Few days ago, Morocco shocked the world, eliminating Spain from the World Cup. No one expected it, and the immediate effect from it was the fact that Luis Enrique is no longer the coach of the Spanish NT. No one cared that just like the Euro a year ago, the only way to eliminate Spain was after penalties. Furthermore, this failure made people come out of their holes, suggesting that the ‘Tiki Taka’ is not working anymore. Fabio Capello came out and said that Spain will have to change the way they play. Former Real Madrid player Michel Salgado, spoke to Madrid based ‘Marca’ and said that the ‘Tiki Taka’ caused a lot of damage to the Spanish football.
Really? The ‘Tiki Taka’, the way that Spain won the World Cup and 2 Euros with, caused damage to the Spanish football? How about the fact that this squad is very young and it’s better to support them?
Why no once spoke about how Italy should stop playing their way when they failed to qualify for the World Cup? The reality is that Madrid based media are doing what they love – waiting for the first failure of Lucho and then attacking him.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m ok with letting Lucho go, although I don’t agree with it at all. If the RFEF feel that they don’t think that he’s the right man for the job, they did what they had to do. Personally, I think that Lucho took them way further than what other coach would take.
What is ‘Tiki Taka’?
The nickname ‘Tiki Taka’ is usually related to the Barcelona DNA. People started to use this term with Spain and FC Barcelona during the golden years of Pep as a coach. When it’s done right, it’s the most beautiful way of playing football. I see it as the evolution of the ‘Total Football’ of Johan Cruyff. It’s based on possession football, but it’s important to do it fast in order to create holes in the defense of the opponent. Spain’s game vs Costa Rica was a great example of the potential that this tactic has.
However, it’s also a risky way of approaching football. When it’s not done right and quickly, it becomes a non effective way of playing. And against Morocco we saw Spain shoot once on target during the 120 minutes of football.
In recent years, the term ‘Tiki Taka’ was used to mock Barça, Spain and whoever failed with this approach. That’s why I don’t like to use this term. However, people didn’t actually realize that Barça themselves stopped playing ‘Tiki Taka’ under Valverde and Koeman. The Dutch coach himself called it ‘Tiki Taki’ in one press conference.
Is the ‘Tiki Taka’ really dead?
Now, with Spain out and with Barcelona out of the Champions League, people once again say that the ‘Tiki Taka’ is dead. However, let’s look at the facts:
- The team at the top of La Liga has Barça DNA.
- The 1st and 2nd in the Premier League are coached by Barça DNA.
- The leader of the Seria A don’t have Barça DNA, but their possession football is the closest to Barça DNA that there is in Italy.
So I wouldn’t say that the so called ‘Tiki Taka’ is dead, as it’s quite the opposite. But football evolves all the time, and what was called ‘Tiki Taka’ 10 years ago, is not the approach that coaches that play possession football today use.