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Spanish Football’s “Tika Taka” Phenomenon

Praise the masters Spain, or even blame them, for dominating the modern game by simply passing. That’s all the tactic is…Pass. And what has it done for them ? They have won the Euro 2008, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012. Who said football wasn’t easy? The plan is simple, short and quick passes on the ground, playing the ball through tight channels. It has indeed caused a global phenomenon, with many professional teams and amateur teams always copying and practising their style of football on the training pitch.

As you pay close attention you can see the simplicity in the moves and the effortless techniques they use to get the ball up the field. Pass…Move, Take a touch… Pass…Move, Through ball…Move. It really is simple. Why is it no other coach has figured out how to pass a ball? Vicente Del Bosque has been hailed a footballing genius, however many criticise the playing style as ‘boring’. The moans and groans came in the Euro 2012 tournament when they played Croatia and France. Many critics across Europe claimed that Spain’s tactic was to ‘bore them to death with passing’. But in all fairness, it worked. Spain beat both teams and progressed through to win the tournament. As the old saying goes “Why change a winning tactic?”. Just because some people don’t like to sit and watch it, why should Del Bosque and his team change their playing style that had made them dominate the entire world? Spain are ranked 1st in the world with 3 major tournaments to add to the list. Would we complain if England annihilated the globe, just because our football wasn’t entertaining to watch? I wouldn’t. I would simply bask in the glory of being a citizen of the best footballing nation in the world.

The only problem with the ‘Tika Taka’ saga, is that we may lose one aspect of the game that people dream of being…the striker. In Euro 2012 Spain started their games with no strikers. The only stikers being Fernando Torres, who was still finding his form, and Fernando Llorente, who lead his team to the Europa League final. The task seemed fairly clear, play the ball into the box and rely on passing the ball around the keeper, or play the ball in the box and rely on the finesse style shot where a placed shot is preffered rather than a long range effort. Fernando Torres did make an appearence and an impact as he scored 3 goals and earned the Golden Boot award. Maybe the striker is now used as a killer blow, to be bought on when the team are worn out from chasing consistent passes, and then it is up to the striker to waltz past the defence to slot the ball into the net.

There may be one negative in this whole debate. The lack of goals scored in the game. Although they keep 60-70% percent of the ball, Spain seem to freeze in front of the goal and simply try to pass the ball into the goal. Perhaps those long range efforts can make a difference in a game, by means of a last chance effort at goal, or simply no other option but to hit it from distance. It is the long range goal that makes us jump out of our seats in joy of pure skill and scientific precision.

Personally I beleive the ‘Tika Taka’ style of play is a beauty to watch, however I still applaud those powerful 35 yard screamers, and wouldn’t want to see those type of goals ever be extinct from the modern game.

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