Three Lions' roars up charts as England prepare for World Cup semi-final

England fans watching the World Cup match between Sweden and England in London, on July 7, 2018.
England fans watching the World Cup match between Sweden and England in London, on July 7, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Football anthem Three Lions is leading the race to top the Official Singles Chart this Friday (July 13) as Gareth Southgate's England prepare for their World Cup semi-final against Croatia.

Officialcharts.com said the song, performed by comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel and the Lightning Seeds, had shot up from 24 to number 1 at the halfway stage on Monday's chart update. It has accumulated 24,000 downloads and 2.6 million audio streams since Friday.

Three Lions (Football's Coming Home) was originally written for Euro 96 - the last time England qualified for the semi-finals of a major tournament - and hit the number one spot twice. A re-worked version with new new lyrics for the 1998 World Cup in France also spent three weeks at the summit. The song is one of the UK's best-selling singles of all time, with both versions combined having sold 1.6 million.

Pop star George Ezra, enjoying his second week at number one with Shotgun, has urged fans to get behind Three Lions. He said he was delighted with his own song's success. "But I think it's time we knock it off the number one spot with Three Lions," he said. "We go out and we download and we stream 'Three Lions', and you know why? Because it's coming home. Come on England!"

Gareth Southgate's England play Croatia in the World Cup semi-finals in Moscow on Wednesday.