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Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics Hardcover – September 2, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
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
I'm still currently reading the book, but I can say, this is a must have for football fans. Gives great insight into formations, tactics, and just overall information about the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Danny
Wilson is a true tactician historian. The book nails the progression of soccer over the last 150yrs.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not the easiest summer beach read, but still an engrossing narrative of the evolution of soccer tactics. Read morePublished 3 months ago by soratoyuki
Amazingly insightful book tracing the full history of formations over more than 100 years. A who's who of managers, teams, tournaments and players who featured in the ground... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Higginho
A tremendous learning tool from a coaching standpoint and a great history of the global game. Highly recommended and entertaining.Published 4 months ago by Whippany Reader
This is a thorough examination of the evolution of soccer tactics from the earliest days of English missionaries to the height of Barcelona's tiki taka. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Jamie