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.