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Showing posts from July, 2010

World Cup special!

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In the run up to the World Cup I was fortunate to be able to borrow my brother's copy of Inverting the Pyramid: A History of Football Tactics, not that he could have stopped me given that he's currently in a different hemisphere to his books. Anyway it was originally a birthday present from me, so fair's fair.

The pyramid of the title refers to the shape of the team on the football pitch. In the early days of the sport, when passing was thought unmanly, teams would generally play with almost everybody in attack. Gradually this settled down into the 2-3-5 formation (2 in defence, 3 in midfield, 5 in attack), still hugely attacking by today's standards. Over the course of the century formations became more and more defensive, to the point where 5-3-2 was a common sight. The pyramid had been inverted.

Jonathan Wilson's book tracks this long-term trend along with more detailed looks at tactically advanced teams through the ages. The chapters are divided geographically,…