There are books about soccer teams and soccer men, soccer nations, the culture of soccer, the business of soccer, and fans of the game. But rarest of all are really cracking books that explore the way the game is played. (And, no, we’re not talking about manuals that show you how to kick the ball.) Wilson, a respected journalist with a half-dozen books to his name, has produced a landmark work that explains what happens on the field and why. Beginning with the earliest days of soccer, he charts first the adoption of rules, then tactics, and the evolution of tactics, with profiles and mentions of the geniuses (Viktor Maslov) and dunderheads (Wing Commander Charles Reep) who stamped their marks on the game. National character plays a role, of course, with chapters devoted to the blood-and-thunder English (“The English Pragmatism”), the defensive-minded Italians (“Catenaccio”), and the share-and-share-alike Dutch (“Total Football”). While a remarkable work of sports scholarship, this isn’t for casual fans, and those who don’t know their 4-4-2 from their 4-2-3-1 will definitely require a less challenging book. --Keir Graff
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
This tome delivers a top-class, thorough, and, most importantly, engaging discussion of football tactics. Boring topic, great cover, revelatory book. Buy it. MAXIM an outstanding work, cerebral and fully engaging...the football book of the decade SUNDAY BUSINESS POST the perfect book for an serious follower of football who wants to be enlightened, educated and entertained GOOD BOOK GUIDE
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