The hundred-and-forty-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan, Andrés and Gustavo look back on the semi-final and final of Argentina’s World Cup campaign, and on the tournament as a whole from the Argentine perspective. What went wrong, what went right, what could have better and more. We ask whether Lionel Messi had a good or a bad tournament, look at the reasons for his attacking colleagues not firing on all cylinders, and consider what might have been in the final. We also turn our attention to some names for the future, and consider how Argentina’s squad for the next World Cup, in Russia 2018, might look. At the time of posting, Alejandro Sabella hasn’t made a decision on whether or not he’ll continue in charge, but we also consider the good job he’s done so far, and ask who might take over if he does decide to go.
The hundred-and-forty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod was convened to discuss Argentina’s historic qualification for their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, but before we get on to that, we have to begin by bidding farewell to Alfredo Di Stéfano, whose arrival in Madrid in 1953 changed the history of European football. Sam, Peter and Santi are joined by Argentine football historian Esteban Bekerman, who provides a unique perspective on Di Stéfano’s place in Argentina’s football culture and tells us how his game developed from the early years as a fast-paced centre forward at Huracán and River Plate to become perhaps the greatest all-round player who ever kicked a ball. After that, we look at Argentina’s World Cup campaign so far; perhaps underwhelming performance-wise, but undoubtedly successful already given they’ve finally got past the barrier of the quarter-finals after so long waiting for a return to the semis. As listeners will realise towards the end, this episode was recorded before that astonishing Brazil 1-7 Germany first semi-final.
The hundred-and-forty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod is a very long one, we admit; but not without reason! Sam, Peter, Andrés and German Dan begin by looking at Independiente’s return to the Primera following a mildly controversial 2-0 victory over Huracán in a tie-breaker to decide third place on Wednesday afternoon. After that brief starter, we dig into the main course which, of course, is Argentina at the Brazil 2014 World Cup; whether Lionel Messi can step it up, who the other main players will be, how they’ll most likely line up, what lessons we could take from the friendlies and a lot more. There’s more time than usual given over to listeners’ questions, before as a dessert we have a brief chat about what we think of a few of the other nations. Enjoy.
We might be back after the group stages to sum up Argentina’s tournament so far (well, hopefully it’ll be ‘so far’), but there are no definite plans; the next time you’re certain to hear us will be ahead of the new championship, which starts on this first weekend of August. You can subscribe on iTunes or on Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.
The hundred-and-forty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Peter and Andrés discuss River Plate’s second trophy in a week (and their third in two weeks, if you’re particularly easily pleased), Colón’s relegation/Atlético de Rafaela’s survival, the Argentine national team a little bit, and Independiente’s chances of regaining Primera División status on Saturday, among other things. Soon, we’ll have a World Cup preview episode. For now, enjoy this one.
The hundred-and-forty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan, Peter, Gustavo and Andrés joined by a documentary film crew from the USA; the American Fútbol boys have been touring Latin America and filming their way around it in the run-up to the World Cup. Before we get on to their story, though, there’s plenty to review; starting with the end of another shocking season for Racing, but quickly moving on to the week’s biggest story, River Plate’s 35th Argentine top flight title, secured with a 5-0 thrashing of Quilmes last weekend. We also look at a near unbelievable end to the relegation struggle which is not, in fact, and end to the relegation struggle, since Colón and Atlético de Rafaela now have to play off to decide who goes down; that match will kick off roughly 12 hours after this podcast goes live (i.e. on Saturday afternoon). We have a general Torneo Final review including Boca Juniors’ runner-up spot, and much more. Enjoy!
The hundred-and-forty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod is recorded in Sam’s living room, and he, Peter and Andrés – backed by a dog, an antiquated and improperly removed former doorbell and a passing heavy goods train – discuss Argentina’s World Cup longlist, including why Carlos Tevez has NOT been left out for Franco Di Santo. We then move on to look at the last weekend of the Torneo Final, which begins on Friday but sees all its crunch matches on Saturday; will River Plate claim their first title since their return to the Primera? Will Estudiantes given Juan Sebastián Verón a trophy-winning send-off? Will Gimnasia finally end the wait for a professional Primera title? We also look at the relegation table, which sees Godoy Cruz enter the last weekend one point ahead of Colón and Atlético de Rafaela (if two or more sides end up tied on points, there’ll be a playoff to decide who goes down). Enjoy.
Mystic Sam’s nineteenth round predictions
All Boys v Belgrano
Central v Argentinos
Arsenal v Atlético de Rafaela
Godoy Cruz v Racing
Colón v Olimpo
River v Quilmes
Gimnasia v Boca
Tigre v Estudiantes
Lanús v Newell’s
San Lorenzo v Vélez
The hundred-and-forty-third episode of Hand Of Pod is upon us, and Sam, Peter and Andrés review another weekend of Torneo Final action as River Plate draw back level with Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata at the top – both have 31 points – with just two rounds of matches left. All Boys have been relegated following a 3-1 defeat to Boca Juniors, and there were tremendously entertaining matches between Arsenal and Newell’s Old Boys, and River and Racing – both of which ended 3-2. Wasn’t it just last week we were asking whether it was a dull league after very few goals had been scored? We ask why a barra brava group feel able to demand free World Cup tickets from the AFA, wonder who’ll replace ‘Mostaza’ Merlo as Racing manager, and try to explain how the bloody hell Copa Sudamericana qualification works, among other subjects.
Mystic Sam’s eighteenth round predictions
Olimpo v Godoy Cruz
Atlético de Rafaela v Tigre
Estudiantes v San Lorenzo
Newell’s v All Boys
Vélez v Colón
Racing v Central
Belgrano v Arsenal
Quilmes v Gimnasia
Boca v Lanús
Argentinos v River