- Keith Hickey

In addition to my love of soccer, I'm something of a music geek, so it's always special for me when the two combine. There have been a surprising number of songs, either for or about football by an existing group or performer or pop songs recorded by footballers. Some are pretty good. Some are excruciatingly bad. All are memorable. Here's the 10 best and worst soccer pop songs.

The Worst:

Def Jef And DJ Eric Vaughn feat. The 1990 USA World Cup Soccer Team - Victory

Where to start? This video, featuring shirtless men in short shorts cavorting around on a beach and hugging, is singlehandedly responsible for the "soccer is gay" jokes from haters. And frankly, I can't argue. There's also the uninspired imitation of early nineties rap, the vague after-school message about teamwork beating Italians, and then F*CK THE WHAT? O.J. Simpson shows up, before he spent the rest of his life searching for the real killers.

Ant and Dec - On The Ball

Ant and Dec (Ant is the one who looks like an ant) are Britain's pre-emptive answer to Carson Daly and Ryan Seacrest. It involves the pair dressing up as England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson and his number two, Tord Grip. It's even worse than it sounds.

1988 Liverpool FA Cup Final Team - Anfield Rap

Among some people, this is a classic. They're Liverpool fans, though, so they don't matter. And their status as "people" is debatable. This affront to music is cringe-inducingly dated. As if the Scouse and Scottish accents needed to be more difficult to understand.

The Best

New Order feat. The 1990 England World Cup Team - World In Motion

The English show us how it should have been in 1990. Despite more rapping from John Barnes, who was on the terrible "Anfield Rap," New Order were a band with serious talent, and they produced this memorable gem, more likely to be remembered with a nostalgia-inspired fondness than an embarrassed wince.

The Business - England 5, Germany 1

The British Oi! band The Business had their fifteen seconds of fame with this minor hit, commemorating England's 2001 demolition of arch-rivals Germany in World Cup qualifying. Notable now for it's hopeful claims about Michael Owen and David Beckham, it's still a pretty good song.

Weezer - Represent

Rivers Cuomo heard that the U.S. soccer team didn't have an official song for the 2010 World Cup. Being the frontman of indie legends Weezer, he wrote an unofficial one, a syth-heavy bit of inspiration and released it just before the US took on England in their opening match. The US drew, and Weezer gave USMNT fans an anthem.

Deuce feat. Big Hawk & XO - Don't Tread

Often times, when a celebrity tries their hand at music, it ends up pretty terrible (see Eddie Murphy's "Party All The Time" if you don't believe me). But Clint Dempsey actually has chops, and shows them in his 2006 release sponsored by Nike.

Fat Les - Vindaloo

With their 4 minute tongue-in-cheek tribute to Englishness and nationalistic football chants, and the accompanying video (a parody of The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony) Fat Les (A band made up of Blur bassist Alex James, Pop Artist Damien Hirst, and comedian Keith Allen) actually provided one of the most enduring football songs of all time, and England's unofficial 1998 World Cup anthem.

K'naan - Wavin' Flag (Celebration Mix)

Once they took out the references to the plight of impoverished, starving Africans and added a bunch of drums, Coca-Cola used this song from Canadian-Somali rapper K'naan as the centerpiece of their 2010 World Cup advertising campaign. They had a hit, as it soon overshadowed the tournament's official song, by Shakira. It's an uplifting, life-filled bit of genius that gets stuck in your head for weeks after.

Skinner & Baddiel & The Lightning Seeds - Three Lions

Originally released for the 1996 European Championships, later re-issued with different lyrics for the 1998 World Cup and reaching number 1 in the charts both times, it's not a song about the national team or any of the players, it's about being a fan. The agonizing mix of eternal hope and constant despair that makes being a fan so great and so awful and so addicting. It's that faint hint of a rumor of the merest possibility that this, this year, this tournament, this team, this game, is ours. That it's finally our turn. And that's why I love it.
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