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Is your defense conceding goals like a broken sieve? Discover how to plug the gaps through adopting the tactics, formations and soccer training drills of the best defenders around – The Italians!

For leaking defenses everywhere, your solution has arrived! Zonal Defending the Italian Way provides an in-depth look at the Italian back four and their dedication to total team defending. This comprehensive guide looks at the history, tactics and soccer training exercises used by top teams in Italy’s Serie A, including AS Roma, Inter Milan, Juventus and AC Milan, and is packed with insights you can use to build your own team’s strength from the back.

Dear Coach,

The Brazilians are known for their trickery and technical skill. The Germans for their organization and discipline. But when it comes to defense, then the Italians are the best around. So if you’re struggling for ideas on how to tighten your backline, how to concede fewer goals and how to win more games, then the tactics used by the best Italian coaches of the last two decades are the perfect ones to study.

Zonal Defending the Italian Way provides an in-depth look at the Italian back four and their philosophy of total team defending. This includes a look at the history of Italian’s dedication to defense above all else; how it has evolved to accommodate the more attacking style of football that modern audiences crave for and the strategies used by many of Italy’s leading coaches, such as Arrigo Sacchi, Marcello Lippi and Fabio Capello.

In addition, Zonal Defending the Italian Way is jam packed with soccer drills and exercises that were actually used to train the national team in Italy’s 1994 and 2006 World Cup campaigns. This makes this book an ideal addition to your library, whether you’re a student of the game or an elite level coach, because it will enrich your understanding of the Italian defensive game and how you can apply their World Cup winning drills to improve your own team’s defending.

Zonal Defending – The Italian Way is quite simply a must-read book for any coach that wants to improve their teams organization, defensive cohesiveness and to ultimately build a more stable and successful foundation. Michele Tossani presents us with a thorough insight into not only the processes and mentality involved in the traditional Italian style of defending, but also informs and educates the reader as to the strengths and weaknesses of such tactics; as well as providing useful and proven training exercises from top level coaches so that we may implement the same techniques.

The list of world class coaches who have created and adopted this style of defending is endless – Sacchi, Ranieri, Ancelotti forming the old guard of Serie A success, whilst Jose Mourinho has installed this same organized and pragmatic approach to his teams over the past 7 years- in each instance, culminating in individual and team success.Most interestingly, Tossani is able to use actual exercises and coaching points from world renowned coaches and players to provide a completely comprehensive and extensive overview of the ‘Italian Way’ of defending.  Italian soccer has always been synonymous with the art of defending – both domestically and internationally – and the zonal defending mentality and strategy have become world renowned as the Italians have continued their rise to prominence: most notably in the World Cup of 2006. Through this excellent book, coaches from every conceivable level and age group can have access to an amazing array of exercises, drills and games that will no doubt improve their teams overall performance.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking who is looking to gain an understanding and education on the history and successes of the Zonal marking system and Italian defending as a whole.” –  Andy Mason, former academy player in England and now Player Development Officer for Atlantic Soccer Factory in South Jersey

“Discover the systems, formation changes and tactics used by Italy’s leading teams and coaches to lock out opposing attackers”

There’s a saying in Italy that ‘any home is built on the foundation’, and this applies to their philosophy of total team defense. For decades the approach of collapsing the team to defend counter attacks has been a stalwart of the Italian game. Consequently, if your defense needs tightening then you need look no further than at how the best coaches in Italy’s Serie A lock down the penalty area and block out attacks.

In the 2006 World Cup Italy demonstrated the value of a strong back four. Admittedly, their attack wasn’t the best in the tournament, leading to many low scoring games. But the fact that they battled through to lift the trophy at the end proved that you can have a mediocre attack if your defense is sound.

Through analyzing the formations and strategies used by some of the smartest tactical minds in Italy’s Serie A, Zonal Defending the Italian Way provides you with a comprehensive playbook on how to build a tight back four so you can lock out opposing attacks more frequently and win more games.

“Expertly written as both a study and training manual on adopting Italian tactics and formations into your own team’s training and strategy”

Author of Zonal Defending the Italian Way Michele Tossani is a coach and student of the game. Tossani is the author of a number of books including 4-4-2 vs 4-3-3, A Coach’s Guide to the 4-3-3, Champion’s League Tactics, Modulo 4-3-2-1 and Analisi Tattica Champions 2002 – 2003. He has also written numerous articles for the popular Italian soccer web site www.allenatore.net.


What’s included in Zonal Defending the Italian Way

The first half of the book provides an analytical look at the methods, philosophies and tactics adopted by Italy’s leading coaches over the last two decades. The second half is packed with detailed diagrams outlining real soccer drills and exercises used by the national team during two World Cup campaigns and those used by other leading coaches.

Why a flat back four? – The book starts by looking at why Italian coaches prefer a flat back four. This chapter also looks at the key components of a tight defense: flexibility, balance, simplicity and the ability to launch counter attacks. The differing responsibilities of fullbacks and central defenders are also assessed, and how a zonal defense can be best arranged to cover space and slow attacks.

