"World In Motion" could well attract comparison with Pete Davies’ magnificent “All Played Out” aka “One Night In Turin” – it certainly did from me before I read it – and as Davies’ work is one of my favourite books of all time it therefore had a lot to live up to. However they are very different books to one another and should be seen as companions rather than competitors. I suggest reading both.
WIM did not read as I expected it to, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Anyone anticipating a chronological, round-by-round recital of the way Italia 90 was won and lost will be disappointed and I think Simon Hart anticipates that the majority of those reading will already know the general course that the tournament took.
The book is more of a whirlwind exploration of the circumstances surrounding a number of key teams at the tournament; from the obvious big guns to the lesser lights, all of whom have interesting tales to tell, either from during the tournament or way back into the qualification process and beyond. It vividly brings home to the reader how a World Cup is in reality a giant patchwork of people and stories, at one end the elite squads with the sole aim and expectation of winning the competition and at the other the minnows, just delighted to even be there.
It is obvious that Simon Hart put some serious mileage and research into writing "World In Motion", it must have been a dream job and I’m grateful for the work he put into it to give us this book, describing a now legendary tournament. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in football and the fascinating wider culture that accompanies it.