ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why is Tiki-Taka so effective?

Updated on October 24, 2013
The Spanish team celebrating their 2010 World Cup win.
The Spanish team celebrating their 2010 World Cup win.

The Spanish National football team is widely lauded as the best football team of all time, slightly ahead of the Catalan giants, Barcelona. Spain are currently ranked number one in FIFA world rankings and have won their last three major tournaments; the 2008 UEFA Euro Cup, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the 2012 UEFA Euro Cup. With the 2014 World Cup around the corner, the Spanish have their sights on yet another trophy. Barcelona have now won La Liga, one of Europe's most competitive leagues, 6 times in the last 9 years.

These two teams were not always such dominant forces in world football. In 2006, the Spanish team adopted the tiki-taka playing style after being unsuccessful in the World Cup and since then, have been seemingly unstoppable. Barcelona have always played the passing game, but recently have emphasised the free flowing nature of their passing play.

The tiki-taka playing style has truly revolutionized the game of soccer and so much can be learned from this new strategy.

The Barcelona team celebrate their Champions League win.
The Barcelona team celebrate their Champions League win.

Possession is the most notable aspect of this playing style. It is unusual for the team to have any less than 60% of ball possession in a game. To have such a high possession, the team focuses on short, quick passing, always keeping the ball moving and giving the opposition less time to close them down. Long balls are much riskier because they are harder to control, so the players focus on keeping the ball on the ground. They constantly move to form triangles and find space, so when every player picks up the ball he has plenty of easy passing options to choose from. By making smart easy passes, they keep the ball for long periods of time. This control is much easier said than done and is only possible because of the tacticians in the sides. Simply put, these players are smart. They all know exactly where they should be.

For the teams to control the ball for long periods of time, every player is focused on supporting the ball. The support and style of their possession has actually caused them some criticism because they have no 'real' strikers or defenders. Every player is part of the attack, because they are constantly working the ball through the defense, midfield, and offense with short passes. The distinction between positions becomes blurred, so the opposition can be pulled out of position leaving large pockets of space to exploit. The versatility of the players is what allows them to control the play with such ease. Often the teams play with midfielders set as strikers, like Cesc Fabregas (for both club and country), because the positional play is so fluid.

Keeping possession of the ball is so effective as chasing after the ball is tiring. In essence, they wear the opposition out so much that it is easy to break through the defense later in the game. Also, very few teams have the patience of these two teams, meaning the defenders will often rush out in an attempt to regain possession and leave lots of space in behind for the mobile attackers to burst into. Finally, if the opposition don't have the ball, they cannot score making this a great defensive tactic as well.

When analyzing this style, people often mention that the keepers rarely see shots. This is no accident. These teams defend by maintaining possession: they know that if they have the ball they can score and the other team can’t so they maintain control of the ball at all costs. To maintain possession they are incredibly patient. When watching a Spain game you will quickly notice how often the ball moves backwards and the play is reset. Also, Spain often wins games 1-0. The low score is a result of their offensive mentality. Spanish players do not shoot when they have mediocre opportunities, nor do they when they have good opportunities. The team will only shoot if there is a perfect chance and that often means virtually dribbling the ball into the net.

Another key feature of the game is how quickly the team will close down the opposition when they lose possession. They do not give the other team any time or space on the ball, usually hunting it down in packs. Often Spain or Barcelona will win the ball back just seconds after losing it. Credit must be given to the player's incredible fitness levels, which allow them to play this strategy.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • muzzster profile image

      Muzzammil Maniar 

      4 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      Not as effective now with teams now knowing how to deal with it, PARKING THE BUS. Dirty but very effective.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)