You should be rooting for Spain

calatrava.jpg
Tiki Taka shares Santiago Calatrava’s form and functionality
Brian Phillips lays out the argument very persuasively and I absolutely agree.
When a player like Mark Van Bommel is your poster boy, something is seriously wrong. But this is not nostalgia for the forgotten era of Dutch totaalvoetball. Spain brings to the world, an admirable fealty to their passing game. This is not a lot of chasing imaginary windmills, since Spain seems to be adept at scoring, however few, some very meaningful goals.
It took a while for totaalvoetball (totalfootball) to be accepted and it will take a while for tiki taka to be accepted too. Italian catenaccio, Brazilian samba, Dutch totalfootball, and now Spain’s tiki taka . Soccer reacts to and embraces successful labels.
Now if we could get David Wimmer to write Flaming Roja, the Neurotic Genius of Spanish Soccer and connect the dots between tiki taka and Euskadi separatism, Pedro Almadovar, Santiago Calatrava, and Francisco Goya, we will have his next masterpiece.

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6 comments on “You should be rooting for Spain
  1. How many of the Spanish side are Catalonian? Not all of those Barca players are Catalonian are they? I don’t see any Basque names but maybe there are some too?
    Sneijder is more of a poster child than Van Bommel, I would say.
    We need a goal early doors to make it a more attractive match.

  2. So, how big of a part does playacting fit into this “Tiki Taka” style of play, because with the likes of Busquets and Capdevilla in this Spanish team, I’m having a much harder time supporting them than I did in EURO 2008, back when they seemed like they actually wanted to score goals and not just eek out 1-0 victories by endlessly passing the ball between Casillas and Puyol and letting Villa save them in the end.
    I’ll be glad that, no matter what, we will finally have a new World Cup Champion, but I’ll be a lot happier to see the Dutch lift the trophy than the Spanish.
    It’s true that the Dutch aren’t great to watch this year, but given the small size of their country and the fact that they’ve collapsed at almost every major tournament due to trying to grasp onto their Total Football days, I think they’ve earned the right to be a bit rougher and defensive minded at this point. And despite the criticism of their style, their games against Brazil and Uruguay have been two of the best in the entire tournament, whereas I couldn’t say that about a single game involving the Spanish. In fact, the Spanish are downright dreadful to watch at times, despite their awesome ability to hold possession. Every once in awhile they’ll put together a string of one-twos that boggle the mind, but more often than not, it just makes me question why they haven’t tried it more.

  3. Kev NYC, all the Barca players save Villa are Catalonian- Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Busquets, Pique, Puyol, and Fabregas. I was making the point of Spanish football linked to the traditional status of autonomy from Madrid. That divisiveness was one of the reasons why Spain despite all its talent, never seemed to succeed in the past. It seems to be working now because playing “good football” is their new credo – their system is that passing game.

  4. Andrew- both teams play act, although I dare say, the Dutch have the edge in that department. I’m not a big fan of Busquets – just look at the way he got Thiago Motta sent off in the Champions League. Spain have been accused of being pass happy killjoys but I think the lack of a direct approach has much to do with Torres being woefully out of form. Either way, I agree that having a new World Cup champion is a good thing.

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