The importance of the opening ceremonies in the soccer world cups

How did music and soccer manage to become a perfect couple? The Qatar 2022 World Cup will be no exception to the rule and promises to give us a great opening ceremony.


Photo: YT-Shakira

LatinAmerican Post | Yolanda González Madrid

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Leer en español: La importancia de las ceremonias inaugurales en los mundiales de fútbol

November and December will be filled with a lot of football and that will be thanks to the Qatar 2022 World Cup. The sport will be the main actor during all that time, but that does not mean that a supporting actress should be underestimated who, with the passing of years, years improves its performance: music. And it is that since its first edition in 1930, the opening ceremonies have gained enormous importance in World Cup events.

Expectations are very high for this edition, as it is the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East and it is very likely that the organizers will spare no expense. Although FIFA has not yet officially published anything, a leak on social networks anticipated the possible artists who will be present at the opening ceremony for the first match between Qatar and Ecuador.

It should be noted that it would be the first time that so many musical stars would meet on the same football stage, so success has already been guaranteed long before. The Al-Bayt stadium, in the city of Jor, would be counting on the presence of Nora Fatehi, Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, the South Korean band BTS, the American group Black Eyed Peas, and the Colombians J Balvin and Shakira.

To this extensive list of artists, we should add Davido, Aisha, and Trinidad Cardona, the three performers of the first official song for Qatar 2022 "Hayya Hayya". The particularity of this world cup is that there is no official anthem as such, but rather a playlist. Here they add "Arhbo", by Ozuna and Gims; "The World is Yours to Take," by rapper Lil Baby; "Light the Sky", with Balqees, Nora Fatehi, Manal, and Rahma Riad; as well as "Ulayeh", interpreted by Sebastián Yatra and Nouamane Belaiachi.

Music, The Luxury Guest At The Soccer World Cups

The first piece of music that harmonized a soccer World Cup was in 1962, "El rock del Mundial" by Los Ramblers, in the edition hosted by Chile. Since then, all subsequent tournaments featured their anthems, which greatly represented the local culture. It is worth mentioning that this idea came from the 1960 Rome Olympic Games, which left the addition of music in an opening ceremony as a precedent.

But what was seen during the first game of the World Cups before Chile in 1962? Both in Uruguay in 1930 and Brazil in 1950 they did not go beyond a simple parade and small protocol acts, while in 1934, 1938, 1954, and 1958 editions nothing was done. Therefore, from the tournament played in Chilean territory, an uninterrupted tradition of opening ceremonies would begin, which improved over time.

However, the introduction of artists performing songs in the stadium for the first time happened at the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Live music was added to the already colorful traditional parades, and in that edition, Gianna Nannini and Edoardo Bennato were there to sing " Un'estate Italiana", so that minutes later the Giorgio Moroder Project trio performed "To be number one". The reception was so positive that since then they have maintained that trend, except Korea-Japan 2002.

The opening ceremony in the soccer world cups continues to gain greater relevance around the world, something that has also extended to other events such as the Copa América, Eurocopa, or even the Champions League finals in recent cases. The idea is to open the doors to the fans and thus show them part of the culture and color of the host country, with a special touch of traditional music.

Read also: The 5 must-see series before the Qatar 2022 World Cup

The Most Remembered Songs

For older fans, the official theme of Italia 90 was the first great anthem of the soccer World Cups. "Un'estate Italiana", which translates as "An Italian summer", was an Italian version of "To be number one", which in principle would be the official song. In the end, the song composed by producer Giorgio Moroder was more successful internationally than in the European country itself.

In turn, the first great Latino appearance in the World Cup ceremonies occurred in France 98, led by Puerto Rican Ricky Martin. "La Copa de la Vida" managed to mark a milestone both in Latin America and in Europe, to the point of having versions in several languages. It could be said, then, that thanks to this success, Latino artists would later become fundamental pieces for the following World Cups.

Shakira is precisely the greatest musical figure of recent times in these sporting events. In South Africa in 2010 he was in charge of the official song, "Waka Waka", while in Germany in 2006 and Brazil in 2014 he appeared at the closing ceremonies singing "Hip's Don't Lie" and "La la la", respectively. The Colombian is synonymous with success in the World Cups and her mere presence is capable of moving the masses. Will he surprise us again in Qatar in 2022?

Finally, the 2014 and 2018 editions also left us with excellent songs to remember. The World Cup held in Brazil brought together two elite Latino artists such as Jennifer López and Pitbull together with the Brazilian Claudia Leitte, who sounded strong with "We are one (Ole ola)". For his part, reggaeton player Nicky Jam shared the song "Live it up" with Will Smith and Era Istrefi for the World Cup in Russia.