Isco Gerard Pique Spain 2018Getty Images

Fabregas: I love tiki-taka but pointless passing taking Spain nowhere

Spain’s continued reliance on tiki-taka has left Cesc Fabregas bemused, with the 2010 World Cup winner suggesting that pointless passing caused La Roja's shock exit to Russia on Sunday.

During an era of dominance which delivered two European Championships and a global crown, pass and move was very much the order of the day.

Chelsea midfielder Fabregas formed part of those plans, alongside the creative instincts of Barcelona icons Andres Iniesta and Xavi.

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Spain have stuck with that philosophy as they chase down further major honours, but their efforts this summer are considered to have lacked a spark as they play in front of opponents rather than around them.

Fabregas told BBC Sport after seeing Fernando Hierro’s side dominate possession during the first half of a last-16 clash with Russia but go in at half-time level at 1-1 “They’re using the ball, I’m a big fan of tiki-taka, the beautiful game, but nothing’s happening.

“We haven’t seen any danger from the Spanish team, apart from a Diego Costa header and one shot outside the box from Isco.

“There have been chances to go forward, Diego Costa’s making the runs, there have been some runs. But all they do is they turn back, they go back, and they just want possession.

“And I think it’s more possession to defend, more than attack, and it should be the opposite.”

Spain were given warning that they need to raise their game during the group stage in Russia, as they collected just five points.

That tally was enough to top their standings and remain unbeaten, but they were breached five times in three outings and were unable to kill opponents off and see games out.

The second half against Russia produced no goals, and neither did extra time, leading to a tense penalty shootout at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Koke and Iago Aspas were denied by Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to give the host nation a 4-3 victory, and ensure a quarter-final against either Croatia or Denmark.