Episode 188: The 2015 Copa América preview episode!

11 Jun

The hundred and eighty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Andrés and English Dan gather for an uncharacteristically early recording session, defying a national strike to see to it that you get your weekly dose of nonsense. We begin with a look at the last weekend of action in the Argentine Primera, in which San Lorenzo’s lead at the top was cut by Boca Juniors with a thumping 4-0 win at home to Newell’s Old Boys, but River Plate threw away the chance to stay level with Boca by only drawing away to Olimpo. Dan’s presence means Racing are up for discussion again, but the main focus is of course the Copa América, which gets underway on Thursday evening when hosts Chile take on Ecuador. We give you the lowdown on (in our opinion) the main contenders – using Sam’s newly-patented ‘how many players in their mid-twenties do each squad have?’ metric (eat your heart out, Nate Silver!), and of course go particularly big on Lionel Messi & co., who are looking to finally claim Argentina’s first senior trophy since the 1993 Copa. HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America.

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Episode 187: San Lorenzo lead as Boca lose again and River get a controversial win

4 Jun

In the hundred and eighty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Andrés and Gustavo meet to discuss the penultimate weekend of Primera División action before the league breaks for the Copa América. San Lorenzo are out on their own at the top due to a win over Quilmes combined with Boca Juniors losing for a second successive week, this time away to Vélez Sarsfield. River Plate got a slightly controversial win over Rosario Central, prompting us to ask whether Ramiro Funes Mori is the Argentine league’s answer to John Terry (because he seems to get away with a penalty decision every game, not all the… other stuff); we also look back on River’s Copa Libertadores progression last week, and Racing’s exit to Guaraní, both of which happened after episode 186 was recorded. As Gustavo is here, there’s a roundup of lower division action as well, focussing mainly on the Nacional B so far this year. HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America.

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Mystic Sam’s fifteenth round predictions (last week: 4/15)
Banfield v Sarmiento
Gimnasia v Unión
Argentinos v Quilmes
San Lorenzo v Belgrano
Temperley v Lanús
Colón v Huracán
Crucero del Norte v San Martín
Godoy Cruz v Arsenal
Atlético de Rafaela v Chicago
Boca v Newell’s
Central v Independiente
Olimpo v River
Racing v Vélez
Defensa y Justicia v Estudiantes
Tigre v Aldosivi

Episode 186: The Argentine reaction to the FIFA arrests, Argentina’s Copa América squad and more

28 May

In the hundred and eighty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Andrés to discuss another lively week. There’s talk about the reaction in Argentina to this week’s FIFA arrests in Zurich, and how they affect Argentina (oh, how we wish Julio Grondona had lived long enough to have been bundled into the back of one of those electric cars), though we’re sceptical about how much will change. We then cover last weekend’s league action, during which Aldosivi dismantled Boca Juniors’ unbeaten league record and San Lorenzo beat Sarmiento to move joint top – River Plate’s chance to join them didn’t come, as their game away to Tigre was the only Primera game of the weekend to be delayed by the AFA decision to cancel the remainder of the weekend’s matches out of respect for Cristian Gómez, the Paraná defender who died of a heart attack during his side’s game against Boca Unidos on Sunday afternoon. We were deeply pessimistic about River’s chances of Copa Libertadores progression just after this episode was recorded, but as it happened we should have been more cheery – River got a 3-0 second leg win to qualify for the semi-final. HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America.

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Mystic Sam’s fourteenth round predictions (last week: 3/14)
Quilmes v San Lorenzo
Newell’s v Banfield
Belgrano v Gimnasia
Unión v Godoy Cruz
Independiente v Tigre
Sarmiento v Argentinos
Chicago v Temperley
Vélez v Boca
San Martín v Defensa y Justicia
Estudiantes v Colón
Aldosivi v Racing
River v Central
Arsenal v Crucero
Huracán v Atlético de Rafaela
Lanús v Olimpo

Episode 185: The fallout from Boca Juniors’ Copa Libertadores disqualification and more

19 May

The hundred and eighty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Peter talking about the only thing anyone in Argentine football has been discussing in the last few days – the pepper spray-and-acid attack by the Boca Juniors barra brava (or a ‘dissident faction’ thereof) on River Plate’s players which saw the second half of the Copa Libertadores quarter-final superclásico called off, and Boca disqualified from this year’s competition. The political ramifications at the club and for Argentine Security Secretary Sergio Berni (who claimed the security operation had been a roaring success), Boca’s protestations and appeals, whether CONMEBOL were too lenient with their punishment and more are all on the table. The tragic death of Emanuel Ortega which caused the calling-off of last weekend’s league fixtures means Mystic Sam remains almost unchanged in his predictions this time, though there has been one adjustment compared to last week’s readings; he now thinks Estudiantes can win away to Atlético de Rafaela. HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America.

