Zona mista

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Zona mista (Italian pronunciation:  [ˈdzɔːna ˈmista] ; in English : "Mixed Zone"), often referred to as Gioco all'italiana ("The Game in the Italian Style"), is a tactic used in Italian association football mainly from the second half of 1970s to the mid-'90s. The introduction of this system has been attributed to Luigi Radice and Giovanni Trapattoni, then coaches of Torino and Juventus, respectively. [1] The tactic reached the highest sporting level with Trapattoni's Juventus becoming the first club in history to reach the European Treble having won the three seasonal UEFA competitions and, in 1985, the first European side to win the Intercontinental Cup since it was restructured since years before, [2] and the Italian national team, managed by Enzo Bearzot, which won the FIFA World Cup in 1982, for the first time since 1938, with notable participation from the Blocco-Juve ; [3] making both teams acclaimed by some as among the greatest in sports history. [4]

Football in Italy overview of association football practiced in Italy

Football is the most popular sport in Italy. The Italian national football team is considered to be one of the best national teams in the world. They have won the FIFA World Cup four times, trailing only Brazil, runners-up in two finals and reaching a third place (1990) and a fourth place (1978). They have also won one European Championship (1968), also appearing in two finals, finished third at the Confederations Cup (2013), won one Olympic football tournament (1936) and two Central European International Cups.

Luigi Radice Italian footballer and manager

Luigi "Gigi" Radice was an Italian football manager and player.

Giovanni Trapattoni Italian footballer

Giovanni Trapattoni, sometimes popularly known as "Trap" or "Il Trap", is an Italian football manager and former footballer, considered the most successful club coach in the history of Serie A. A former defensive midfielder, as a player he spent almost his entire club career with A.C. Milan, where he won two Serie A league titles, and two European Cups, in 1962–63 and 1968–69. Internationally, he played for Italy, earning 17 caps and participating in the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile.


Regarded as a tactical evolution of catenaccio , [5] zona mista requires each outfield player to perform, systematically and simultaneously, the zonal marking and continuous attack on the spaces characteristic of totaalvoetbal , but also engaging in the defensive individual marking characteristic of Italian football. In this system, a player who moves out of his position is replaced by another from his team, thus retaining the team's intended organisational structure, and each player performs a different function. Several players, such as the libero , the wing-back (terzino fluidificante) , the winger (ala tornante) and the box-to-box midfielder (mezzala) simultaneously play roles in both defense and attack, while the playmaker (regista/trequartista) (e.g. Michel Platini, Lothar Matthäus or Roberto Baggio) regularly runs to the opponents' box to try and score. This flexibility made it much more versatile, fluid and offensive than the rigid standard scheme used in Italy at the time. [5] [6] Although it is one of the first to use four defenders, zona mista is aesthetically more related to formations which succeeded it: 3–5–2 and an asymmetric 4–3–3 system. [7] [8]


Catenaccio or The Chain is a tactical system in football with a strong emphasis on defence. In Italian, catenaccio means "door-bolt", which implies a highly organised and effective backline defence focused on nullifying opponents' attacks and preventing goal-scoring opportunities.

Total Football is a tactical theory in football in which any outfield player can take over the role of any other player in a team. It was made famous by the Netherlands national football team when reaching the final of the 1974 FIFA World Cup. Early exponents of Total Football were European sides Ajax and Real Madrid, although the system saw trial in other parts of the world, notably with the Austrian Wunderteam in the 1930s, the Argentine side "La Maquina" of River Plate in the 1940s, the Golden Team of Hungary, and English side Burnley in the 1950s, or Brazilian side Santos in the 1960s.

In association football, a playmaker is a player who controls the flow of the team's offensive play, and is often involved in passing moves which lead to goals, through their vision, technique, ball control, creativity, and passing ability.

