Jonathan Wilson


As Jonathan Wilson points out, this has been the 4-2-3-1 World Cup. Both finalists have played this super-flexible system, even if Spain have only come to it latterly. 4-2-3-1 is a system that allows sides to pick their way of playing: it can be a counter-attacking formation (Germany) or one that permits the attacking side to dictate the tempo of the play. And of course it allows for sudden shifts in formation: 4-2-3-1 can become 4-2-4 in the blink of an eye or, defensively, 4-5-1 or even 4-4-2.


Jonathan Wilson's tactical analyses of Spain and the Netherlands Raphael Honigstein: Germany admits Spanish superiority Joachim Low, fashion model Applying other sports' rules to Suarez's handball A bird tries to muscle in on Paul the octopus's territory The "ten most reprehensible acts" of the World Cup

"The particular insanity of the World Cup." Spain's happy hangover Zonal Marking's analysis of Spain-Germany Jonathan Wilson: Spain dominate in possession The Arjen-Robben-as-ball Photoshop meme (more here) Turf wars hurt English development Legos

Paul the prognosticating octopus picks Spain Tom Williams: don't neglect the holding midfielder Zonal Marking's Germany-Spain preview The jingoistic simplification of the USA's run Fernando Duarte: Brazil's next coach Is Spain the most one-club-dependent team in Cup history? Jonathan Wilson: Netherlands vs. Uruguay analysis Steve Davis: raised expectations likely means Bob Bradley's out

Against the underdog The forgotten, official film of the 1938 World Cup Jonathan Wilson: Dutch flair returns Argentina "hurt, but not ashamed" Mick McCarthy: Germany's pace could expose Spain Top 10 flops Gavin Hamilton: England's trouble with youth tournaments Martin Samuel: forget youth - it's about versatility

The science of refereeing The memory problem of the World Cup Jonathan Wilson: Uruguay's 1950 triumph a testament to grit Uruguay aim to rekindle past glories Zonal Marking: Holland-Uruguay preview Holland 2 - Brazil Legos Tim Vickery: emotion no substitute for clear thinking Fidel Castro believes the refs are biased against South American sides  

The worst refereeing performances in World Cup history Zonal Marking: Ghana-Uruguay preview How the quarterfinalists line up (including a heavy dose of 4-2-3-1) The New York Times on how Brazil added a tougher edge Jonathan Wilson: Yugoslavia's brush with glory Tim Vickery: Uruguay looks to relive the glory days The corrupt "fixer" behind Australia's 2022 bid

Nike's cursed "Write the Future" advert, re-edited Jonathan Wilson: Brazil vs. the Netherlands a potential classic A new book on the darker parts of World Cup history Zonal Marking: a preview of Argentina-Germany Richard Williams: Kaka "could ignite the tournament" Dunga vs. Johann Cruyff Brian Glanville: "England's pitiful debacle" Jon Stewart interviews Bob Bradley and Landon Donovan

Peter Singer: why is it okay for footballers to cheat? Video replay technology confirms that England are rubbish at football Zonal Marking: Dunga wins tactical contest of the tournament Marcotti: Annan the key for Ghana Paul the Octopus picks Germany again Juan Mata makes Raul Albiol look like a fool Jonathan Wilson: use instant replay, but not at the expense of flow Martin Samuel: England remain full of excuses

"Maradona and Me" Paul Gardner: should Bradley go? Steve Davis: Bradley's lineup leaves unanswered questions Sid Lowe: England's pathetic exit Zonal Marking's second-round preview, part 2 Tim Vickery: Bielsa plots Brazil's downfall Jonathan Wilson: corruption to blame for African failure Gabriel Heinze, meet the TV camera