Anatomy of England: A History in Ten Matches (Anglais) Broché – 12 mai 2011
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Revue de presse
'Absorbing in detail... By analysing 10 England matches which sum up the prevailing ethos in the English game, Wilson's forensic examination of events on the bench are lent a broader context and perspective.' --Four Four Two
'[A] thought-provoking reappraisal of 10 key games in England's football history... Whatever happens in South Africa, this book should be required reading for all future England squads.' --Independent on Sunday --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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Do not assume that he investigates only famous victories. Far from it. He begins his study with 1929 loss to Spain, the first time England is beaten by someone other than Scotland, Wales, or Ireland. He takes care in his match analysis to clearly explain WHY each match mattered. His analysis includes the lineups, the goalscorers, the managers, the referee, and even the match attendance. His play by play makes you feel like you're in the stadium watching the action as it takes place. He is that good as a writer!
Surprisingly he does not select the World Cup final against the West Germans back in 1966. Instead he chooses the dramatic Quarter Final match against Argentina, marked by the controversial dismissal of the Argentine Captain Antonio Rattin. I have often felt that had Rattin not been thrown out of the match, they very well could have won the match and eventually won the World Cup final the following week. Wilson's match analysis is remarkably free of raw patriotic propaganda, giving you a clear sense of just how talented a team they were.
Oddly Wilson does not select an England - Scotland match. I would like to have read about the 1928 5-0 Scottish victory or the 1967 match where Scotland became the first nation to beat England after the 1966 World Cup, but you can find details on both matches in other works. If this is the only critique I can offer you quickly get the idea how good I think this book is.
Buy it, read it, and enjoy it.
Wilson focuses on ten matches starting in 1929. There are four victories and six defeats. The first match he reviews is the 1929 defeat to Spain, this is the first time England lost to a non-British team. Wilson includes the highs – 1966, plus a 3-1 beating of France in 1982 and the 4-1 demolition of Holland 14 years later. The lows include: Hungary - 1953, Norway - 1993, Germany - 1972, and Germany - 1990. The final match takes place in 2007, a 3-2 defeat to Croatia.
Being England manager is a tough job and eventually everybody is fired, even Alf Ramsey who won the World Cup in 1966. Most incumbents never really recover after being sacked, their credibility has usually been destroyed by the press. The English FA has a habit of picking mediocre managers, who had never previously won anything of note. Bob Paisley and Brian Clough who between them won five European Cups (now called the Champions League) were never considered to have the right stuff to be an England manager. Wilson claims that England lost their way tactically because they refused to learn from the innovations being developed in other countries. He believes that arrogance led to the team falling behind the rest of the world.
The question is whether World Cup success really matters. The fast and physical game played in England continues to be popular, not just in Britain but worldwide. The English Premier League is the most popular league in the world. Three of the most valuable clubs in world sports play in the Premier League. There is a need to entertain and the negative, pragmatic football often played in international games tends to put people to sleep.
The book was written in 2009 and Wilson, like any deluded England fan, was optimistic about England's prospects in the 2010 World Cup. The England team usually underperforms and perhaps Wilson should have known better, but like any fan his heart probably ruled his head. The book is full of fascinating information and some of the sensationalist reporting by the English press now seems rather ridiculous.
Wilson is an intellectual and you probably have to be a bit of a nerd to fully enjoy this book.