Spanish Playing Style

The Spanish style of play is referred to as ‘Tiki-Taka’ and is characterized by short passing, patience, and a high importance on possession.[1] Through forming triangles of passing lanes and making smart and easy passes, the Spanish hope to have at least 70% possession every game.[2] This style of play requires patient, intelligent, technically sound players who work well together. The whole strategy revolves around the idea that the opponent cannot win if they never have the ball and that continuous possession will eventually wear defenses down.

This year’s World Cup team sticks to the standard Spanish style of play, yet also has the offensive talent to add, making it even more difficult to defend for a full 90 minutes.[3] Coach Julen Lopetegui returns a team that remains virtually the same team from two years ago featuring David De Gea, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, David Silva and Álvaro Morata.[4]

“La Roja” had a dominant qualifying performance in Group G of the UEFA section, scoring 36 goals and only allowing three.[5] They have been one of the best teams in world soccer recently and look to continue this dominance in Russia. They hope to repeat their 2010 victory after making it out of their group of Portugal, Morocco, and Iran.

Below is a video, which showcases the typical Spanish Tiki-Taka style of play. Watch as FC Barcelona expertly possesses and moves the ball with ease.

See the video below for an overview of the team, how they qualified for the World Cup and what they have to do to come out victorious in Russia.


[1] Nadeau, Ben. “The Spanish National Team + The Tiki-Taka Playing Style.” CoachUp Nation, 3 Aug. 2016,

[2] Ibid

[3] Sweem. “World Cup 2018 Preview – Team-by-Team Analysis.” Betshoot, 11 Apr. 2018,

[4] sport, Guardian. “World Cup 2018: Team-by-Team Guide to All 32 Countries.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 1 Dec. 2017,

[5] “World Cup 2018 Team Preview: Spain.” SOCCER.COM, 01 Dec. 2017,


Go Back to Favorites

Go Back to World Cup Playing Styles

Author: Luke Berndt

How to cite this article: “Spanish Playing Style,” Written by Luke Berndt (2018) Soccer Politics Pages, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, (accessed on (date))