The Ultimate World Cup Mixtape: A Song for Every Nation


Over the course of the next month, much of the world will practically shut down thanks to excitement over the FIFA World Cup. (Really: It’s more popular in other places than in the US, we promise.) Thirty-two nations across the globe have toiled to get to this point, and now face the ultimate soccer (er, football) challenge. You may have seen Shakira rocking the official World Cup anthem for 2010, but we feel it’s high time to musically recognize every nation on an individual basis. We dedicate a single song to each World Cup country, to hype them (and you) up for success on a global stage.

Algeria: For the first time since 1986, Algeria, ranked 30th in the world by the FIFA rankings, has made it into the World Cup. While that’s good news, the team has been placed in a draw with England and the US and will have a tough time advancing to the next round. With the odds stacked against them, we’re giving Algeria Twisted Sister’s rebellious anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” ytaudio(hxDmsJftkjw)

Argentina: Brazil may get most of the South American soccer headlines, but the Argentinians are no slouches, either. Ranked seventh in the world coming into the tournament, this is a very talented squad that has as good a chance as anyone to advance to the finals. Argentina already has a fantastic futbol anthem, so there really is no point in assigning them something new. Here’s “Vamos, Vamos Argentina”! ytaudio(oeXUFlxgR5Q)

Australia: The Aussies may not have pulled the “Pool of Death,” but they are in a really tough draw with Germany, Serbia, and Ghana all fielding strong sides. At least the Aussies should be well soundtracked with rock meant to destroy arenas! While we could have chosen from their slew of new, arena-ready artists (see: Wolfmother, Jet, etc.), we’re going classic this time around with the always rocking AC/DC. ytaudio(ZrCw8po7JKo)

Brazil: The world’s top-ranked side is the hands down favorite to win an unprecedented sixth World Cup. The entire team is loaded with household names: Robinho, Kaka, Luis Fabiano, Dani Alves, and the rest of this powerful team will be disappointed with anything less than a first place finish. Really, the only song that makes sense for this squad is “A Taça do Mundo é Nossa,” which translates to “The World Cup Is Ours”! ytaudio(hJAriHOh1Jg)

Cameroon: With Africa hosting this year’s World Cup, passions will run high for the countries native to the continent. South Africa will be the sentimental favorites (they are the host city, after all), but no African side is more talented than Cameroon. Ranked 19th by FIFA, Cameroon is probably the second best team in their group (the Netherlands looks like an absolute beast right now) and should at the very least advance to the second round. If you want an African nation to win the Cup, this is most definitely your best bet. We’re going with the funky Paul Simon jam “Proof” here, not because it’s a hype-worthy tune but because it’s probably the best-known Cameroonian musical contribution here in the Western world. ytaudio(VmzxGm8My2A)

Chile: It’s hard to consider any team in the top 20 worldwide to be underrated, but with so much competition in South America, it is a tough go for Chile to get any true attention from the soccer world. Perhaps moving far into this year’s tournament will help, and with only Spain presenting a true challenge in their group, it’s possible that the Chilean team can move deep into this year’s World Cup. Considering their controversial World Cup past, we think it’s only appropriate that they take up the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” as their World Cup anthem. ytaudio(H4PN7Xbexq4)

Côte d’Ivorie: With Didier Drogba on their side, Côte d’Ivorie will be a force to reckon with throughout the World Cup tournament. Despite his broken arm, he is one of the best players in the world and should help the African nation navigate this year’s “Group of Death” and advance to the next round. It’s not going to be easy going up against Brazil, Portugal, and North Korea, but with Drogba anything is possible! With Senegal failing to qualify, we’re gonna hand Akon’s anthem “Oh Africa” over to these guys. ytaudio(YI4sDx6SGwA)

Denmark: The 36th-ranked Denmark team is not the European power it once was, and with a draw against tough Netherlands and Cameroon teams it seems unlikely that the Danish will advance in this year’s tournament. Perhaps they can manage a win against Japan, but other than that it will be tough times for the “roligans” this year. For that we prescribe using a tune from native son Lars Ulrich’s Metallica, namely “Enter Sandman,” so they can dream about past and hopefully future glories. ytaudio(uY3LAFJbKyY)

England: Routinely rated as one of the top ten soccer nations in the world, the English side always seems to have huge expectations for the World Cup only to come up short. This year they have a fairly easy road to the elimination rounds, but we’ll see how ready Rooney and company are when they face USA on day two of the tournament. Here’s their official World Cup song, “Shout,” performed by Dizzee Rascal and James Corden. ytaudio(RLVt7o7yJ1s)

France: Those hoping for another Zidane headbutt are going to be disappointed to find out he’s not on this year’s squad. Instead, the team is led by striker Thierry Henry and midfielder Frank Ribery, another talented side that should go far in the tourney. For this year we’re thinking the team needs a little help pumping itself up, and so we turn to Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” for inspiration. ytaudio(syDHNeIywrE)