Back and midfield lines – This chapter looks at the positioning defensive diagonals, which is the key to a defensive back four. Where to position central midfielders to best assist the defense, where the lines of coverage should be and how to react to back passes by opposing attackers are just a few of the questions analyzed and answered.

Modern defensive systems – Author Michele Tossani looks at Italy’s history of developing tough defensive strategies and how they have evolved today. This chapter analyses the defensive systems of Arrigo Saachi (coach of the 1994 World Cup team), Fabio Capello (former AC Milan and England manager) before looking at the defensive approaches of leading Italian clubs, such as Inter, AC Milan, Juventus and Florentina.

Interview with Nicola Legrottalie – In an exclusive interview provided for this book, Juventus center back Nicola Legrottalie discusses the Juventus approach to defense, how it compares with that of former boss Del Neri, why they play a very high defensive line and some of the most popular drills used to tighten their defense.

Training sessions and exercises – The second half of Zonal Defending the Italian Way moves away from theory to offering practical soccer drills and training exercises taught by Italy’s top coaches. This includes drills used by Arrigo Saachi at the 1994 World Cup, Marcello Lippi at the 2006 World Cup and those used by Fabio Capello at AC Milan and more.

Author of Zonal Defending the Italian Way Michele Tossani on the training field

What you will gain from Zonal Defending the Italian Way

If your defense is conceding too many goals, breaking down under pressure or clueless as to how to defend an aggressive 4-3-3 attacking formation, then this book can guide you on practical improvements you can make to tighten your backline. There’s no better nationality to learn from than the Italians when it comes to defending, and this book provides an in-depth overview of their tactics, formations and training methods and is packed with valuable information you can use to improve your team’s defense.

From Zonal Defending the Italian Way you will gain:

  • An enriched understanding of the Italian zonal defending style 
  • Insights on how to create a back four that functions as a unit, rather than individuals
  • A deeper understanding of the components of a strong defense: flexibility, fast counter attacking, balance and simplicity
  • An in-depth analysis of the different roles and responsibilities of the fullbacks and center backs
  • A detailed review of how coaches at modern clubs like AS Roma, Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan apply the flat back four
  • The background and history of the Italian approach to defending
  • Over 60 pages packed with soccer drills and exercises actually used by the Italian national team in two World Cup campaigns and those taught by leading Italian coaches, like Fabio Capello and Mario Berretta


For students of the game and professional coaches alike, Zonal Defending the Italian Way is a worthy addition to your library. It will enrich your knowledge of the Italian total team defending philosophy and provide you with practical insights you can use to improve the performance of your own back four.

“Zonal Defending the Italian Way provides a comprehensive analysis of defensive coaching methodology within Italy’s top professional league, Serie A, while also including training sessions on the topic from elite Italian coaches that can be modified to educate players at all levels.This book is a great resource for coaches who want to implement a quality defensive system but also one that can be easily adapted to fit the needs of any team composition.  It’s a must have resource for coaches who want to strengthen their background and coaching on the defensive side of the ball.” – Rob Parker assistant coach Union College (NY) Women’s Soccer.

100% ‘no quibbles’ 6 Month Money Back Guarantee

WORLD CLASS COACHING is recognized globally for the quality of its soccer coaching resources, which are used by over 40,000 soccer coaches from around the world. We wouldn’t be offering you Zonal Defending the Italian Way unless it achieves our exceptionally high standards. However, if you are not 100% satisfied with the quality of Zonal Defending the Italian Way after six months then please contact us for a no quibbles refund.

“There are no better teachers on how to build a strong back four than the coaches competing in Italy’s Serie A”

Zonal Defending the Italian Way offers a unique and in-depth look at the Italian’s dedication to a strong defense, and is packed with practical insights any coach can use to tighten their back four. This book is comprehensive in its analysis of the defensive strategies utilized by many of Italy’s illustrious sides and coaches over the last two decades, including AC Milan, Juventus and the national team.

The book is packed with insights gained from the greatest tactical minds in the Italian game you can apply to your own team. In addition, half of Zonal Defending the Italian Way is devoted to practical soccer drills and training exercises, which includes those used by Marcello Lippi to drive the 2006 national team towards triumphantly lifting the World Cup trophy. The array of soccer drills provided in this book complete a comprehensive guide to Italian zonal defending.

Whether you’re training college teams or coaching players at the elite level, Zonal Defending the Italian Way is packed with insights on many of Italy’s greatest defensive strategies you can use to enrich your knowledge on defensive tactics, tighten your backline and win more games.

Best Wishes,

Mike Saif

P.S. Zonal Defending the Italian Way provides an in-depth look at the Italian’s back four and dedication to total team defense. It analyses the tactics, formations and philosophies of many of Italy’s leading sides, including Juventus, AC Milan and Inter, as well as leading coaches, such as Arrigo Saachi, Fabio Capello and Roberto Mancini. In addition, this unique book features 60 pages packed with soccer drills and exercises used by the Italian national team in the 1994 and victorious 2006 World Cup campaigns and those used by other leading coaches in Italy’s Serie A.

P.P.S If you are not 100% satisfied with the quality of the soccer coaching resources in Zonal Defending the Italian Way six months then we will refund your purchase in full, no questions asked.

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