Italy and Spain are about to fight tonight in the first semifinal of Euro 2020 and the stakes cannot be higher. Both sides are layered with exceptional quality and potential, but what makes this game really interesting is the approach both sides have taken during the tournament.[layerswithexceptionalqualityandpotentialbutwhatmakesthisgamereallyinterestingistheapproachbothsideshavetakenthroughoutthetournament[layerswithexceptionalqualityandpotentialbutwhatmakesthisgamereallyinterestingistheapproachbothsideshavetakenthroughoutthetournament
The tika taka style of soccer had lost prominence in recent years, but looking at the semifinalists of this Euro Cup, it’s safe to say that a revolution is brewing. FootTheBall It explains why the resurrection of Tika-taka can bring old-school football back in full.
WHAT IS TIKI-TAKA AND WHY IT HAS BEEN DYING
Barcelona had its most fruitful spell when Johan Cruyff was its coach in the early 1990s. Cruyff started the whole concept of tiki-taka and produced astonishing results. In 2008, the Spanish team began to implement it. Although Pep Guardiola has denied it, he even played similar football with Barcelona during his time at the helm.
Intensive passes in the central half of the field throughout the 90s could be a definition of tiki-taka football in layman’s terms. Although he seemed to work wonders for a couple of years, people gradually began to lose faith in him.
In 2013, Barcelona lost 7-0 on aggregate to Bayern Munich in the semi-final of the Champions League. Barcelona’s superiority collapsed and, with it, the popularity of tiki-taka. Spain, the 2011 defending champions, couldn’t even make it out of the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
🗣 “In 2010, Barcelona won the World Cup, not Spain.”
– Eric Cantona. 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/arZJStznRD
– Euro Cup Tweet (@Football__Tweet) August 29, 2018
One of the main reasons for his downfall is the absence of conventional coaches. Soccer continues to evolve in one way or another. The new generation of soccer coaches have a different set of ideas and rules that prevents them from playing tik-taka.
The defensive philosophy has also improved over time, as defenders are now so good on the ball that they can also initiate dangerous counterattacks. Something that could be detrimental to a side that plays in the opposite field for so long.
We all believed that tika-taka had died, but it seems that Luis Enrique and Roberto Mancini somehow made it work for them at Euro 2020.
TIKI-TAKA AT EURO 2020
We all expected Spain to play their same old football, but Mancini surprised us when even Italy started playing their own kind of tiki-taka football at the tournament.
Possession is the name of the game for the teams that play tika-taka and Italy has ordered that department looking at their statistics in the group stage. They completely dominated the ball in their first 3 games and also had more possession than their opponents in the knockout stages.
They have kept the pressure high since we watched Immobile and Berardi charge the ball in the final third countless times.
Like the Spaniards, Italy has also been working the ball around the edge of the area and, to back that up with statistics, they have had over 600 passes in 4 of the 5 games they have played so far. Italy has also maintained a high line at the rear, a classic brand of teams that play tiki-taka.
At this point, you must be wondering what Italy is doing to make their game different from Spain. The difference is in the midfield. The Spanish use their midfielders to create their main chances, while Itlay plays a bit more defensively in that regard.
We have seen Jorginho and Locatelli play more defensively rather than contribute in the final third, while, apart from Sergio Busquets, the rest of the central players are mainly on the edge of the area. That’s why Italy has a better defensive record in this year’s Euro so far and Spain is struggling a bit at the rear.
It is going to be an interesting match as, for the first time, two teams playing tiki-taka style of soccer are about to face off. It’s going to be a fierce battle of possession as the team that has the most participation The ball is destined to dominate and create more scoring chances. Both sides will be looking for a better start, as an early goal would ruin the receiving team’s game plan.
The success that Itlay and Spain have achieved at Euro 2020 will encourage different clubs around the world to bet once again on tiki-taka football. This year’s euros could change football as we know it for years to come.