What's the matter, you? Hey! You show-a me no respect.

Ranking every national anthem at Euro 2024 from worst to best: England 21st…

National anthems are odd things. An entire nation going, ‘this is our song’ like an annoying couple at a wedding. They are, however, a massive part of international football tournaments.

Some players sing, song don’t. Some people stand in their respective living rooms with their hands over their hearts, some don’t. Some camerapeople manage to pan up and down between the faces of relatively short and tall players, some are caught out by Xherdan Shaqiri standing next to a 6’5″ centre-half.

We’ve listened to the national anthem of every nation taking part in Euro 2024 several times, and have ranked each and every one of them from worst to best.

24. Switzerland

Switzerland’s national anthem starts off like a suicidal happy birthday and it doesn’t get much better from there. Like a sad alpine clown with no one but the cows to laugh at his jokes, and the cows aren’t laughing.

23. Slovenia

It’s just a bit all over the place, this one. The tune is constantly changing and there’s a really random-feeling crescendo towards the end that comes out of absolutely nowhere. It feels forced. Sorry, Slovenia—your national anthem does not tickle our pickle.

22. Czechia


21. England

First of all, God Save The King dares to gaslight you with that big dramatic drumroll with which it opens, only to proceed into what is essentially a funeral dirge with a slug-slow waltz rhythm.

Secondly, it’s just the same eight bars of music repeated over and over again. Stick a f*cking drum break or, at the very least, some sort of contrasting middle-eight in there and maybe you’ll have our attention.

Thirdly, the lyrics divide the country rather than unite it, which seems counterproductive no matter what your political or ideological leanings. Either have the lyrics refer more generically to the country itself or don’t have lyrics at all.

Fourthly, Scotland and Wales use their own pre-match anthems—understandably—so England should probably do the same and adopt something that refers exclusively to England.

What we’re saying is: Play Three Lions before England games and the world will be a better place.

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20. Serbia

It’s fine. We’ve worn ourself out ranting about the English anthem. Next, please.

19. Croatia

Croatia’s anthem opens with a big singing and music right from the very start, which must make it an absolute nightmare to find the right key to sing in, unless everyone in Croatia has perfect pitch or a little tuning fork they keep on a string around their respective necks.

18. Albania

It’s like someone asked ChatGPT to create a national anthem. The recorded version has so many cymbal crashes it’s almost enough to induce a panic attack.

This clip from a World Cup 2022 qualifier with Poland seems to be sans cymbals. Wonder if that was intentional.

17. Ukraine

We quite like that the verses in Ukraine’s anthem are a bit unsettling and sad, and then that big chorus-y part hits like a gut punch. Fair play.

16. Portugal

Looking at our notes, we’ve just written the word ‘whatever’. One thing to note, though—the Russian stadium announcer in this clip has the most insanely deep voice ever.

15. Belgium

Belgium’s anthem has Wallace & Gromit energy, which we like—something a bit different. Spending an entire morning listening to national anthems will get you very excited for anything even mildly out of the ordinary.

14. Turkey

This anthem is dramatic, which makes sense if you’ve ever dipped into the world of the Turkish Super Lig. Exactly the sort of anthem you’d expect of a footballing nation that has seen club presidents kidnapping and assaulting match officials, Graeme Souness planting flags, and fans attacking refs with wooden spoons.

13. Georgia

The national anthem of Georgia has a promising opening. It bursts into life like those little clips in old films that identified the production company—20th Century Fox or Paramount or Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or whatever.

It then goes slightly Star-Spangled Banner-y and has some nice 1940s-esque counter melodies underneath the tune. It needs speeding up, though. It desperately needs speeding up.

12. Denmark

Slightly more interesting than some of the previous entries. Couple of minor key (generally sad-sounding) phrases chucked in there for interest. Bit more of a journey. Makes the major key resolutions feel all the more earned.

11. Netherlands

The Netherlands’ national anthem has slight Christmas carol energy (despite the lyrics all being about the King of Spain, oddly), which we’re not against.

Not ideal for a summer tournament, but fun nonetheless. Reminds us of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

On the first day of the Euros, my Koeman gave to me
Frimpong and Denzel Dumfries

A carol for the Oranje’s right-hand side, there. You can have that one for free, Dutch fans.

10. Slovakia

The Slovak anthem hints at a deep sadness. A national identity of misery. We’re sure that’s not true in the slightest, but that’s what we’re getting from this particular anthem.

Things the Slovakian national anthem makes us think of: Toil, tragedy, grainy, black-and-white footage of people crying.

Things the Slovakian national anthem does not make us think of: Joy, sunshine, colour.

Regardless, you can’t say it’s not evocative.

9. Romania

Jesus H. Christ, Romania, is everything okay? Why you sound so angry?

Apparently 75% of the national crop goes toward making a traditional plum brandy called Tuica, which has a 70% alcohol content. Alcohol is famously a depressant, isn’t it? We might have figured it out.

8. Spain

A jaunty little number, this one. Maybe the happiest national anthem at this tournament. Actually, it’s got big Indiana Jones vibes.

We’d like to see Alvaro Morata taking the European Championship trophy off its plinth and replacing it with a bag of sand before legging it out of the stadium, pursued by tumbling boulders and spears emerging from the walls.

Will never happen.

7. Poland

Quite an upbeat and optimistic-sounding anthem. Weird, since the lyrics are about killing their enemies with sabres and following the example of Napoleon Bonaparte. Still, good tune.

6. Austria

A very national anthemy national anthem that’s all about pride in their country’s nice rivers and mountains, as opposed to smashing the sh*t out of all neighbouring countries. Good job, Austria.

5. Germany

Germany, quite wisely, made some chops and changes to their national anthem when East and West Germany were unified in 1990. The newly formed Germany decided to adopt the West German anthem, but only the third stanza, dropping the Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles’ parts due to their association with Naziism.

It must be pointed out that—for clarity—both the music and lyrics were composed well before the rise of the Nazis, obviously.

In fact, Joseph Haydn wrote the music to celebrate the birthday of Francis II, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, whose great-grandson was Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination prompted World War I.

That led to the Treaty of Versailles, which fuelled support for Adolf Hitler’s cause in Germany and eventually led to World War II.

In summary, everything in the world is connected but, in 2024, the German anthem is just a nice tune to sing before the football. Okay, class, that’s the bell—don’t forget to hand in your homework on the way out.

4. Italy

It’s got a bit of mischief about it, does the Italian anthem. Sounds like the sort of piece you might hear in a Venetian opera house. An anthem that really suits its country. Still, why they haven’t just adopted Nessun Dorma yet, we will never know.

3. Hungary

Hungary’s national anthem has transported us back to a miner’s gala with an extremely old-timey colliery band. A tear in the eye, actually. A tear in both eyes. Quite beautiful. Makes us miss our grandad.

The actual lyrics to this anthem are f*cking harrowing. Here’s the penultimate verse translated into English:

Castle stood, now a heap of stones
Happiness and joy fluttered,
Groans of death, weeping
Now sound in their place.
And Ah! Freedom does not bloom
From the blood of the dead,
Torturous slavery’s tears fall
From the burning eyes of the orphans!

Hell’s teeth, Hungary!

2. Scotland

Flower of Scotland played on the bagpipes. Perfection. Even that f*cking inverted testicle sack who’s running for election in Clacton couldn’t possibly think this is an inferior tune to the UK national anthem.

1. France

La Marseillaise is obviously the best one. Dunno if you’ve ever been in a stadium or a pub full of French people when it gets to the Marchons! Oui, Marchons! part but it’s electric.