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Zonal Marking: The Making of Modern European Football

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  324 ratings  ·  28 reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 446 pages
Published May 30th 2019 by HarperCollins
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Stanislav Stanchev
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Football fans of all ages
Shelves: sport
This is one of the best football books I've ever read. Michael is of course renowned on the internet for looking at individual football games and analyzing them well beyond the typical questions of whether a goal was "stunning" or a red card was "unfair". He looks at patterns - running patterns, passing patterns, tactical patterns. With Zonal Marking he is able to take his brilliantly analytical approach and apply it on a macro scale, looking at the development and evolution of modern European ...more
Lee Madden
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding read. Part nostalgic trip through the last 25 years of football, part tactical analysis of both individual teams and players as well as broader national trends. This book is well written, fascinating and has some great wit and if you’re a football fan of any generation , it’s worth a read. If you were born in the 80’s however, it is likely you grew up along side many of the teams and players, which for me, made it all the more interesting and meaningful.

If I had one criticism, it
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Michael does a fantastic job of covering what’s happened in football since the 1992-93 champions league inaugural season whilst also looking back at history. The book is a must read for any football fan interested in how we got to where we are today.
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Cheesy. Michael Cox was impressive in the 5-star book The Mixer. However, I found Zonal Marking is kind of repetitive to The Mixer. If you have read The Mixer, no need to read this book. It feels like a consolation goal to The Mixer.
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Zonal Marking : The Making of Modern European Football (2019) by Michael Cox is a very enjoyable tour of the last 30 years of European Football. Cox's excellent Zonal Marking site and his football analysis is greatly enjoyed by many people who are fascinated by football. Cox has followed up his previous excellent book 'The Mixer' with another really fine read for football nerds.

In Zonal Marking Cox looks at how European tactics have changed over the past 30 years by focusing on one European
Taufiq Ul Alam
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it

I loved this book so much that I finished it within a day's time. It rekindled my old obsession with footballing tactics and made me feel nostalgic at times. Michael does an excellent job, honestly. I never, for a moment, felt bored. There was a surge of energy and excitement within me before and after every chapter.

The structure of the book is praiseworthy, and it is clear to me why it's essential to incorporate English football, home to the most competitive league in Europe, in Michael's
Николай Алексиев
There's truly an unsatisfied demand for books like this, covering football in tactical, and more broadly, intellectual terms.

If you've read The Mixer, you'll be in familiar territory. Many of the tactical developments in this book are hinted there, as they undoubtedly influenced English football.

Otherwise, it's a very original way of presenting the development of football tactics in Europe during the last 25 or so years, with focusing on the contributions of the seven major football countries
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
This is a fantastic book if you live and breathe football/soccer. Cox presents an insanely researched and detailed history of modern European soccer as dominated by the “eras” of seven prominent countries: the Netherlands and Total Football, Italy and catenaccio, France and its star player Zidane, Portgual and the greats (coach Jose Mourinho and goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo), Germany and gegenpressing, Spanish tiki-taka, and England - whose dominance was a “general summary of the modern European ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, football
Super interesting history of European football strategy from the 1990s through to now. The author argues that during this time, one country (through both its national team and leagues) was the dominant force in driving European strategy; from the Netherlands, to Italy, France, Portugal, Spain and finally England. Whereas this division of 'dominant culture' serves more of a rhetorical function than anything else, the discussion of the development of strategy is incredibly interesting, and this is ...more
Matthew Gaughan
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not just about tactics - this book is about European culture.

Superb overview of the last twenty-five years of European football. On an emotional level, it evokes memories of games I’ve watched, who I was with and where I was watching them. On an intellectual level, it provides a deep analysis of the evolution of European football. Overall, a powerful evocation of the ability of football to connect rather than divide the disparate cultures and traditions of Europe.
Helman Taofani
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sport
This entire book is really well-narrated, but heavily burdened with the premise of only focusing into six/seven chapter to suit the "battle of managers" in Premier League 2016/2017. The omission of Diego Simeone, Alex Ferguson, and Carlo Ancelotti is quite surprising. Nevertheless, as football lover, you can't put down the book once you started reading it.
Justinas  Rasalskis
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Michael Cox, my football-world hero, with his best book so far. Even if you watch football for 15 years, you still miss so many details, especially looking at bigger pictures like footballing cycles. This helps a lot.

This is such a great book that you already want part2 to happen in 10-15 years.
Vinay Badri
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A must read for every football fan out there especially of the modern football. Deeply researched with calls out on tactical evolution, key players and managers, this is a wonderful read through the game esp since it deals with the time that I started following the game. A Must read and a Must Have as well
Iain Hepburn
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating look at the tactical evolution in Europe during the Premier League era, although perhaps more scattergun in its approach than The Mixer and drawing some odd strands together. Still, lands the killer pass more often than not.
Marc Lamberts
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
A very interesting read for everyone who wants to understand a bit more about the trends of tactical approaches in the modern era. Mind you, if you are a student of tactical analyses and trends, this might be a bit basic.
Vivek Kumar
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An orgasm trip for a European Football nerds. And if you are just a casual follower and not a nerd, you are guaranteed to become one. The chronological story telling keeps you hooked and the geographical flow amuses you. Add to that the tactical analysis this book offers, you have a football fan's dream book.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic review of the last 30 years of football. A blend of storytelling, history, and tactical explanation, this book was easy to pick up for a few pages, and easier to get lost in. Wonderful book!
Jamie Garwood
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent as always from Mr. Cox shining a light on a thread of changes in European football while giving kudos to forgotten souls such as Bojan, Litmanen, Lambert etc.

Devoured in four days when on holiday
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sport
don't normally read sport books. This was really interesting. Couldn't really justify spending much time on it though
Hannu Sinisalo
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Paras koskaan lukemani jalkapalloaiheinen kirja. Fantastisen syvällinen sukellus eurooppalaisen jalkapallon kehitykseen 1990-luvulta nykypäivään.
Abhinav Jb
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read

Stunning book chronicling the rise and evolution of European footballing styles over a period of 25 years. Great stories and analysis. Highly recommended!
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I preferred The Mixer, but there was a good amount of wit and insight in this one too.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really good book about football history. I liked it.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: football, soccer
Excellent book, couldn't put it down. I feel informed about European football.
Jamie Horan
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great follow on from The Mixer. every football fan will enjoy he in depth trip down memory lane.
Leandro Cordobez
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brillante. El autor sigue conectando hilos para tejer historias q no se pueden entender sin contexto y sin ese entramado.
Sandy Morley
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Detailed tactical analyses on the dominant European countries of the Champions League era. Very interesting in places, but a little laboured in others. Ended with a whimper.
Chad Guarino
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Zonal Marking is a breakdown of the footballing tactics for the major European nations: Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Portugal and Holland. (England is also covered to a lesser extent, although the author argues that they don't have as prominent an identity as the six aforementioned nations, and are in reality an amalgamation of them all.) Each section covers a major period of success for the nations and the influential managers/players during those time periods.

The book is easy for even the
rated it liked it
Aug 21, 2019
Rohit Mathew
rated it really liked it
Sep 01, 2019
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