Since 2008, the world has watched on as Spain’s fabled Tiki-taka football kept all challengers at bay, yielding 2008 and 2012 Euro glory as well as the big one, the 2010 World Cup title.
The Socceroos weren’t the only team to bow out of the World Cup on Thursday morning. In the Maracana – the crown jewel of Brazilian stadiums – Chile dispatched Spain 2-0 to end the Iberian team’s reign as world champions.
Tiki-taka, of course, is the name given to Spain’s short-passing style of play, characterised by plenty of off-the-ball movement in an effort to dominate possession.
Tiki-taka (commonly spelled tiqui-taca [ˈtikiˈtaka] in Spanish) is a style of play in football characterised by short passing and movement, working the ball through various channels, and maintaining possession.
The style is primarily associated with La Liga club Barcelona from Johan Cruyff’s tenure as manager to the present, and the Spanish national team under managers Luis Aragonés and Vicente del Bosque.
Tiki-taka moves away from the traditional thinking of formations in football to a concept derived from zonal play.
The late Spanish broadcaster Andrés Montes is generally credited with coining and popularizing the phrase tiki-taka during his television commentary on LaSexta for the 2006 World Cup, although the term was already in colloquial use in Spanish football and may originate with Javier Clemente. In his live commentary of the Spain versus Tunisia match, Montes used the phrase to describe Spain’s precise, elegant passing style.
“Estamos tocando tiki-taka tiki-taka.”
The phrase’s origin may be onomatopoeic (alluding to the quick, short distance “tick” passing of the ball between players) or derived from a juggling toy named tiki-taka in Spanish (clackers in English).
The roots of what would develop into tiki-taka began to be implemented by Johan Cruyff during his tenure as manager of Barcelona from 1988 to 1996. The style continued to be nurtured and upgraded under some of Barcelona’s subsequent coaches, Louis van Gaal, Frank Rijkaard and particularly Josep Guardiola.
The philosophy was eventually adopted by other La Liga teams.
Particularly Barcelona’s tiki-taka tradition during Guardiola’s managerial tenure from 2008 to 2012 has been credited with producing a generation of technically talented, often physically small, players such as Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Cesc Fàbregas, and Lionel Messi; players with excellent touch, vision and passing, who excel at maintaining possession. en.wikipedia.org
‘The Death of Tiki-taka’ has been mooted before, none moreso than during the 2012 Euro tournament, before a fired-up Spain thrashed Italy 4-0 in the final.
But since 2012, Spain’s team has stumbled and struggled on a number of occassions. The 3-0 loss to Brazil in the Confederations Cup showed portents of an end of an era, while a 1-0 loss to lowly South Africa was a black mark on the 2013 calendar.
The Netherlands demolished the defending champions with direct balls straight to dangermen Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben, while Chile pressed and closed the Spanish down relentlessly.
I will never forget the past 6 unbelievable years of outrageous tiki-taka from Spain. The World Cup winning team, I mean, incredible #LaRoja
— Willie Ryland (@WillieRyland) June 24, 2014
— Goal UK (@GoalUK) June 23, 2014
Netherlands with 37% of possession. Tiki taka, you are finished.
— John Brewin (@JohnBrewinESPN) June 23, 2014
Just days ago, something catastrophic happened to the football world, or at least to Spain.
The defending world champions, who won everything and destructed teams with clinical precision over the past six years, got knocked out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The reasons are many, but one thing is true. The era of tiki-taka is over.
But the loss to Chile showed that this Spanish team is simply not up to the task anymore. No Xavi on the field probably signalled the end of the road for “El Maestro” and Diego Costa simply couldn’t settle in.
Xavi, Casillas, Alonso, Villa, Fernando Torres, Gerard Pique and quite a few others’ glory days may be over, but what they contributed to world football will never be forgotten.
Their glorious, short passing style will stay etched in our minds forever. theroar.com.au