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Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics Paperback – August 4, 2009
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Wilson masterfully weaves together the stories of some of the most famous teams, the formation they used, and how they played. He writes with the eye for detail of a historian and the writing skills of a novelist. Social and political tie-ins are noted as well, such as the Central European soccer culture of the 1920s and 30's that had strong Jewish roots, the influence of the Brazilian military government in 1970, and of Dutch liberalism in the late 1960s and 1970s and the great Ajax/Holland side.
The quality of his writing far exceeds the norm for sports journalism, whether he's writing about Hungary in the 1950's, the France of Zidane, or Mourinho's Chelsea.
If you've ever wondered about the subtle differences among different formations, such as 4-3-3 vs. 3-5-2 vs. 4-4-2 vs. 4-2-3-1, and the variations within those formations and why they evolved, or for example the playing style of Argentina in 1978 vs. 1986, this is the place to come.
The book dates to late 2008, and includes insights about the formations and playing style of recent and contemporary sides (Roma, Man U, Chelsea, AC Milan, African Nations Cup 2008).
A caveat: "Inverting the Pyramid" is not a good place to start your quest if you lack a real commitment to learning the history, culture, personalities, and tactics of the beautiful game, all that has brought us to the 21st century. A basic familiarity with current international club and country football is probably necessary; if you don't know who Pep Guardiola is, or whether Brazil or Italy are more defense-oriented, you'll need easy access to a search engine.
But if you're willing to stop now and then to google "Cruyff" or watch highlights from the 1950 World Cup final, this book is an invaluable resource. Focusing each chapter on a country and era in which a particular tactical form was developed and disseminated, Wilson weaves anecdotes, articles, position diagrams, and much more into a thoughtful exposition of how and why approaches came and went. I was particularly fascinated in the differences in strategy as modernity -- in terms of professional salaries, health and nutrition, Fordist skill-based preparations, and so on -- have been taken up and discarded over the years.
I got this book from a British friend as a gift, and it's transformed my understanding of the sport. It will change yours as well, if you give it a good chance.
There are some real surprises in Wilson's account.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book that will get you thinking about tactics on the large field. It helped open my eyes up to the get a better understanding of the modern game and how coaches wanting... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Ron Frechette
great if you're trying to understand soccer strategies it would make a great gift for football coaches.Published 3 months ago by Luis C Vargas
History, philosophy, tactics, FOOTBALL. Wilson's book will entertain and illuminate. Took me a long time to read because I would stop to further research after every chapter. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Scott Dangler
The subtitle of this book is "The History of Soccer Tactics," but it's so much more than that! Read morePublished 6 months ago by Wayne
So far so good. I haven't finished the whole book yet, but it is great so far.Published 7 months ago by jen
If you're into the sport, then this is a must. Maybe this isn't for casual fans, but it looks into the historical changes in the way that the beautiful game is played. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Righteous T
The mother of all football tactics literature. It's very well written, taking you in a journey from the very beginnings of the sport, up to 2008 and its most recent tactical... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Raul Velasquez