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Atomic Kitten Euros 2020 song
Via Instagram (@atomickittenofficial)

One goal wonder: 5 times football infiltrated the pop world

It’s an England semi-final baby! Here’s all the hits to sing to annoy your mates at the pub! It’s coming hooooome!

Football fans, get ready to be football crazy, chocolate mad – tonight (July 7), England is playing football. It’s our Euros 2020 semi-final baby!!!

As we speak, Gareth Southgate’s team is preparing to play Denmark in the most important game England has ever played. It’s the most important moment in Southgate’s life, too, isn’t it, fellas? He’s got to make up for missing the final penalty in the Euros 96 semi-final against Germany, doesn’t he, lads?

Whether you’re watching at home or at the pub, whether we go to penalties or crash out before we even get to extra time, whether Southgate is wearing a vest or a jacket, one thing is for certain: somebody will tell you that “it’s coming home”.

The refrain, chanted incessantly for a month every two years (guilty!), is from England’s most famous football song, “Three Lions” – a 1996 banger by Baddiel, Skinner, & Lightning Seeds. The track lives alongside New Order’s “World In Motion” and Fat Les’s “Vindaloo” as one of the greatest pieces of music ever created.

That is, until today, when Atomic Kitten turned a scene from England’s 2018 World Cup loss to Croatia into an official smash hit. That’s right, the 00s girl group has finally released “Southgate You’re The One (Football’s Coming Home Again)”.

In light of this gift, and ahead of England’s semi-final (and because we can’t guarantee they’ll play again in this tournament), here’s five times pop hits became football bangers. Bring it home, boys!


This remix of Atomic Kitten’s 2001 single “Whole Again” started life during the 2018 World Cup, as Southgate led his first tournament as England manager. Although snippets of it were heard in pub gardens across the UK, it was after England’s semi-final loss against Croatia that the whole world heard the emphatic lyrics, “Southgate you’re the one, you still turn me on, football’s coming home again”. Although a sad moment for England fans (I cried), it was also a celebratory moment, as Southgate became only the third manager to get the English team to a World Cup semi-final. After the game, he graciously clapped the crowd as they sang in unison about how much he turns them on. Vibe!


In 2016, Northern Ireland qualified for the Euros for the first (and, at the time of writing, the last) time in the country’s history. Unsurprisingly, this was a big moment for fans, who seized the opportunity by creating arguably the best football song in the last ten years (sorry, Atomic Kitten). Reworking Gala’s 1996 dancefloor classic “Freed From Desire”, Northern Irish fans inadvertently made football’s first club tune: “Will Grigg’s On Fire”. The track was later released by YouTuber Sean Kennedy and London-based deep house production duo Blonde, and even made it to number seven in the iTunes UK Top 100. It’s since been co-opted by England, Wales, Ireland, and France, substituting Will Grigg for the likes of Jamie Vardy or Antoine Griezmann. Here’s a taster of its lyrics: “Will Grigg is always scoring / The Northern Irish beast… He will score goals / He will score them all… Will Grigg’s on fire / Your defence is terrified.”


Ahead of the 2004 Euros, a band called 4-4-2 released a reworking of Dexys Midnight Runners’ 1982 wedding fave, “Come On Eileen”, aptly titled – you guessed it – “Come On England”. Despite charting at number two in the UK Singles Chart, the track didn’t quite coax a win out of England, who were knocked out during the round of 16 by Portugal.


Finally! Some mega celebs! Doing a football mash-up! It’s 2010 and England are headed to South Africa for the World Cup – an historic event where we all learned the word “vuvuzela”. Who else would England recruit for this huge moment than long-time collaborators, friends, and brothers Dizzee Rascal and James Corden! And, of course, what else would they sing than a mash-up of Tears For Fears’ 1984 hit “Shout” and Blackstreet’s 1996 Dr Dre-featuring smash “No Diggity”. In a dystopian sign of the times, the track – which went to number one in the UK Singles Chart – was put out by Simon Cowell’s label Syco Music, in association with… Talk Talk. However, it seems the connection was bad (not sorry), as the England team didn’t get the message to “pull your finger out” and “leave the wags alone”, and were kicked out by Germany during the round of 16.


In a bizarre turn of events, the final track on this list is a moody cover of Liverpool FC anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by none other than problematic daddy’s girl Lana Del Rey. First featured in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, the track became a team anthem when covered by Gerry & the Pacemakers in the 60s. Del Rey got her hands on it in November last year, when she released an acapella version of the song, which is set to feature in a forthcoming documentary about the Premier League football club. Stranger things have happened… like England getting to the final of a major tournament?