Episode 150: Julio Grondona is dead, and San Lorenzo are Libertadores finalists

One story dominates the hundred-and-fiftieth episode of Hand Of Pod, and we make no apologies for it: Sam and Andrés mark a landmark episode with discussion of Julio Grondona’s exit from his position as head of the Argentine FA, which came to pass in the manner he frequently said it would; in a coffin. The FIFA Vice-President died on Wednesday afternoon, and we ask what the consequences will be for the AFA and for FIFA. If you don’t believe in speaking ill of the dead, you might want to avoid this one. We also congratulate San Lorenzo on reaching their first ever Copa Libertadores final, ask whether outgoing Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella was the man who killed Grondona (sort of), and answer a few listeners’ questions. Thanks to all our listeners for helping us reach this milestone; here’s to another 150 episodes!

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Episode 149: Looking back on a successful World Cup for Argentina, and where to next?

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.

You can subscribe to HOP on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks to preview the new championship.

Episode 148: Alfredo Di Stéfano RIP & previewing Argentina’s World Cup semi-final

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.

As ever, a reminder that you can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

Episode 122: A World Cup qualifying roundup, previewing the Rosario derby and more

The hundred-and-twenty-second episode of Hand Of Pod gave us a lot to talk about, and it was quite an achievement to have got the final thing down to an hour and a half. Santi hosts in his new home for the first time, and Sam is also joined by German/Chinese/Relevant Dan and HOP debutant Jonathan Gilbert, author of a recent New York Times piece previewing this weekend’s clásico rosarino. We discuss Argentina’s World Cup qualifying campaign and what they need to improve between now and Brazil 2014, before looking back over a weekend of surprises in the league and asking whether Newell’s Old Boys already have the title sewn up. As already mentioned, Newell’s play their bitter enemies Rosario Central this weekend, and we also preview the return to the Primera  of perhaps the country’s most passionate derby.

As ever, Mystic Sam’s predictions are below. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to us on iTunes (other podcast services are available).

Mystic Sam’s twelfth round predictions
Quilmes v Rafaela
Argentinos v Estudiantes
Racing v Vélez
Gimnasia v Olimpo
Colón v Lanús
San Lorenzo v All Boys
Tigre v Arsenal
Central v Newell’s
River v Belgrano
Godoy Cruz v Boca

Episode 117: Argentina secure World Cup place, Argentinos lead league & River finally click

The hundred-and-seventeenth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Joel and Andrés discussing Argentina’s confirmation of their place in the Brazil 2014 World Cup, courtesy of an historic 5-2 away win over Paraguay on Tuesday night. After that, we move on to review a surprise-filled weekend of Torneo Inicial action which saw Mystic Sam get only one prediction correct. River Plate’s attack finally clicked (as did Olimpo’s), Racing avoided defeat, Newell’s were tonked by Vélez Sarsfield and more. Independiente also managed their first win in the B on Monday evening, a fact we completely forgot to mention even in passing. There’s always next week…

As usual, you’ll find Mystic Sam’s recommendations of what to absolutely, definitely not bet on this weekend below. And you can click here if you still haven’t subscribed to us on iTunes, and want to.

Mystic Sam’s predictions
Lanús v Argentinos
Belgrano v Vélez
All Boys v Quilmes
Newell’s v Olimpo
San Lorenzo v Godoy Cruz
Rafaela v Estudiantes
Tigre v Central
v Racing
Arsenal v River
Gimnasia v Colón

Episode 81: World Cup qualifying review, and the main domestic headlines

The eighty-first episode of Hand Of Pod is another bumper one, with a look back on Argentina’s 3-0 dispatching of Uruguay last Friday and Tuesday’s hard-fought 2-1 win away to Chile, as well as the main World Cup qualifying results in the rest of the CONMEBOL region, including an impressive Radamel Falcao García- and James Rodríguez-inspired win over Paraguay for Colombia. We then move on to the domestic scene, where the main story is Juan Antonio Pizzi’s confirmation as San Lorenzo manager, before answering a veritable barrage of listeners’ questions. Next week: the superclásico preview. Enjoy!

Mystic Sam’s predictions are below the line, and don’t forget you can click here to subscribe to us on iTunes, and follow our Twitter musings here.

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Episode 80: More love for Newell’s, another River win & previewing Argentina v Uruguay

Episode 80 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Joel welcome guest Ed Malyon to Buenos Aires, and in a bumper episode we go through last weekend’s Torneo Inicial action – which included a woeful loss for Boca Juniors, a very impressive win for leaders Newell’s Old Boys and a thumping 5-0 victory for River Plate against Godoy Cruz. We also answer listeners’ questions on the sons of ex players coming through club youth ranks and more, and cast our eyes over Argentina’s upcoming World Cup Qualifiers – at home to Uruguay on Friday and away to Chile on Tuesday. Enjoy.

No Mystic Sam this week, but don’t forget you can click here to subscribe to us on iTunes, and follow our Twitter musings here.