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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Game on for World Cup anthems
By Chris Leggett
BBC News entertainment reporter

New Order
New Order had hits like True Faith and Blue Monday

The selection of the official England World Cup song brings nearly as much debate as the manager's choices for the squad.

Every time the team qualifies for the finals, there is speculation about the identity of the act booked to record the tune which the Football Association hopes fans will take to their hearts.

Everyone from the Kaiser Chiefs to veteran Tony Christie was touted for this year's effort.

But the choice of rock favourites - and friends of Coldplay - Embrace will strike most pundits as being as solid but unadventurous as Sven Goran Eriksson's tactics.

Just as the players carry the weight of expectation of them emulating the 1966 team, so every artist given the task of recording the song has to live up to the success of one band - New Order.

Embrace lead singer Danny McNamara admits it weighs on his band's minds as they put the final touches to World At Your Feet.

Danny McNamara of Embrace
Yorkshire's Embrace had their first UK hit in 1997

"We think we've got a really good song and hopefully it will repeat the success of previous songs such as New Order's World In Motion," he said.

The renowned innovators constructed a dancefloor friendly anthem which won over the critics and music fans.

The song mixed a main lyric set apart from the football world - "Love's got the world in motion", went the chorus - with terrace chants of "Eng-er-land" by the players and excerpts of commentary from the 1966 World Cup final.

Even winger John Barnes, who had committed one of the worst pre-Vanilla Ice raps of all-time on Liverpool's 1988 Anfield Rap, came out looking respectable by rapping over the middle.

The Manchester band's single made number one and coincided with a resurgence in interest in football after the hooligan trouble of the 1980s.

The 1982 England World Cup squad
The 1982 song boasted vocals by Kevin Keegan and Glenn Hoddle

Before they took up the mantle, England's efforts had usually consisted of jaunty but naff tunes with lyrics full of vague promises of bringing success home.

The squad would gather in a recording studio to sing out of tune and then appear on Top of the Pops in their best knitwear with streamers and party hats to mime along.

The 1970 squad's Back Home is considered among the best of such efforts and made number one.

As England did not qualify for the next two tournaments, music fans were spared further efforts until 1982's This Time (We'll Get It Right), a number two hit.

In the interim, Scotland had got in on the act with 1974's number 20 hit Easy Easy and Rod Stewart's Ole Ola when they qualified in 1978, which made the top five.

The Scots returned in 1982 with We Have A Dream, one of the more unusual football songs.

The Scottish 1982 World Cup squad
Scotland's I Have a Dream made number five in 1982

Written and performed by BA Robertson, it featured Gregory's Girl star John Gordon Sinclair speaking his recollection of a dream about Scottish football success.

Such success remained a dream as the team were home after the opening stage.

We've Got the Whole World at our Feet, the 1986 England effort, simply took an old song and added new lyrics.

The team might have made the quarter finals but the song only made number 66.

After New Order's effort, the team failed to qualify under manager Graham Taylor in 1994.

When England hosted Euro 96, Three Lions, by the Lightning Seeds and comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, captured the public's imagination.

But in 1998, the FA opted to put together the biggest pop act in the world, the Spice Girls, with the Lightning Seeds and Echo and the Bunnymen.

Spice Girls
Posh Spice (centre) married England captain David Beckham

Rather than covering all bases, the resulting single (How Does It Feel To Be) On Top of the World did not really catch fire.

The single still made number nine but it was overshadowed by an updated version of Three Lions - number one for three weeks - and Vindaloo, the comedy effort by Fat Les.

Embrace will hope their effort hits the back of the net like Three Lions or World in Motion but they should beware of the short life of some hits.

A quick straw poll among colleagues in the office found no-one was able to recall the 2002 effort - We're on the Ball - which made number three for Ant and Dec.

Embrace picked for World Cup song
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