings a tear to my eye.

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Ooohhh please when can I buy it ??? Ahhh wait Kill me

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please don't let it be true

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No way, just re release three lions.

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Way to ruin an English tradition.I hope this isnt true.

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