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‘A wonderful overview of tactical development in European football’ Matthew Syed, The Times
‘A fascinating assessment of football in 2019’ Observer
An insightful, comprehensive and always entertaining appreciation of how European football has developed over the last three decades by the author of the much heralded The Mixer.
Continental football has always cast a spell over the imagination. From the attacking flair of Real Madrid of the 50s to the defensive brilliance of the Italians in the 60s and onto the total football of the Dutch in the 70s, the European leagues have been where the game has most evolved and taken its biggest steps forward. And over the last three decades, since the rebranding of the Champions League in 1992, that pattern has continued unabated, with each major European footballing nation playing its part in how the game’s tactics have developed.
From the intelligent use of space displayed by the phenomenal Ajax team of the early 90s, to the dominance of the highly strategic Italian league in the late 90s and onto the technical wizardry of Barcelona’s tiki-taka, the European game continues to reinvent the tactical dimension of the game, creating blueprints which both club and national teams around the world strive to follow.
In Zonal Marking, Michael Cox brilliantly investigates and analyses the major leagues around Europe over specific time periods and demonstrates the impact each has made on how the game is now played. Highly entertaining and packed full of wonderful anecdotes, this is the first book of its kind to take an overview of modern European football, and lays bare just how much the international language of football can be shaped by a nation’s unique identity.
About the author
Michael Cox is the author of The Mixer. A football writer for the Guardian and ESPN, he is also the co-founder of the Zonal Marking website. He lives in south London and is a season-ticket holder at seventh-tier Kingstonian FC. Zonal Marking is his second book.