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Episode 184: One more superclásico, Independiente’s Europe-bound players, Argentina squads and more

14 May

UPDATE: Sadly, since we recorded this episode on Wednesday night, Banfield youngster Emanuel Ortega (on loan to San Martín de Burzaco) died early on Thursday morning of head injuries sustained in a match last week when he collided with a perimeter wall. The AFA have suspended all domestic football across Argentina this weekend. Hand Of Pod’s thoughts are with Ortega’s family and friends. QEPD.

In the hundred and eighty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Peter and Andrés look back on a goal-laden weekend of Primera División action, and on last week’s Copa Libertadores last sixteen first leg between River Plate and Boca Juniors. We consider what River’s 1-0 win means for Thursday night’s return leg, and domestically we discuss Crucero del Norte’s uselessness, Belgrano’s and Rosario Central’s good campaigns, and Independiente’s chances of losing three players to various European clubs, as well as Federico Mancuello’s hilarious red card on Sunday night against Boca, and why he won’t be suspended for this Sunday’s clásico away to Racing, which we also preview. Listen before Thursday’s Libertadores second leg between Boca and River for the full experience, but there’s plenty more in store if you don’t get here until afterwards! HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America. And you can listen to Sam’s live ‘commentary’ on Boca Juniors v River Plate for Rabble TV over here – mute the commentators on your TV/stream, and tune in here instead. He might be drunk by the end of the game, but he’ll probably make at least as much sense anyway.

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Mystic Sam’s thirteenth round predictions (last week: 7/15)
Argentinos v Newell’s
Temperley v Huracán
Arsenal v Unión
Olimpo v Chicago
Banfield v Vélez
San Lorenzo v Sarmiento
Atlético de Rafaela v Estudiantes
Racing v Independiente
Crucero v Defensa y Justicia
Central v Lanús
Godoy Cruz v Belgrano
Boca v Aldosivi
Tigre v River
Gimnasia v Quilmes
Colón v San Martín

Episode 183: Reviewing Sunday’s superclásico and previewing Thursday’s, plus San Lorenzo and more

7 May

In the hundred and eighty-third episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés are joined by Mariano, returning to the pod after a long absence, and new boy Federico, the second of our newly-acquired tame Boca Juniors fans. We look back on Boca’s 2-0 win over River Plate on Sunday in the league, and review the rest of the weekend’s action as well – including some thoughts from Mariano on San Lorenzo’s decline and Copa Libertadores exit. We then preview this Thursday’s clash between River and Boca at the Monumental in part two of the Superclásico Trilogy, in the first leg of their Copa Libertadores last sixteen tie. Will Sunday’s Boca win play a role in either manager’s thinking? Will we see unchanged teams? Which side has more pressure on them, and is a Libertadores last sixteen tie more or less important than a Copa Sudamericana semi-final? All these questions and more are addressed. And this week it’s only an hour and a bit long, so early birds have plenty of time to listen before the match! HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America.

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Mystic Sam’s twelfth round predictions (last week: 4/15)
Estudiantes v Temperley
Lanús v Tigre
Chicago v Central
Quilmes v Godoy Cruz
Newell’s v San Lorenzo
Huracán v Olimpo
Vélez v Argentinos
Unión v Crucero del Norte
Belgrano v Arsenal
San Martín v Atlético de Rafaela
Aldosivi v Banfield
Independiente v Boca Reserves
River Reserves v Racing Reserves
Defensa y Justicia v Colón
Sarmiento v Gimnasia

Episode 182: Previewing three superclásicos and catching up on other bits and pieces

30 Apr

In the hundred and eight-first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Andrés and Joel are joined by new boy – and Boca Juniors fan – Julian in an exciting week in Buenos Aires, as we gear up to watch three clashes between River Plate and Boca Juniors in just eleven days; two in the Copa Libertadores last 16, and first of all one in the league this Sunday. We discuss how both sides have come to be sitting joint first after ten matches, how recent superclásicos have gone and what we expect in the upcoming clashes – as well as why the choice of referees, especially for Sunday’s encounter, has caused such a big fuss. Prior to that, we have a round-up of the other recent action in Argentina, including a Copa Argentina catch-up and a look at the other sides in the Copa Libertadores knockout stages, because apparently there are some. HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America.

You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s eleventh round predictions (round ten: 6/15)
Godoy Cruz v Sarmiento
Olimpo v Estudiantes
Argentinos v Aldosivi
Gimnasia v Newell’s
San Lorenzo v Vélez
Racing v Lanús
Central v Huracán
Atlético de Rafaela v Defensa y Justicia
Banfield v Independiente
Tigre v Chicago
Boca v River
Unión v Belgrano
Arsenal v Quilmes
Crucero v Colón
Temperley v San Martín

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