Zona mista proved highly successful at national and international level: with it, Torino won the 1975–76 Serie A, its first after the Superga air disaster; Juventus played some of its finest football ever, setting the most enduring record in the history of Italian football by winning six league titles and two cups in ten years. [9] Juventus then extended this success to the international arena, starting in 1977 when the club won the UEFA Cup without foreign footballers, an unprecedented achievement for any country's team. [10] Subsequently, it lifted the Cup Winners' Cup, the European Champions Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup, making it the first, and so far only, club to have won all possible official international competitions. [11] These achievements lifted the Serie A for the first time to the top of the confederation ranking at the end of the 1985–86 season, a position maintained for the following three seasons. [12]

1975–76 Serie A sports season

The 1975–76 Serie A season was won by Torino Calcio.

Superga air disaster aviation accident

The Superga air disaster occurred on 4 May 1949, when a Fiat G.212 of Avio Linee Italiane, carrying the entire Torino football team, crashed into the retaining wall at the back of the Basilica of Superga, which stands on a hill on the outskirts of Turin. Thirty-one people died; there were no survivors.

Serie A professional association football league in Italy

Serie A, also called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by TIM, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and the winner is awarded the Coppa Campioni d'Italia. It has been operating for over eighty years since the 1929–30 season. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, when the Lega Serie A was created for the 2010–11 season.


In pure zonal defense, every midfielder and defender is given a particular zone on the field to cover. When a player moves outside his zone, his teammate expands his zone to cover the unmarked area. However, the Catenaccio philosophy called for double-marking when dealing with strong players. Zona Mista combined the strength of zonal marking with that of Catenaccio.

In Zona Mista, there are four defenders. A sweeper is free to roam and assist other defenders. A fullback plays in both defensive and advanced position, typically on the left flank. The two stoppers, who started then to be called "centre back", mark their zones. In the midfield, there are a defensive midfielder, centre midfielder and the playmaker (#10) and a winger who covers typically the right flank and sometimes acts as an additional striker. Zona Mista employs a two-prong attack. A centre forward plays upfront. A second striker plays wide to the left (a derivation of Catenaccio's left winger) and drifts inside to act as a striker or to cover the playmaker when the playmaker drops into a defensive position.

In certain sports, such as football, field hockey, ice hockey, handball, rugby union, lacrosse and rugby league, winger is a position. It refers to positions on the extreme left and right sides of the pitch, or playing field. In American football and Canadian football, the analogous position is the wide receiver. Wingers often try to use pace to exploit extra space available on the flanks that can be made available by their teammates dominating the centre ground. They must be wary however of not crossing the touchline, or sidelines, and going out of play. In sports where the main method of scoring involves attacking a small goal in the centre of the field, a common tactic is to cross the ball to a central teammate.

The new Italian tactic came to dominate national football in the late 1970s and early 1980s and reached its height with the highly successful Giovanni Trapattoni's Juventus and the Italian national team coached by Enzo Bearzot, [13] mostly in their victory in the 1982 FIFA World Cup. [14] Classy and skillful Gaetano Scirea was the libero, Fulvio Collovati and tough tackling Claudio Gentile the centre backs, Antonio Cabrini the left wingback. Gabriele Oriali played as a holding midfielder, Marco Tardelli centre midfielder and Giancarlo Antognoni as playmaker.

Juventus F.C. association football club from Italy

Juventus Football Club, colloquially known as Juve, is an Italian professional football club based in Turin, Piedmont. Founded in 1897 by a group of Torinese students, the club has worn a black and white striped home kit since 1903 and has played home matches in different grounds around its city, the latest being the 41,507-capacity Allianz Stadium. Nicknamed Vecchia Signora, the club has won 34 official league titles, 13 Coppa Italia titles and eight Supercoppa Italiana titles, being the record holder for all these competitions; two Intercontinental Cups, two European Cups / UEFA Champions Leagues, one European Cup Winners' Cup, a joint national record of three UEFA Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and one UEFA Intertoto Cup. Consequently, the side leads the historical Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC) ranking whilst on the international stage occupies the 4th position in Europe and the eight in the world for most confederation titles won with eleven trophies, having led the UEFA ranking during seven seasons since its inception in 1979, the most for an Italian team and joint second overall.

