What does 'tiki-taka' mean? AP has you covered on World Cup terms

If you have no idea what terms like "false nine" and "zonal marking" mean, the AP has your back throughout the World Cup. That's good news for American editors on deadline (and maybe even for journalists at a bar with the AP Style app handy).

Here's the top of an advisory the AP sent to editors:

Does this sentence mean anything to you?

Using its famed “tiki-taka” approach, Spain is deploying a 4-2-3-1 formation with a false nine to try to break down Italy’s trademark “catenaccio” defense.

If it seems obscure, don’t worry. The Associated Press compiled a summary of these and other soccer idioms likely to be heard during the ongoing World Cup in Brazil.

One notable omission in the AP's World Cup Style Guide: How many "o"s in "gooooal"? But Poynter's Kristen Hare looked into that one last week, and here’s what Michael Giarrusso, AP’s global sports editor, told her:

“When Latin American announcers yell and stretch out the word goal, our recommendation is to add extra Os and exclamation points based on the duration and the volume of the scream. ‘Gooooal!’ would be a rather subtle yell. But, if Mexico were to score late in an important game, I could imagine a ‘Gooooooooooal!!!’”

More World Cup fun:

Related: How many ‘o’s in ‘Goooooal’? Editors prepare for World Cup

  • Sam Kirkland

    Sam Kirkland is Poynter's digital media fellow, focusing on mobile and social media trends. Previously, he worked at the Chicago Sun-Times as a digital editor, where he helped launch digital magazines and ebooks in addition to other web duties.


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