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Ranking the National Anthems of the World Cup Teams

Fifa World cup 2014 brazil 600x337 Ranking the National Anthems of the World Cup Teams

Throughout the World Cup viewers are able to witness the playing of every participant’s national anthem. This can be a moving experience for the participants. It also provides people around the globe the opportunity to observe national pride through the singing (and sometimes screaming) of the words. During the Chile-Brazil Round of 16 match, this was quite evident as both nation’s players sang well past the musical rendition offered through the public address system. This poses an interesting question: who has the “best” national anthem?

This article is going to grade each of the 32 participant’s national anthems on the basis of five categories to determine who really has the “best.” These categories will include: historical relevance, ease of memorization, national identity, musical catchiness and the emotional factor. Each category contains a 10-point scale yielding a possible 50 points. A brief breakdown of each of these categories follows using the Star Spangled Banner to give an example of how the category applies.

Historical Relevance

Historical relevance examines the significance the anthem has with respect to the nation and its history. While seemingly obvious, not every anthem actually pertains to anything specific within the nation’s history. Historical relevance grades on the basis of the words and the national history. The strength of the link to the national history will increase the score in this category. (Ex: Star Spangled Banner explained that Americans continued to fight during a War of 1812 battle against the British that seemed hopeless and yet the flag remained flying throughout the night amidst relentless explosions.)

East of Memorization

This category deals with the catchiness of the wording. Some national anthems (like England) do not require a lot of effort to memorize the whole anthem. The easier the anthem to memorize, the greater the score for this category. However, this does not mean that the anthem must be simple, just easy to memorize. Rhyme schemes also play a pivotal role in gaining points here – rhyme based on original language, not English. (Ex: Star Spangled Banner attempts to aid in memorization by the tune, but wording is not easy to memorize – ask the numerous musicians that failed to properly sing it before a sporting event.)

National Identity

Similar to historical relevance, national identity seeks to tease out the link between the words of the anthem and the people of that country. Some anthems portray a national spirit (pride, brave, free, monarchy, etc.) while others simply speak to the country itself (terrain characteristics). Greater link to the identity of the culture and people yields a greater score in this category. (Ex: Star Spangled Banner’s final two lines are “O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”)

 Musical Catchiness

This category is all about the tune itself. If you listen to the song with no words, how much enjoyment comes from the tune? While much of the rating in this category deals with musical preference, most national anthems utilize an orchestra. Greater scores in this category come from the ability to follow the tune and its likeability. (Ex: Star Spangled Banner uses trumpets to guide the music through each line and a clanging cymbal to signify moving on to another line.)

Emotional Factor

The final category, emotional factor, links the history, music, words and identity into a single factor. Having a strong emotional factor comes through when all of these elements drive the listener to feeling what it might be like to be a citizen of that nation. It shows in a heartfelt moment when players begin to weep because they believe in what they are singing and feel the weight of the nation on their back. This category also serves as the tiebreaker for equal totals. (Ex: Americans often close their eyes and place hands on hearts during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner because it tries to link the past sacrifices to the present lifestyle in a type of emotional memorial.)

Rank Country Anthem Title Historical Relevance Ease of Memorization National Identity Musical Catchiness Emotional Factor Total
1 Chile “Canción Nacional” – National Song 10 5 9 8 9 41
T2 Brazil “Hino Nacional Brsileiro” – Brazilian National Anthem 7 3 9 8 9 36
T2 United States “The Star Spangled Banner” 9 2 8 8 9 36
4 Iran “Sorude Melliye Jomhuriye Esiâmiye Irân” – National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Iran 3 10 8 8 7 36
5 Ivory Coast “L’Abidjanaise” – Song of Abidjan 4 10 7 8 6 35
6 Spain “Marcha Real” – Royal March 7 10 8 5 5 35
7 France “La Marseillaise” – No direct translation applies 10 2 8 6 8 34
8 Nigeria “Arise, O Compatriots” 5 9 8 6 6 34
9 Uruguay “Orientales, la Patria o la Tumba” – Orientals, the Fatherland or the Grave 10 1 6 8 8 33
T10 Mexico “Himno Nacional Mexicano” – Mexican National Anthem 9 1 8 8 7 33
T10 South Korea “Aegukga” – Patriotic Song 7 3 10 6 7 33
12 Australia “Advance Australia Fair” 2 8 10 7 6 33
13 Algeria “Qassaman” – We Pledge 10 1 3 8 10 32
14 Italy “Il Canto degli Italiani” – The Song of the Italians 5 4 7 10 6 32
15 Argentina “Himno Nacional Argentino” – National Anthem of Argentina 4 10 4 5 8 31
T16 Ghana “God Bless Our Homeland Ghana” 2 5 9 8 7 31
T16 Japan “Kimigayo” – His Majesty’s Reign 7 10 2 5 7 31
18 Portugal “A Portuguesa” – The Portuguese 7 5 8 4 6 30
19 England Officially None, but “God Save the Queen” is utilized 7 10 7 3 3 30
20 Colombia “¡Oh gloria inmarcesible!” – O Unfading Glory! 10 1 7 7 4 29
21 Greece “Ýmnos is tin Eleftherían” – Hymn to Liberty or Hymn to Freedom 7 10 3 6 3 29
22 Honduras “Himno Nacional de Honduras” – National Anthem of Honduras 1 8 4 7 8 28
23 Russia “Gosudarstvenny Gimn Rossiyskoy Federatsil” – State Anthem of the Russian Federation 2 7 2 7 9 27
24 Belgium “Brabançonne” – Brabantian 6 8 5 4 4 27
25 Croatia “Lijepa naša domovino” – Our Beautiful Homeland 2 10 4 5 5 26
26 Ecuador “¡Salve, Oh Patria!” – We Salute You, Our Homeland! 6 10 3 3 4 26
27 Germany “Deutschlandlied” – Song of Germany 2 9 2 5 7 25
28 Costa Rica “Himno Nacional de Costa Rica” – Costa Rican National Anthem 1 9 4 7 4 25
29 Switzerland “Schwizerpsalm”, “Cantique suisse”, “Salmo svizzero” or “Psalm svizzer” – Swiss Psalm 4 3 7 4 5 23
30 Netherlands “Wilhelmus van Nassouwe” – William of Nassau 4 1 4 5 8 22
31 Bosnia “Državna himna Bosne i Hercegovine” – National Anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 8 2 3 6 21
32 Cameroon “Chant de Ralliement” – The Rallying Song 1 1 4 7 7 20

Here are clips of the top 10 national anthems:

1. Chile

2. Brazil

3. USA

4. Iran

5. Ivory Coast

6. Spain

7. France

8. Nigeria

9. Uruguay

10. Mexico

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One Response to Ranking the National Anthems of the World Cup Teams

  1. ivancho says:

    Dear folks,

    You did not even consider historical facts given that, Netherlands’ national anthem is the oldest of all. Ivancho

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