As a World Cup nut who has gone to five World Cup games so far, I showed up to the World Cup match in Brisbane for Australia vs. Nigeria expecting a full-throated Aussie crowd. What I got was a timid mass of 49k+ who sat on their hands. The best they could muster is the occasional, tired call-and-reponse: “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” “Oi, oi, oi!” Ugh, ugh, ugh.
This stale chant ginned up zero enthusiasm and, most importantly, was completely unmotivating for the players on the pitch. I attended Australia vs. Denmark in Sydney with higher expectations — a knockout match! with 79k+ fans!—and while there was more energy (someone at least thought to bring a DRUM), all we got in the way of community was synchronized clapping. Yikes.
If the Matildas are going to win it all, Australian crowds need to get their ever-loving shit together. So I present four Aussie songs (plus, a bonus chant) that’ll unite fans, inspire the Tillies, and bring a World Cup home.
1. “Waltzing Matilda” by Slim Dusty/Banjo Paterson
When to Sing It: When the team comes out of the tunnel
This is a no-brainer, and it’s a bit embarrassing that I, as an American, have to be the one to suggest it. When the Matildas come out pre-game (and after haltime), EVERYONE needs to sing “Waltzing Matilda” (based on the Banjo Paterson poem). Keep it simple so everyone can buy in:
“Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
You’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me.
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda
You’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me.”
2. “Horses” by Daryl Brathwaite
When to Sing It: When a Matilda is recovering from a hard tackle
The unofficial Australian national anthem, “Horses”once played at a wedding I went to for 25 straight minutes, and no one stopped dancing. It’s the perfect song to belt out when a Matildas player is on the ground, as it lets them know we’re right there with them.
“That’s the way it’s gonna be, little darlin’
We’ll be riding on the horses, yeah
Way up in the sky, little darlin’
And if you fall I’ll pick you up, pick you up”
3. “Down Under” by Men at Work
When to Sing It: When the Matildas score
When the Tillies score, the fans need to not only lose their collective minds (which they will) but they need to tell the opponent: THIS IS OUR TIME. “Down Under” delivers that message in the final line of the song’s chorus: “You better run, you better take cover.” WHICH IS PERFECT.
“I come from a land down under
Where women glow and men plunder
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover, yeah”
4. “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS
When to Sing It: Before a shootout and at the end of the match
A World Cup on home soil is an extraordinary thing, which makes it a perfect time to bond with the team, and one another. Singing INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart” presents the perfect bittersweetness of just how rare and wonderful this moment is, and how it can’t last forever. Belting this song out to end a game is great, but doing it while they set up for penalty kicks lets the team know that we’re with them, no matter what happens.
“I was standing
You were there
Two worlds collided
And they could never, ever tear us apart”
5. Yankees’ Roll Call
When to Sing It: During warm-ups
Okay, this isn’t an actual “song,” and it’s not Australian, BUT it is a pre-game MUST to fire up the Tillies during warm ups. Before New York Yankee baseball games, the crowd goes position by position chanting a player’s name until the player acknowledges them. It goes like this: “Der-ek Jet-er” clap-clap-clapclapclap. “Der-ek Jet-er” clap-clap-clapclapclap. And repeats until the player waves. Then it’s on to the next player. This needs to happen, from the goalie out (starters only, for time). It would let the team know WE ARE WITH YOU and get everyone in the stands into the game from the word go.
She waves, big cheer. Then…
Now get out there and get singing, Australia. And up the Tillies! #TillItsDone