The paradox of international football

“Globalisation is blurring national styles, but tradition, perpetuated by coaches, players, pundits and fans, is strong enough that they remain distinguishable. What became apparent in the writing of this book is that every nation came fairly quickly to recognise its strengths, and that no nation seems to trust them. Brazilian football is all about flair and improvisation, but it looks yearningly at the defensive organisation of the Italians. Italian football is all about cynicism and tactical intelligence, but it admires and fears the physical courage of the English. English football is about tenacity and energy, but it feels it ought to ape the technique of the Brazilians.”

Jonathan Wilson, Inverting The Pyramid