Germany: Always one of the strongest and most physical teams in the World Cup, Germany is again considered a front runner to take home the world’s top prize. This team is powerful, in a weaker group, and as close to a sure thing to advance as there is in the tournament. For them, we will mine the industrial sounds of Rammstein’s “Du Hast,” because we really do hate them and will be super envious if they take home the Cup again. ytaudio(wBkqYmaAE2Y)

Ghana: Without a bit of luck and some massive upsets, Ghana’s trip to the World Cup seems like it will be a quick one. Every team in their group (Germany, Australia, and Serbia) is ranked higher than they are. So enjoy your three matches and the knowledge that your young team will only get better for the 2014 World Cup. Here’s Ghana’s own VIP performing “I Think I Like Am,” a solid, uplifting, party song, because hey, might as well party while you have the chance. ytaudio(ERuvYf8RoEI)

Greece: On the brink of economic collapse, Greece is relying heavily on their 13th-ranked side for some uplifting moments in the coming weeks. Their team is talented, but they did get a tough draw going up against Argentina, Nigeria, and South Korea in the first round of the World Cup. Still, this may just be the highlight of the year for a country facing massive problems at home. ytaudio(WyazBCmXlPE)

Honduras: It has been 28 years since Honduras last participated in the World Cup, so the country will probably go bananas for their three opening round matches. Beyond that, they stand little chance of advancing past Spain and Chile, and even Switzerland has fielded a better squad then theirs. Make sure you don’t miss one of those first three matches if you’re rooting for the tiny Central American club. We’re gonna go with Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” for the b-a-n-a-n-a-s celebration that will be going down in Honduras the next few weeks and beyond if they find some way to advance. ytaudio(Kgjkth6BRRY)

Italy: The defending World Cup champions come into this year’s tournament with a squad that could realistically pull out a second straight win. Considering that this feat has only been accomplished twice in history (1958 and 1962 by Brazil; 1934 amd 1938 by the Italians themselves), it would make sense to bet another way if you are a gambler. But really, the Italians stand as good a chance as anyone in the field this year. Considering their World Cup pedigree and their history in the tournament, it makes sense that we give them license to rock Queen’s “We Are the Champions” as their theme song. ytaudio(hSTivVclQQ0)

Japan: At 45th, Japan is the highest ranking Asian squad in the tournament this year, which bodes poorly for the most populous continent in the world. Chances are no Asian team will advance past the first round, so this is really just about the experience for those countries, Japan included. With the outlook bleak, it makes all the sense in the world to give their anthem nod to noise rock pioneers Boredoms. Here’s “Super Go!” to inspire the team to push past the first round. ytaudio(FK4JAnszGvk)

Korea DPR: For just the second time ever, the North Koreans have qualified for the World Cup tournament. While they aren’t expected to get very far, it’s worth noting that this is the first time North and South Korea have ever participated in the tournament in the same year, though it would take a miracle for the two to actually wind up facing each other. Given Kim Jong-il’s penchant for explosives, here’s an explosive track from Public Enemy to pump up the North Koreans. ytaudio(aW7HV7ECVPk)

Korea Republic: Having become one of the most regular Asian participants in the World Cup, South Korea should be experienced enough to know what they are getting themselves into. Still, they face a tough draw in the first round and will have lots of problems advancing. That shouldn’t deter their passionate fans, who call themselves “Red Devils” after the team’s red jerseys. With that in mind, we’ve chosen Minor Threat’s “Seeing Red” as the team’s 2010 World Cup anthem. ytaudio(Sms-g1ESx0k)

Mexico: Let’s face facts. Americans do not have a passion for soccer like our neighbors to the south do. Which must make our higher ranking an insult of the highest order for the Mexican team. Do not sleep on this team, though. They are still skillful and talented, and a tough opening draw should hone their skills should they advance. It would seem wrong to pick anything other than the traditional “Yo Soy Mexicano” as their anthem, so here it is. ytaudio(cDl_pOUTOCc)

Netherlands: The Netherlands has long history of playing superb soccer, yet despite that reputation they have never won the World Cup, finishing second in 1974 and 1978. With a team ranked by FIFA as the fourth best in the world, it may be time they broke through and finally captured the Cup. Thanks to their placement in an Amstel Light commercial, it makes all the sense in the world for the Dutch to sing the chorus to The Fratellis’ “Chelsea Dagger” if they happen to hoist the Cup. ytaudio(GRnGpr5D8nY)

New Zealand: As the second lowest rated team, New Zealand’s “All Whites” come into the World Cup with terribly low expectations. Stuck with stronger teams from Italy, Paraguay, and Slovakia, they have almost no chance of advancing. That is a damn shame, because it means we won’t get to listen to The Clean’s infectious “Tally Ho” as much as we want to over the next month. ytaudio(bJQ980kvCxc)

Nigeria: After missing the 2006 World Cup, the Nigerians are looking to rebound with a strong showing in South Africa. They are the second highest rated African team in the tourney and stand a solid chance of advancing past the first round. They’ll need to top a talented Greek team or topple the immense Argentinian side to do so, but beating South Korea shouldn’t be too tough for them. If you know anything about Nigerian music, you undoubtedly know Fela Kuti, whose “Zombie” is our pick for them. ytaudio(iBgewcFh-cg)

