Episode 267: Previewing Argentina’s two final World Cup qualifiers

The two hundred and sixty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod is a look at the Argentine national team as they approach two high-pressure World Cup qualifiers at home to Peru and away to Ecuador, which will either see them finally make it to Russia 2018 or not (all right, or end up in the playoff). Sam and English Dan give their thoughts on the four(!) lineups tried by Jorge Sampaoli in training on Tuesday, and discuss what needs to change from last month’s disappointing double header if the selección are to make it over the line at last. We also look at the weekend in the Superliga, where Boca Juniors kept up their 100% record – just – and Arsenal de Sarandí stunned Banfield to record their first points of the season.

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Last week, Mystic Sam and Mystic Chris drew 7-7 in the prediction battle. This week, Sam and Dan give their predictions for the last two rounds of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying action.

Bolivia v Brazil
Venezuela v Uruguay
Colombia v Paraguay
Chile v Ecuador
Argentina v Peru

Paraguay v Venezuela
Brazil v Chile
Ecuador v Argentina
v Colombia
Uruguay v Bolivia

Bolivia v Brazil
Venezuela v Uruguay
v Paraguay
Chile v Ecuador
Argentina v Peru

Paraguay v Venezuela
Brazil v Chile
Ecuador v Argentina
Peru v Colombia
Uruguay v Bolivia


In the two hundred and fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Andrés and English Dan for a look at last weekend’s Primera División action, which saw Boca Juniors fail to capitalise on a fine chance to claim the title after San Lorenzo had lost – Boca were well beaten by Racing, and will need a result at home to Tigre next weekend in order to avoid a nervy title-decider on the last weekend away to Rosario Central. Nueva Chicago got a spectacular 5-0 win at home to Newell’s Old Boys on a goal-packed weekend, but then had to watch as Colón got a 3-1 win over Arsenal – Colón’s first win in six matches – which means Chicago are five points adrift with two matches remaining. There was plenty more to discuss, from River Plate’s apathy towards the league to whether Daniel Oldrá is a better manager than Gabriel Heinze for Godoy Cruz (okay, not really much of a discussion on that last point). There’s no Argentine football this weekend apart from the Copa Argentina semi-finals on Friday night, and we preview those as well. HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America.

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Episode 202: Boca close in on the title and Argentina gear up for World Cup qualifying

The two hundred and second episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés convene to discuss a weekend of football which saw Boca Juniors open up an imposing six point lead at the top of the table with just three matches remaining. Following San Lorenzo and Rosario Central’s 2-2 draw, Boca struggled a bit but still beat Crucero del Norte 1-0, as a result of which Crucero, to no-one’s surprise, are relegated. Still clinging on to their Primera status – for now – are Nueva Chicago, who grabbed a 2-1 win over Vélez Sarsfield. River Plate put in an awful performance and were well beaten, 3-0 by Independiente, and Quilmes’ good form continued. This weekend the Primera takes a break for the first double-header of CONMEBOL’s marathon World Cup qualifying campaign, which will see a Lionel Messi-less Argentina host Ecuador on Thursday and travel to Paraguay on Tuesday. 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 World Cup Qualifying predictions (last week in the league: 7/15)
Argentina 3-0 Ecuador
Paraguay 1-2 Argentina

Episode 170: ¡Racing campeón! and a report from Morocco on San Lorenzo’s Club World Cup semi-final

The hundred and seventieth episode of Hand Of Pod is our last of 2014, and we leave on an unexpected note: Racing Club managed not to racinguear on Sunday, and are the new champions of Argentina. Sam and Andrés, River Plate fans, are for once outnumbered by Racing fans; English Dan, Ilan and the prodigal son of Hand Of Pod, Seba García. We discuss Racing’s fine end-of-championship form to lift the trophy, and where the side go from here. We also have a special appearance from Marrakesh by San Lorenzo fan Mariano, who’s travelled to watch his team at the Club World Cup; what did he make of the semi-final extra time win over Auckland City, and what does he expect for Saturday’s final against Real Madrid? You’ll have to listen to find out. The 2015 Primera fixture list has already been released, too, and we discuss that and look back on a memorable 2014 for Argentine football, which has seen Argentine clubs win both South American club cups, a highly entertaining championship all round during the second half of the year, and the small matter of the national side reaching the World Cup final. Good luck to San Lorenzo on Saturday, and may 2015 be every bit as memorable. Merry Christmas (or happy celebration of your choice) to our listeners, and we’ll be back in the new year!

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Episode 145: ¡River campeón!, a Colón v Atlético relegation tie-breaker and more

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!

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New recording kit for HOP in 2014

New recording kit
Many thanks to Doug Hart for our beautiful new microphone (and to Sam’s girlfriend for the mate sitting just behind it, though that’s a bit older)

It’s not very often we make a post which doesn’t contain a podcast episode – in fact, it’s so not often that it’s never – but this one deserves a post apart. As regular listeners will know, Sam has been talking for some time about the desire to upgrade the recording equipment we use on Hand Of Pod, and this summer that upgrade has been made: thanks to the courier services of our good friend Ralph Hannah, who brought it back from his Christmas holiday to London, we’ve taken delivery today of the Zoom H2n, our new recording device. This was paid for in its entirety by an extremely generous donation from regular HOP listener Doug Hart, who met Sam for a drink just after new year and veritably forced the cash upon him. Huge thanks to Doug, and we hope that you and the rest of the HOP listenership enjoy the pod in 2014, now (hopefully!) sounding better than ever before. The Torneo Final starts in two weeks’ time, and we’ll be recording a preview episode during the week prior to kick off.

Episode 53: Boca finally lose (twice), Messi’s genius and more, with Jonathan Wilson

The fifty-third episode of Hand Of Pod sees Seba return along with Sam, Dan and Dan, and a special guest appearance from football journalist, author and editor of The Blizzard, Jonathan Wilson. Topics up for discussion include Boca Juniors’ two straight defeats (after an eleven-month unbeaten run), Racing suddenly clicking against All Boys, and how Lionel Messi’s brilliance is so consistent we’ve almost stopped fully appreciating it. Jonathan has a bit of a rant about Juan Román Riquelme, we consider the tactics being used by Alejandro Sabella for the national team, and much more. Enjoy.

You can subscribe here on iTunes, and see Mystic Dan’s round 6 predictions for the Clausura – and the Pipino Cuevas goal for River against Racing mentioned by Seba – just below.

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