04 Jul Del Bosque Leaves Behind a Legendary Legacy – and Hopefully Also the ‘Tiki-Taka’
“…A new era starts for La Roja, and so does my article on it.” These were the words that I excitedly typed on a Whatsapp group to two of my good friends on Thursday the 30th of June, after reading that the (now former) Spanish national football team coach, Vicente del Bosque, had resigned from his post.
I was excited mainly for two reasons: One was that I had actually planned writing this very article from Monday the 27th of June— after my beloved Spain crashed out of this year’s European Championships currently being played in France— with inundated reasons why Del Bosque should quit; and secondly because the Thursday following that fateful Monday had marked the beginning of a new era for ‘La Roja’, as the Reds are affectionately known.
A 2-0 loss to Italy in the 16th Round of the Euros meant that Spain was dumped out of the tournament, and could no longer defend their title — which they have won in the previous two editions, in 2008 and 2012 affectionately — with Del Bosque. He also won the FIFA 2010 World Cup! It is for the above-mentioned that King Del Bosque leaves behind a legendary legacy — one that won’t easily be emulated.
What I love most about his many accolades is the manner in which they were won. Ever since I’ve started following Spain, the team has been known to play with a certain boldly offensive, attractive-looking style — commonly known as the ‘tiki-taka’— which is characterised by a myriad of short and quick passes, which famously hypnotises the opposition’s defence.
This is the same style that is employed by Spanish champions, FC Barcelona, and which most of us have come to love and enjoy. It has come to my attention that the King, of late, has been unable to be innovative with this style of play, imparting his team with a somewhat predictable game-play.
It is because of this that Spain has had to endure a horrifying World Cup campaign in Brazil 2014, and has continued on a downward trajectory at this year’s Euros. I’m certain that it’s not just because of the general predictability of the style of play, I mean Barça are still a force to be reckoned with in Europe, but maybe the 65-year-old coach has run out of new ideas.
There’s a wealth of talent in the players of Spain. Failing to reach at least the semi-finals of major tournaments makes it seem that the problem lies in how the talent is told to play.
My suggestion: bring in a younger coach who has been in charge of the youth structures at Barça. I don’t mean to be a Barça fan here, but that way you’ll ensure that the tiki-taka weapon remains a part of La Roja’s identity. Real Sociedad manager, Eusebio Sacristán for example, led the relatively ‘small’ La Real to a respectable ninth position in the highly-competitive Spanish La Liga, last season. In the process, the team beat Barça when they visited Real’s Anoeta stadium. See what I mean?