New England World Cup anthem

England fans have been singing that “football is coming home” for almost 30 years and now a new version of the song that gave them that famous refrain, “Three Lions” ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, has been released.

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The song has been a terrace anthem since it was first released by comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner and the band The Lightning Seeds in 1996 as the official song of the host country of that year’s European Championship (which had the slogan “Football is coming home.”)

Aside from the jaunty tune, part of the song’s enduring charm is the fact that “thirty years hurt” was lamented in the original lyrics – a reference to when England’s men’s team won their only major international honor at the 1966 World Cup. The cup — still slowly evolving. They came close to resetting that clock in recent years, but unfortunately the number now stands at 56 years injured.

England were unable to make the most of their football at home at Euro 96, losing on penalties in the semi-finals to eventual winners Germany after Gareth Southgate — now England manager — missed a crucial spot-kick in the shootout.

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However, that didn’t stop the nation from taking the song to heart, and it topped the UK Singles Chart on two separate occasions that summer.

A new version was then re-released two years later to coincide with the 1998 World Cup, complete with a new set of lyrics referring to England’s deep run at Euro 96 and how their ‘heroes in grey’ had renewed hope for ever expected people.

It wasn’t to be – England went out to Argentina in the last 16 following David Beckham’s red card and another penalty shootout – but that didn’t stop the Three Lions following the exploits of the national team for the next two decades.

The song has been given new life since 2018 when Southgate’s England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and then finished as runners-up at Euro 2020 to Italy — after losing the final at Wembley (yes, you guessed it) on penalties and England fans they will constantly tell each other that they are “coming home” in the lead up to and during each tournament, much to the confusion and derision of the rest of the world.

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On the back of that new wave of popularity, Baddiel and Skinner are back with a brand new version of The Three Lions ahead of the 2022 World Cup – an updated version of the classic with a new title that serves as a nod to the unusual timing of this year’s tournament.

With the Lightning Seeds once again on board to provide the music, “Three Lions (Coming Home for Christmas)” was released this week with another set of revised lyrics.

Amidst the plethora of Christmas games (‘Three lions on a sledge’, ‘Christmas tree formation’) and snarky jokes about FIFA (‘When they decided on Qatar, they should have checked the VAR’) there are also references to England’s women’s team succeeding in the summer to successfully bring football “home” to Euro 2022. In fact, the video even opens with a clip of the Lions celebrating their triumph by serenading coach Sarina Wigman with their own rendition of the song.

Of course, the iconic chorus of ‘It’s Coming Home’ was a bit redundant after the Lions finally did it with victory over Germany at Wembley, but Baddiel and Skinner revealed they felt the need to send their anthem once again to help the men. side did the same in Qatar.

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“We couldn’t resist the fact that the World Cup was at Christmas, and people have said in the past that football songs are a bit awkward, and obviously Christmas songs are a bit awkward,” Skinner told BBC’s The One Show. “

“In math, two negatives make a positive, so we think there’s so much trickery in this that it’s going to be a classic.”

Baddiel added: “The Lions have brought it home, football has come home and some would say that’s the end of the song, stop singing it.

“But we decided to give it another go on the basis that the harlots didn’t bring it home.”

Whatever you think of the new version (even Baddiel and Skinner themselves sing “a football Christmas carol, not at all humiliating…”), it’s likely you’ll still hear England fans chanting “go home” in Qatar and elsewhere tournaments for many years to come.


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