WC 2014 Column


Day 7-8 Summary: Hoy se Murió el Tiki-Taka

By Gabriel Cazotto

    Vienna, June 22, 2008, Italy and Spain had just draw by 0-0 in the quarterfinals of the European Championship. Di Natale had lost the penalty for Italy, the current world champions. Fàbregas was positioned to take Spain’s last one, the one that would qualify them for the Semi Finals, the whole weight of Spain was at this ball, all the weight of a team told, until that day, as overrated by all, “La Furia” by the ancient nickname that never passed to the quarterfinals in any way, even with talented players and teams through the years, until the goal scored by Fàbregas.

    This goal created a football supremacy that lasted exactly 5 years and 361 days, and came to die today in a full packed Maracanã for the other Roja, the original one, Chile.

    For nearly six years the Tiki-Taka style of play that was steeped in Spanish football, dictated by the rhythm of Barcelona, ??Xavi, Iniesta, Luis Aragonés, Casillas, Vicente Del Bosque enchanted the world, for 6 years in which the ball possession involved opponents as if they were completely silly through short passes like the tic tac of a clock, this would led Spain to win two European Championships in a row and the last World Cup.

    Without Xavi and Casillas in their best years, both central pillars of this squad’ without the fable mobile striker, the false 9 that was used in 2010 with Villa and with Fàbregas in 2012, with a more vertical game without their trademark (today Spain only managed to have only 55% of the ball, while the average in 2010 was almost 68%), without having el "Balón" in their feet, Spain was an easy prey for a fast Chilean team, which reinforced by Vidal, and especially the exceptional Aránguiz, played at the speed of the wingers Vargas and Alexis Sanchez to kill Spain in the first half 2-0. Spain, now, will have to rethink a new way to play football, since he does have a lot of young talents.

    Chile and the Netherlands are the first qualified to second round, the last one which suffered more than enough to overcome a very brave Australian side, van Persie and Robben again were brilliant, while Sneijder once again was only a shadow of himself. By little, but very little indeed, Spain would still be alive today, more for Australia than for them.

    Croatia and Cameroon ended the day asking ourselves, is 5 teams too much for Africa to have during the World Cup, as only one manages to play well in the World Cup since 1986? Wouldn’t be more prudent to increase the quality of the tournament by giving them only 4 spots and one to Europe? Instead of this toothless lion we managed to lost an European team of the caliber of Sweden’s Ibrahimovic, Denmark’s Eriksen or Ukraine’s Yarmolenko / Garmash / Konoplyanka offensive trio)? Or maybe change the style of the African qualifiers. Cameroon made a mediocre game, and was summarily run over by this great Croatian team. Maybe it was better that they had not shipped to the World Cup as the players wanted and even sent another African, to the competition, like the talented Egyptian team.

    But that is something to consider for Russia in 2018, because:

"Hoy 18 Junio ??2014 en el Maracaná se Murió el Tiki-Taka. Gracias por todo! "

Man of Matches:

Robin van Persie - NED
Charles Aránguiz - CHL
Ivan Perisic - CRO

A lesson of Uruguayan Bravery

    Uruguay underestimated Costa Rica? Underestimated. Uruguay hasn’t beaten a European side since 1970 when they won against USSR? Yes, they haven’t. Uruguay was given as eliminated by almost all sports press? Yes, they were.

    But any connoisseur of the Uruguayan football, mainly Brazilians, accustomed to seeing mediocre teams of Peñarol and Nacional come to Brazil in Libertadores and won games against better Brazilian teams, you know you should never underestimates La Celeste. Then imagine a team that has nothing mediocre on them, that has nothing less than an attack duo with Suarez-Cavani.

    In São Paulo, with a climate that suited well both the Londoner and Montevideo, Celeste was Celeste, they had the race, the bravery of the 90’s Uruguay which won their games based only on bravery and tears, as shown by Alvaro Pereira, the Palito, which was knocked out, fainted and refused to leave the game. In Uruguay you bleeds Celeste, but you never left the field during a battle. But Uruguay also show the football technique who mad the squad win everything during the 30’s, especially in the art and technique of Suarez as in his bravery, who a month ago had an arthroscopy, and like Baresi in 1994 was a giant in his return in less than a month.

    São Paulo was prepared to see a possible extermination of a 64 years ghost, not seen. São Paulo saw a lesson not only of Uruguayan bravery, but a lesson of Resurrection, Costa Rica stuck the knife in the heart of Uruguay, but also nobody killed Uruguay. Nobody.... and we all know what happens if you maintain Uruguay alive.

    Contrary to what seems, England still has an outside chance, they have to beat Costa Rica by a lot of goals (if Italy wins the Central American team tomorrow) and hope for the Azurri also beat the Uruguayans.

    If Celeste was the protagonist, this was really a South American afternoon; Colombia accomplished their best result ever in a World Cup. The “Yellow Fever” that invaded Brasilia beat the Ivorian’s and passed to the second stage of the World Cup, something that since Valderrama, Rincon and Higuita in 1990 haven’t done, and playing a beautiful football, especially with James, Quintero and Cuadrado. Imagine if they had Falcao!

    A South America afternoon that seems to culminate in a first day of the round of 16 with the feelings of a Copa America, with a possible Brazil vs. Chile followed by Colombia vs. Uruguay.

    In the last game of the night with 10, the Greeks honored the name of his bus, "The Greeks plays as heroes" and they played, and the way they do best, setting a defensive phalanx against the fast Japanese squad. Even without scoring, the Greeks are still in contention, but only a victory over Ivory Coast will qualify them to an unprecedented sort the second phase. An Ivory Coast who inexplicably continues to leave Drogba on the bench.

    Japan will need to beat this sensational Colombia, where I suppose will use a reserve squad and Mondragón can beat the record of Roger Milla and play the World Cup with 43 years old.

And Uruguay is still alive.... still alive. Bad omen for Brazil.

Man of the Matches:

James Rodríguez - COL
Luis Suarez - URU
Kostas Manolas - GRE



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