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February 05, 2022 2 min read

We caught up with Michael Cox, journalist at The Athletic and author of Zonal Marking, for our illustrated book Your First Football Shirt.

Our conversation spanned the globe, from Michael's first England shirt, to his love for a classic Croatia shirt and a memorable Del Piero goal from the 2006 World Cup. No doubt you can already picture the goal in your mind.

Q: What was your first football shirt?


My first one was England Euro 96, the white one thankfully, not the horrible grey one. I don’t think it has been beaten in the subsequent years.

Q: What is your favourite football shirt?

I always like the Croatia away shirt from France 1998 in particular. It just incorporates the flag (and the home kit) very nicely into a different design.

Q: What is your favourite football moment?

Alessandro Del Piero’s goal in Italy 2-0 Germany in WC 2006. Cannavaro winning the ball brilliantly, Totti shoving him off it to play the ball ahead, the movement on the ball of Gilardino and then the overlapping run of Del Piero, the way Gilardino waits for him, moves the defender in the wrong direction before passing, then Del Piero’s perfect clipped finish into the corner.

And then the final whistle went, as Italy were celebrating – and this was only two minutes after the opener, at the end of a superb 0-0 until then. Great stuff.

Thanks to Michael Cox for taking the time to chat with us.

If you want to read more about the football memories of players, writers, and more you can buy the full Your First Football Shirt book. Discover Alan Shearer's first ever football shirt, Carl Anka's most cherished shirt and more. All proceeds go to the charities CALM and Willow.