The late Luciano Pavarotti did it at Italia 90 with Puccini’s Nessun Dorma, The Lightning Seeds triumphed at Euro 96 in England with Three Lions and The White Stripes are number one among fans at Euro 2008 with Seven Nation Army.
The song’s catchy guitar riff is everywhere: accompanying the teams from the tunnel before matches, bellowed by fans on the streets of the Swiss and Austrian host cities, on radio and television and in shops and supermarkets.
It has easily eclipsed the tournament’s official song, Can You Hear Me? by Spanish pop star Enrique Iglesias, and Shaggy’s official mascots’ song Feel the Rush. Fans have dreamed up their own lyrics, such as Italians’ “Cam-pioni-del-Mon-do” (world champions), or simply joined in unison to shout along with the thumping riff: der-de-de-de-de-der-der.
As Swiss tabloid Blick pointed out on Friday, it is not an especially challenging undertaking even with drink taken, which partly explains the song’s success.
Russell Warby, a London-based agent for the Detroit band, said on Friday that Seven Nation Army’s popularity among soccer fans started in Italy at club level before spreading to supporters of the national team.
“Football anthems are the people’s folk music,” Warby said. Seven Nation Army is from the band's 2003 album Elephant.