In South Africa four years ago, it was difficult to hear much above the drone of the vuvuzelas. Thankfully, that particular instrument won't be heard in the stadiums of Brazil. Instead, we’ll be able to enjoy the colorful songs and chants of the 32 nations taking part in this summer’s World Cup. Here are just a few of the chants you’re likely to hear this month when you tune in to catch a match.
1. INTERNATIONAL – OLE, OLE, OLE
Most of us know the familiar “Ole, Ole, Ole” chant sung by international soccer fans at matches around the world. The iconic refrain’s origins can be traced to the bullfighting ring, where it was common to hear the crowd “ole” an exceptional performance. An early version of the chant found its way into soccer stadiums through a Spanish league match in 1982 and was quickly adopted by soccer fans across Europe. Eventually the chant proliferated around the world, and is now sometimes even heard at American football matches.
2. ENGLAND – WHO ARE YA?
England fans are internationally renown for being clever, inventive and a bit cheeky when it comes to soccer chants. Unfortunately, most of those chants they come up with are either too profane, or too offensive to our German friends to be printed here. However, one of the more polite chants you’re likely to hear from Three Lions fans this summer is a forceful refrain of the question, “Who are ya?”
The chant is meant to belittle the opposition by asking a rhetorical question, implying their opponents are so insignificant as to be unknown. While "Who are ya?" can be directed at little-known opponents to further belittle them, more often, it’s aimed at high-profile foes, as England fans try to cut them down to size.
3. GERMANY – OH WIE IST DAS SCHON
Taken from an old German 1950s standard penned by songwriter, author and boxing promoter Walter Rothenberg, this chant translates roughly into “Oh, how beautiful this is.” Over the decades, it’s been widely adopted by German soccer fans who sing it to celebrate an exceptional play or a big win.
[Photos: Meet the USA's World Cup Team]
4. HOLLAND – HUP, HOLLAND, HUP!
This one literally translates as “Go, Holland, go!” It's the most commonly heard chant amongst the legions of orange-clad Dutch fans that famously follow the Netherlands national team.
5. URUGUAY – SOY CELESTE, SOY CELESTE. CELESTE SOY YO
This rather symmetrical chant invented by Uruguayan fans refers to the sky blue color of Uruguay’s flag and basically translates as “I am sky blue, sky blue I am.”
5. USA - WHEN THE YANKS GO MARCHING IN
Sung to the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In," this is one of the better chants you'll hear from USA supporters, who are overdue on turning the page from the generic refrain of "USA, USA" that's heard all too often at U.S. soccer matches.
6. CHILE – CHI! CHI! CHI! LE! LE! LE!
This Chilean call-and-response chant is pretty self-explanatory, essentially a phonetic breakdown of the South American nation’s name. However in August of 2010, it briefly became the most recognizable soccer chant in the world when Chilean miner Mario Sepulveda led a crowd in a chorus of the refrain immediately after he was rescued after having been trapped underground in a collapsed mine for 69 days.