The largest sporting event in the world is the World Cup. Professional sport and marketing are closely wedded and by the time of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia . arrives we will be wearing the same gear the soccer players are wearing during the competition. The best team in the World meet every four years to see who is the very best .
Scotland, is one of the oldest football nations in the world (England is the other), the former fiercely proud of playing in eight World Cup tournaments. The latter won it in 1966. Scotland has qualified on nine occasions and in 1950 took the unprecedented decision to not participate because they felt ill prepared and did not consider themselves worthy as British Champions. Despite the nation’s unenviable record the squad have never advanced beyond the first round of the finals competition. Historically they are considered talented and brave hearted with their play sometimes bordering on brilliant, but the efforts of the qualifying Scottish National Squads have always been fruitless.
To the Tartan Army failure to qualify to the World Cup competition is a national disgrace. Scotland’s failure yet again has left all ‘Jock Tamson’s bairns’ melancholic. The last time Scotland qualified for a World Cup final was in 1998 in France. The only positive note to all of this is we have not been exposed to yet another Scottish Football Squad song. Such events kicked off in 1966 when England won the World Cup (and we have never been allowed to forget it). The tournament had an official song called 'World Cup Willie'. It was sung not by an Englishman, but by a Scot called Lonnie Donegan. Jimmy ‘Greavsie” Greaves, himself a member of the England Squad, was less than complementary about the choice of singer at the time and considered him passé. The single did not sell particularly well and remains a curio.
At the next FIFA World Cup Mexico (1970) Scotland did not qualify. The defending champions England went to Mexico strong in squad and with a team song that would top the UK charts. “Back home” was recorded in a tiny recording studio with all the England team present. The song was written and produced by Bill Martin (Scotsman) and Phil Coulter (Irishman) – well it is Great Britain after all. ‘Back Home’ set the bench mark for all squad songs to follow. A lyric triumphantly proclaiming the trophy was pretty much in the bag and there was not much point in anyone else turning up set to a simple tune. England got knocked out in the quarter finals after a major scandal alleging misbehaviour in the camp.
By 1974, Scotland were back in the finals which were hosted in West Germany. To celebrate their return to the world stage the Scottish squad recorded a little ditty entitled “Easy Easy.” Although the single got into the UK Top Twenty, Scotland was eliminated in the first round (What’s new?). England did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup West Germany.
Argentina hosted the World Cup in 1978 and horror of horrors, England again failed to qualify. The Scottish manager, Ally McLeod mistakenly talked up his team strongly inferring it was more or less a foregone conclusion they would win the championship. The ever gullible, Tartan Army thought so too and in the resulting euphoria which proceeded the competition saw comedian, Andy Cameron (born in England) jump on the bandwagon. He recorded Ally’s Tartan Army which became a hit.
Determined to succeed in the charts (at least) the Scotland World Cup Squad engaged the help of another cockney Jock, Rod Steward. 'Ole, Ola' (Mulher Brasilieira), like Ally’s Tartan Army the single sold well and both charted in the UK Top Ten. Sadly Scotland fared less well on the field and was dismissed somewhat dramatically from the competition at the end of another scandal filled first week. Rod and Andy did likewise and were summarily dismissed from the pop charts.
Spain hosted the
In 1986 the World Cup was again held in Mexico. Scotland qualified this time but were knocked out in the first round of the competition. England meantime lost in the quarter finals. England’s official world cup song "We've Got the Whole World at Our Feet"/"When We Are Far from Home" and Scotland’s ‘Big trip to Mexico’ both faded quickly. The same song writers wrote both songs.
The Old Enemies were back at it in the Italian World Cup finals in 1990. Scotland World Cup Squad’s "Say It With Pride" flopped at the lower end of the Top 50 as the Tartan Army’s team failed to make it through to the second week of competition. World in motion by Englandneworder (England and New Order) topped the charts but the England team went out in the semi finals on penalties.
By the time the 1994 FIFA World Cup was hosted by the US (neither Scotland nor England qualified), so there was no song. Four years on the World Cup France 1998 saw Scotland qualify and this time with the help of Del Ametri and their dedicated single "Don't come home too soon." As usual the song did better than the team and the Scottish squad was back home to listen to it in the Top Twenty. The official song of the England National Football Team was "(How Does it Feel to Be) on Top of the World?" by "England United." This was a makeshift ‘supergroup’ consisting of Echo and the Bunnymen, Space, Spice Girls and the lead singer of Ocean Colour Scene, Simon Fowler. The song was written by Ian McCulloch. The song and the team did quite well but England lost again on penalties and failed to make it through to the quarter finals.
Scotland did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup South Korea/ Japan 2002 but England did and once again lost in the quarter finals. The official World Cup song did not involve the squad that task fell to the golden tonsils of Ant & Dec with We’on the ball.
By this time there was a plethora of other songs and music associated with the competition but most were unconnected to the English Football Association. In 2006 Germany again hosted the World Cup finals. No Scotland, but England was there with “World at Your Feet" by Embrace as the official England World Cup song. Did well too but England were knocked out on penalties in the quarter finals again.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup was held in South Africa (and Scotland was not be represented). Despite England qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, the Football Association announced there would be no official song. However James Cordon and Dizzie Rascal cover of Shout (previously a hit for Tears For Fears) was adopted. The FA refused to be associated due to links to hooliganism in the lyrics. In any event England were knocked out in Round 16 .
England's 2014 Official World Cup Song is Greatest Day by Gary Lineker and Gary Barlow. It is a cover of Take That's "Greatest Day"
The Official World Cup Song for the 2014 Competition is We Are One (Ole Ola)
Worth a listen
World Cup Willie (1966)
English World Cup Squad
Back Home (1970)
This time (We’ll get it right) (1982)
We've Got the Whole World at Our Feet" / "When We Are Far from Home (1986)
Englandneworder (English World Cup Squad with New Order)
World in Motion (1990)
Scottish World Cup Squad
Easy Easy (1974)
Ole, Ola' (Mulher Brasilieira) [We're gonna bring that World Cup back from over there] with Rod Stewart (1978)
We have a dream (1982)
Big trip to Mexico (1986)
Say It With Pride (1990)
Ally’s Tartan Army (1978)
Don't come home too soon (1994)
(How Does it Feel to Be) on Top of the World? (1994)
Ant & Dec
We’on the ball (2002)
World at Your Feet (2006)
La Copa de la Vida'(1998)