After the national anthems are finished, the focus of the Euro 2012 final will be squarely on the field. But in the background of what's sure to be a fantastic soccer match, there's still plenty of music to be heard.
You might not be able to make it out it clearly over the voices of the commentators, but it’s there: Spanish and Italian fans singing their asses off. Here’s a taste of some of the things you might hear.
The full story of how the leadoff track from “Elephant” became a worldwide stadium anthem was covered expertly in this Deadspin story. Long story short: Italian soccer fans may not have originated the adaptation, but they are certainly the ones that made it popular. So popular, in fact, that much of the soccer world has co-opted it. At Euro 2012, the song plays over the stadium PA after every single goal. That has to make the Italians feel at home.
Expect to hear this chant particularly loudly, considering the key role striker Antonio Cassano played in Italy’s dominant 2-1 win over Germany in the semi-final. There’s also the small matter of Cassano having almost died from a stroke only eight months ago. The enigmatic striker has had his fair share of bad moments, too, but his unbridled honesty makes him something of a Charles Barkley-like figure for Italian fans. Beloved, even as he is decried.
In soccer, the performance of referees have come under extremely close scrutiny in recent years. Depending on your view, this could be because of declining quality of officials, the increasing speed of play, or the 20/20 hindsight that high-definition TVs, countless camera angles, and super slow-motion replays afford those viewing at home. There is little doubt, though, that Italians remain among the most virulent protestors of refereeing decisions that don’t go their way. This one-word chant sums up their feelings rather succinctly.
One of the the most popular Spanish supporters’ songs was first a popular song in its own right. Originally recorded by a Spanish pop star simply known as Samantha with the backing of a Belgian band, the song has spawned more than 400 covers in countries worldwide. Soccer fans know a good chorus when they hear one, though, so that’s all you’re likely to hear on Sunday’s broadcast.
Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta could probably go the rest of his life without ever having to pay for meal. The Barcelona man scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup Final, an achievement that elevated his status from one of the country’s finest players to legitimate national hero (and ice cream spokesman). As serious as he might look on the field, Iniesta’s goals have caused joyous parties all across Spain. Hey… it just so happens that the Spanish word for “party” rhymes with his name! Hmmmm…
It’s not often that those in the stands get anywhere near the level of attention that the players get on the field, but that has been the case for years with Manolo. Known affectionately in Spain as “Manolo el del Bombo” (Manolo, the one with the drum), Manolo has supported Spain loudly and proudly for 30 years. When his family left him, he kept going. When crippled by the flu at World Cup 2010, he only missed one game. I’d say that deserves a chant.
Italy and Spain will play for Europe's top international soccer prize on Sunday afternoon. In this four-part series, Soundcheck intern Alexander Abnos looks at the musical moments you'll be hearing before, during, and after the game.