The Norman Transcript

Sports

July 10, 2014

Down to a science

PORTO SEGURO, Brazil — Germany has taken the “tiki-taka” passing game so intrinsically used by Spain to another level at the World Cup in Brazil, by adding ruthless efficiency to the possession philosophy.

Germany is one win from capturing its fourth World Cup title following the astonishing 7-1 demolition of host Brazil in the semifinals.

Spain beat Germany at two major tournaments and coach Joachim Loew was so impressed by the Spanish game that he has taken over many aspects and, of course, added some of his own flourishes.

Germany likes possession, just as Spain did, but Loew’s team avoids endless wide passing and prefers to push forward at every occasion.

When Germany wins the ball in its half, Loew wants his players to pass it quickly forward, hoping to outnumber the opposing defense.

The result is that Germany creates many chances and scores plenty of goals.

Spain’s minimalists scored eight goals in winning the 2010 World Cup — Germany already has 17 here, with one match remaining to play.

Spain beat Germany in the final of the 2008 European Championship and again in the semifinals of the 2010 World Cup.

But while Spain’s game was based on endless possession and passing until an occasional chance was created, Loew’s lineup is happy to attack and take risks.

“We want possession but that is only one factor in our game,” Loew said earlier in the tournament. “We want to keep the ball low, we want to avoid long and high balls and we want quick transition. We need to improve our efficiency.”

It worked perfectly against Brazil, as the historic result illustrates.

It may help that six of Germany’s field players come from Bayern Munich, which has been coached by Pep Guardiola for one season. Guardiola was the mastermind of “tiki-taka” and won 14 titles in four seasons in charge of Barcelona, including two Champions League crowns. Barcelona inspired Spain’s game that brought two European championships and a World Cup title.

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