The 10 best rock and metal football songs to soundtrack the beautiful game (no, really!)

Sabaton, Ted Lasson and Shavo Odadjian
(Image credit: Ted Lasso (Apple TV +) Shavo Odadjian (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic - Gerry))

Save for the West Ham badge on Steve Harris's Fender Precision bass, rock and football have largely been awkward distant cousins. 

But come every international football tournament, there's often a group of disparate acts all vying to be the cool, unofficial anthem for their national team. However, they're mostly pop songs or comedians mucking around. 

About 20 professional footballers seem to actually listen to metal as the rest pipe slinky R'n'B into their ears through their Beats headphones en route to a fixture to get into the right headspace to run, kick a ball and drink pop on the touchline.

However, a handful of rock and metal bands have bucked the trend of bad soccer singles, so here we present to you the 10 best football songs that really deserve a place in the hearts and minds when the Women's World Cup arrives next month.

Metal Hammer line break

Nu jävlar! – Nu jävlar!

Nu Jävlar – translated as 'now, you bastards' – was an unofficial all-star anthem for the Swedish team and commissioned by Sweden Rock Magazine for the Euros 2020.  The track features an all-star cast, including members of Soilwork, Europe, King Diamond, Candlemass and more, and is a hefty dose of power metal which helped propel the squad to victory in the group stage. However, the band crashed out in the second round following a defeat to Ukraine. Sick as a papegoja, Brian.

Beekeeper – The Cup is Not Coming Home

San Diego trio Beekeeper released their Group of Death four-track EP as the USA entered the Qatar World Cup in 2022. There, the team faced Iran, England and Wales and perhaps thought a dose of old school thrash would keep the squad's spirits up.

The Cup is not Coming Home is an epic tribute to a one-sided rivalry and a typically brash American declaration of loud and proud confidence," say the band. "A draw against Wales was the perfect preparation to our inevitable dismantling of England’s hopes."

Although progressing from the group stage, the team's hopes were dashed by the Netherlands in the next round. That said, this is an absolute banger. 

Nanowar of Steel – Pasadena 1994

"This song is probably Nanowar Of Steel's first serious song," reads a statement from the band. "This song is a celebration of that tragic 17th of July 1994, a day that our nation still remembers with tears and sadness nowadays. This song is a tribute to the heroes of an epic battle, sang with the world’s master of singing about heroes of epic battles - Joakim Brodén of Sabaton. Join us and pay tribute to the fallen ones!"

The day in question was not a war, but Italy's World Cup final loss to Brazil in the USA. You can feel the decades-long tension in the most serious of riffing. 

Biffy Clyro – Now I'm Everyone

Though Now I'm Everyone was not written specifically for Scotland's qualification into the Euros 2020 – it appeared on the trio's magnificent 2007 full-length Puzzle – it was used as part of a celebratory BBC Scotland montage. As part of Group D, the team faced England, Croatia and the Czech Republic and failed to qualify for the next round. Try not to well up during this beautiful pairing of song and sporting optimism. 

Branden Steineckert – Believe RSL

Rancid drummer Branden Steineckert first fell in love with "soccer" after his bandmate Lars Frederiksen took him to a Salt Lake City match at Rice-Eccles Stadium in 2007. 

“You would think it was a cup game because of how we got into it, but it was just a regular game, and I was hooked,” he told “I’ve been to pretty much every single possible Real Salt Lake game since that point.” 

The drummer's ode to the team was adopted by Real Salt Lake and became the club's official anthem. 

Manic Street Preachers – Together Stronger (C’mon Wales)

Together Stronger (C’mon Wales) was written and recorded as the official anthem of the Welsh team for their debut appearance in the Euro 2016 tournament in France, with proceeds going towards the Princes Gate Trust and Tenovus Cancer Care. 

Fun fact: the song was originally a reworking of the classic Frankie Valli song Can't Take My Eyes Off You but publishing rights meant the band were sent back to the drawing board, should they use such a thing. 

The song clearly spurred the team on to success as they reached the semi-finals before being knocked out by Portugal. 

Frank Turner – I Still Believe

Fans of Apple TV's footie drama Ted Lasso and Frank Turner punched the air when a trailer for the recently-aired third season was posted in February 2023. 

While Turner's single I Still Believe was not penned with the beautiful game in mind, it soundtracks a brief video of the AFC Richmond team creating their own take on their manager the Kansas-born manager's inspirational 'BELIEVE' banners for their dressing room. 

Rock FC – Football United The World

Football United The World was the brainchild of SikTh guitarist Dan Weller and LostAlone frontman Steven Battelle and released to mark the 2014 World Cup. With the song's distinct Queen flavour, the all-star cast featuring members of Enter Shikari, Hundred Reasons, Skindred and more, sales from the single went to raise money for the Street Child World Cup charity. 

Lockdown HxC – Three Lions (Football's Coming Home)

Derby's comedy extreme metallers Raised By Owls released this rowdy take on cover of David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seed's Ian Broudie's classic 90s England football anthem, Three Lions (It's Coming Home). It's aggro hardcore with some sweet breakdowns, but could they do it on a rainy Tuesday night in Stoke?

DJ Flict x Cypress Hill x SHAVO – Reppin The City

In late 2022, System Of A Down bassist Shavo Odadjian teamed up with Cypress Hill rapper B-Real and DJ Flict on this rap-rock terrace anthem for MLS Western Conference hopefuls Los Angeles Football Club.  “I’ve loved soccer as a sport for years and found a bond with LAFC from my first match," says Shavo, possibly in between sips of Bovril and bites of a lukewarm pie. "[B-Real and I] are friends first and have great mutual respect for each other. Working together was a joy.”

Simon Young

Born in 1976 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Simon Young has been a music journalist for over twenty years. His fanzine, Hit A Guy With Glasses, enjoyed a one-issue run before he secured a job at Kerrang! in 1999. His writing has also appeared in Classic RockMetal HammerProg, and Planet Rock. His first book, So Much For The 30 Year Plan: Therapy? — The Authorised Biography is available via Jawbone Press.