Italy national football team mens national association football team representing Italy

The Italy national football team has officially represented Italy in association football since their first match in 1910. The squad is under the global jurisdiction of FIFA and is governed in Europe by UEFA—the latter of which was co-founded by the Italian team's supervising body, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). Italy's home matches are played at various stadiums throughout Italy, and their primary training ground is located at the FIGC headquarters in Coverciano, Florence.

Enzo Bearzot Italian footballer

Vincenzo "Enzo" Bearzot was an Italian professional football manager and former footballer, who played as a defender or midfielder. He led the Italian national team to victory in the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

Its popularity, however, eventually led to its undoing as Italian teams became predictable. Ernst Happel's Hamburg would expose some of the predictability of the style against Juventus with a defensive approach in the 1983 European Champions' Cup Final. [14] However, the Torinese side continued to employ this tactic system with great success over the next decade under the management of Trapattoni and his former goalkeeper Dino Zoff, winning two Italian Championships, two national cups, one Intercontinental Cup, one European Champions' Cup, one Cup Winners' Cup, two UEFA Cups and one UEFA Super Cup. [15]

Ernst Happel Austrian footballer

Ernst Franz Hermann Happel was an Austrian football player and coach.

Hamburger SV sports club in Hamburg, Germany

Hamburger Sport-Verein e.V.[hamˈbʊʁɡɐ ˌʃpɔʁt fɛɐ̯ˈʔaɪ̯n], commonly known as Hamburger SV, Hamburg or HSV[haː ʔɛs ˈfaʊ̯], is a German sport club based in Hamburg, its largest branch being its football department. Although the current HSV was founded in June 1919 from a merger of three earlier clubs, it officially traces its origin to 29 September 1887 when the first of the predecessors, SC Germania, was founded. HSV's football team had the distinction of being the only team that had played continuously in the top tier of the German football league system since the founding of the club at the end of World War I. It was the only team that played in every season of the Bundesliga since its foundation in 1963, until 2018 when the team were relegated for the first time in history.

1983 European Cup Final association football match

The 1983 European Cup Final was a football match held at the Olympic Stadium, Athens, on 25 May 1983, that saw Hamburger SV of Germany defeat Juventus of Italy 1–0. A single goal from Felix Magath eight minutes into the game was enough for Hamburg to claim their first European Cup title.


Tactical layout

In pure zonal defense, each player covers an area of the field; when a player moves outside that area, and when you move outside of this area, even fellow department shake to keep your team pretty short, and usually sided with the flexible and suitable for 4–4–2. However, if you have to deal with very skilled players, according to the Italian school, you'd rather have a man who acts in the area and one ready to fix any errors. Zona mista faithfully reproduces the defensive techniques and most of the formation of Catenaccio.

There is a sweeper, but because of the change in the offside rule, he must be very careful to move at the right time. At this stage, the sweeper can sometimes also become a playmaker, and lend a hand in the building phase. There are four defenders: clarification of the role of the free, it must be said that this is the fluidizing left-back, having at its disposal the entire band, as it is the only cursor (over half the wing, which he controlled) . The other two markers were first called stoppers, later called centre backs; one is sometimes deployed back to even out the areas of the field covered.

In midfield, there was a back (mediano), a central midfielder (mediano avanzato) and a playmaker (regista), often called "the number 10", a concept which then spread, in practice a median-called "push", as it was not uncommon for advancing and would mark. Also in this department should be noted hairpin wing, wing to wing somewhere between offensive and an exterior; was in control of the other end (right), although, in some cases, it was considered an offensive player, often marked on the scoresheet, and then added a striker. In two-pronged attack, one usually used as support, the other added opposite wing (derivation of the left wing of the bolt), with a dash movement, regarded as a second striker, when a #10 half-toe when the playmaker became a defensive halfback (leaving the #10 the invention of the game, and stay longer covered in center field).