Paraguay: If you don’t know anything about Paraguay, don’t feel bad; we didn’t either. After a bit of research, we learned that they’re ranked 31st in the world and stand little chance of advancing past Italy and Slovakia into the elimination rounds. Too bad. It would have been fun to see what our broadcasters could have taught us about the small South American nation. For them and their sure-to-be-short World Cup stay, we have chosen “Dejarse Llevar” by Flou who are apparently the Guaraní POD or something like that. ytaudio(10Mrketgy3s)

Portugal: Christiano Ronaldo is the biggest name on the most talented side Portugal has ever managed to field. With Ronaldo, the Portuguese have managed to climb the FIFA rankings all the way to #3 and should make a bid for the finals, though they will have to best #1 Brazil to do so. With hopes flying high, we turn to Buraka Som Sistema and their rhythmic “Yah” to help push them past the Brazilians. ytaudio(TWXXyaCQJM)

Serbia: Serbia may be making their World Cup debut this year, but just because they are new to the scene, don’t expect them to roll over. The 15th-ranked Serbs have a truly talented side, and it showed in the qualifying stages leading up to South Africa. Along with Germany, they should roll through the group stage, but getting passed the Germans will be an enormous task for any side, let alone one making its World Cup debut. We’re turning to 2007 Eurovision Song Contest winnner Marija Šerifović and her song “Party Tonight” to help the team out. ytaudio(a-g81c7L0ik)

Slovakia: Like Serbia, Slovakia will be joining the World Cup festivities for the very first time in 2010. Unlike Serbia, they aren’t expected to get very far, though a trip out of the first round is a possibility. Here’s the most controversial Slovak rap group Kontrafakt performing “Zme Uplne Napiču”. ytaudio(ctJz_zaXIc0)

Slovenia: For their second trip to the World Cup, Slovenia draws a tough group, with the United States and England representing powerful squads aiming for big things and an Algerian team that isn’t much worse than this Slovenian side. It may be a quick tournament for Slovenia, but surely they will represent a challenge for the superior US and English sides in the first round. With the long odds against them, we think Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is a perfect choice for the Slovenian squad. ytaudio(uDY2I5pni90)

South Africa: As the host nation, South Africa has a lot of expectations for their team. Unfortunately, the automatic bid will not do the South Africans any favors as they come into the World Cup as the lowest rated team in the field. Perhaps the soccer gods will look down upon the team and help them past Mexico, Uruguay, and France, but the odds are staunchly against it. K’Naan was good enough to record “Wavin’ Flag” as the official World Cup theme song, so we think it’s only appropriate that South Africa get it to soundtrack their homefield advantage. ytaudio(CxWX1yGcsHQ)

Spain: From February 2007 till June of 2009, the Spanish team was unbeatable. Then the United States pulled one of the biggest upsets ever, beating the number one team in the world in the Confederations Cup. That allowed Brazil to leap past Spain for the top spot and put a lot of doubts in the heads of Spain’s followers. Still, the team is ranked second in the world and should be able to contend throughout the tournament, barring another massive upset. Oh, and they also created probably the most famous soccer song. Enjoy “Olé, Olé, Olé”! ytaudio(5d-lH9IYP7Q)

Switzerland: Known more for their skiing than their football prowess, the 24th-ranked Swiss team figure to be an early casualty of a tough group. With Chile and Spain standing in their way, Switzerland probably won’t make it beyond the group stage, and considering their neutral history, they probably won’t riot about it. Considering their musical history, a polka or yodel may seem like a appropriate, but we’re going to let their native all-girl punk group Kleenex/LiliPUT soundtrack their World Cup trip. Here’s “Nice” by the Swiss four-piece. ytaudio(zY2nXUUvwg4)

Uruguay: Don’t let Uruguay’s tiny size and profile fool you: this is one tough football side. Ranked 16th in the world FIFA rankings, Uruguay stand a chance of advancing beyond a tough group that includes Mexico and France, as well as the host nation South Africa. If they can beat the hosts and hold their own against the soccer world powers, there’s a good chance these guys can be one of the surprises of the tournament. Here’s “Maldicion” from La Trampa, who are kind of like an Uruguayan Three Doors Down. ytaudio(I6ELwahV514)

United States of America: The US may be last alphabetically this year, but with Landon Donovan and Jozy Altidore on the team, they hope to compete for the World Cup this year. Part of that hopefulness stems from a surprise second-place finish at the Confederations Cup and a FIFA ranking of 14. Perhaps this is the year Americans take to soccer. It may seem an odd choice, but rather than turn to the countless American acts we’re going with (adopted New Yorker) David Bowie’s collaboration with Nine Inch Nails, “I’m Afraid of Americans.” Be afraid, world, be very afraid! ytaudio(slKNd22GGaQ)

Who do you think will take home the World Cup? What would you have your nation’s players listening to before the game?