Why Shakira Remains the Queen of World Cup Music

Twelve years after its release, Shakira‘s “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” has made its debut on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart, peaking at No. 46 on the tally dated Dec. 3. On the Billboard Global 200, it debuted at No. 96.

This is no coincidence.

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup is currently taking place in Qatar and, as ever, fútbol fans have pivoted toward songs and anthems that they’ll have on repeat throughout the international soccer event.

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The Colombian singer’s trilingual “Waka Waka,” featuring Freshlyground — which served as the official FIFA song in 2010 for the World Cup that took place in South Africa — captured fans globally thanks to its irresistible joyful and upbeat style powered by an Afro-fusion and soca-influenced beat. Plus, the track’s earworm chorus helps too: “Tsamina mina, eh, eh / Waka waka, eh, eh / Tsamina mina zangalewa / This time for Africa.” Back then, it peaked at No. 2 on Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs chart and No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100.

She performed “Waka Waka” — plus a medley that included “She Wolf” and “Hips Don’t Lie” — during the 2010 World Cup opening ceremony. This year, fans were hoping that, if anything, Shakira would release a song for the World Cup, and even spread rumors online that she was set to perform at the opening ceremony. It was also reported incorrectly by other outlets that she was supposed to perform.

In reality, Shakira was never scheduled to appear at the World Cup, but she didn’t need to perform or even release a new song in order to be part of the festivities. The resurfacing of “Waka Waka” makes her the ultimate queen of World Cup music, as it becomes the only official World Cup song or anthem from previous years to appear on the Billboard global charts.

Shakira’s World Cup debut was in 2006, when she performed “Hips Don’t Lie” during the World Cup’s closing ceremony in Germany. And after South Africa, Shakira returned to the soccer world in 2014 for the World Cup in Brazil, for which she released “La La La,” featuring Carlinhos Brown.

But “Waka Waka” is a song you can’t escape. And it’ll go down in history as one of the most memorable World Cup songs — along with Ricky Martin‘s 1998 “Cup of Life.” We can all probably agree with the YouTube user who commented on the “La La La” video: “If Shakira could make all the World Cup songs, the world would be a better place.”

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