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Handball? No. The Spaniards performed a record vertical tiki-taka

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The history of the world championships does not remember such domince in one match. In the duel with Costa Rica, the Spaniards scored seven goals, did not concede a single one, did not give the opponent a single shot on goal, they themselves shot 16 times, made 1043 passes and in 82% of cases kept the ball at their feet. Why was their tiki-taka so colorful? This is due to the practiced interaction and straightforwardness with many defensive passes.

At the 2018 World Cup, Spain recorded 1,115 assists in the playoffs against Russia, according to Opta statistics. But including the extension. So 1043 assists (again according to Opta) from the duel with Costa Rica is a new World Cup record for the number of assists per game in regular time. As well as 974 successful passages. Three players – Laporte, Rodri and Alba – have racked up over 100 assists, which is also unheard of. In total, the Costa Ricans completed only 165 passes.

How could the Spaniards come up with such staggering numbers? Just. Coach Luis Enrique believes that success in modern football is primarily determined by conscious teamwork. Whoever has it, and even automated, is faster than the opponent.

If we look at the Spanish squad against Costa Rica, with two exceptions (Asensio, Azpilicueta), players with tiki-taku on their little fingers either in training in Barcelo (Olmo, who works in Leipzig, grew up in La Masia) or in Guardiola’s lessons were on the field at Manchester City (Rodri, Laporte). No one needs to initiate them into the magic of creating the triangles required for a flash combo. Both Asensio and Azpilicueta know this, because Spanish education as a whole is built on this basis.

But at the same time, everyone understood that tiki-taka should also develop. That Guardiola’s Barcelo version of him today wouldn’t be enough for what critics say was a boring side-to-side handball game.

The Spanish tiol team offered a more straightforward form at the premiere in Qatar. This is evidenced by 84 punching passes (70 accurate). For this, there should not be many jerks behind the opponent’s defense on the field, many exchanges of places, mixing of individual rows.

Enrique’s orchestra stuck to these notes with aplomb. All the players were constantly circling the lawn, not chaotically, but systematically. The fact that they were still compact (next to each other) is evidenced by the average distance of the passages, which was 17 meters (for Costa Rica it was 21.5 meters).

The variability was also supported by the composition of the attacking formation. The starting eleven lacked the classic nine. In the Czech Republic, even today, an avalanche of criticism would fall on the coach for this. Voices that cannot be played without a chrotak continue to hold a strong position in the country. It looks like a constant bargaining, it is better to play with one striker or two.

Spaniards next. They know that the modern attacking phase requires the whole team to be involved and the participation of seven to eight players in finishing actions inside or in front of the opponent’s pelty area. Therefore, Asensio played the role of a false nine, and Olmo and Torres swung on the flanks. But you still didn’t know who had what post, because they kept changing them.

Then the opponent’s defense does not know where to jump earlier, as in the picture with Olmo’s precisely timed dash for the defensive line and Gavi’s arc heading there, leading to the first goal against the Costa Rican.

Almost everyone participated in the attack, in the photo there are eight players in the attacking phase
Attack of the Spaniards behind the back, which led to the first goal

Spanish domince against Costa Rica

Goals: 7

Missiles: 16

Passes: 1043

Accurate transfers: 974

Holding the ball: 82%

Group E


one one 0 0 7:0 3

one one 0 0 2:1 3

one 0 0 one 1:2 0

Costa Rica
one 0 0 one 0:7 0

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