Positions and functions in field

As zona mista evolved from Catenaccio, the numbers for each position were closely linked to British numbering. The table below includes variant numbering, and also the numbers used in Catenaccio.

One of the tactical positions in the Zona Mista formation. Zouna mista.gif
One of the tactical positions in the Zona Mista formation.
Positions Number Variant Catenaccio
Goalkeeper (Portiere) [8] 1n.c.1
Sweeper (Libero) [8] 6(10)6
Centre back (Difensore centrale) [8] 5n.c.5
Stopper (Marcatore puro) [16] 2n.c.2 (as third defender)
Wing-back (Terzino fluidificante) [8] [17] 3n.c.3
Defensive midfield (Mediano) [8] 4(8)4
Central midfielder (Centrocampista centrale) [8] 8(5)8 (as box-to-box midfielder)
Playmaker (Regista) [8] 10(11 as defensive midfield)10
Side midfielder (Ala tornante) [8] [18] 7117
Second striker (Seconda punta or "Fantasista") [8] 117/911 (as left winger)
First striker (Prima punta) [8] 9(11)9

See also


  1. Francesco Camerani (22 February 2014). "Trap l'africano sarà ct della Costa d'Avorio Entrerà in carica dopo i Mondiali, fino al 2018 La nuova avventura dell'allenatore infinito, in panchina a 75 anni Manca l'ufficialità, ma sembra tutto fatto". L'Unità (in Italian). p. 23. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  2. "1985: Juventus end European drought". Union des Associations Européennes de Football. 8 December 1985. Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  3. Garanzini, Gigi (2002). "BEARZOT, Enzo". Enciclopedia dello Sport Treccani (in Italian). Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  4. "Juventus". Football's Greatest Teams. Episode 10. Pitch International. 18 October 2014. Event occurs at 23:41. SKY Sports 5 HD.
  5. 1 2 "3-5-2, che passione!!" (in Italian). 16 October 2013. Archived from the original on 16 November 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  6. Chiesa, Carlo F. (2010). Il secolo azzurro: 1910-2010 (in Italian). Minerva. p. 82. ISBN   8873-81310-0.
  7. Wilson, Jonathan (2013). "The Return of the Back 3". Inverting The Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics. News York: Nation Books. ISBN   156858-96-38.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Zona mista" (in Italian). Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  9. Bruno Colombero (6 March 1994). "Cicli d'oro firmati da grandi campioni" (in Italian). La Stampa. p. 5. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  10. Sergio Di Cesare (1 April 2008). "Hard work pays off for Zoff". Union des Associations Européennes de Football. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  11. "1985: Juventus end European drought". Union des Associations Européennes de Football. 8 December 1985. Archived from the original on December 8, 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  12. "UEFA Country Coefficients 1985/1986" . Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  13. Maurício Oliveira, Rodrigo Cerqueira e Thiago Correia (27 June 2013). "Escolas renovadas! Espanha e Itália mudaram estilos e fazem sucesso". Lance! (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 10-2-2014.Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  14. 1 2 Wilson, Jonathan (2012-07-25). "Italy 3-2 Brazil, 1982: the day naivety, not football itself, died". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  15. Before that date, the Bianconeri won four national championships, one Italian Cup and one UEFA Cup using Zona Mista, cf. Bruno Bernardi (1989-04-10). "Trap, settimo sigillo?" (PDF). Stampa Sera (in Italian). p. 21. Retrieved 2014-09-16.
  16. The player in charge of the man-to-man marking, mainly on the opposite team playmaker, cf. Rizzo, Sergio (2002). "GENTILE, Claudio". Enciclopedia dello Sport Treccani (in Italian). Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  17. Usually located on the left flank.
  18. Usually located on the right flank.

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