The track became a national phenomenon shortly after its release in 1996, when England beat Scotland 2-0 at Wembley on 15 June. When the final whistle blue, a rendition of “Three Lions” erupted around the stadium.
Baddiel described the occasion in conversation with Kirsty Young on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs as “one of the most extraordinary moments of my life” and admitted to still feeling goosebumps whenever he thinks of it.
Recalling that summer on Josh Widdicombe and Chris Scull’s Quickly Kevin podcast in 2018, Skinner remembered joking before the match that he and Baddiel had offered to write an anthem for the Scots called “Three Games” and revealed Gazza’s superstitious attachment to the song, the playmaker refusing to get off the team bus at one point until “Three Lions” had been blasted out on the stereo.
Striker Jurgen Klinsmann later admitted “Three Lions” was so catchy that even Germany fans were singing it en-route to the Wembley semi-final.
Now, a news release from Spotify reveals that – 25 years since the song’s release – it’s as popular as ever, with streams surging ahead of Euro 2020.
Fans streamed the track more than 230,000 times alone in May, with last week experiencing a peak uplift of 94 per cent.
While the majority of streams are from UK-based fans, apparently it’s also enjoying some recent popularity in Germany, as football fans reflect on beating England on penalties in the ‘96 semi-final.
You can find all of The Independent’s Euro 2020 coverage here.