In the hundred and eighty-first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan, Andrés and Peter look back on a weekend of action that left River Plate and Boca Juniors joint top of the table as they prepare to head into their clash at La Bombonera on the 3rd May (there are no matches this weekend). The two will also clash twice after that in the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores, but we’ll do a full preview of those matches next week; this time round we look at Racing and Independiente, who both drew their matches 0-0 last weekend, and consider some of the league’s less heralded heroes so far. This week’s history bit has Dan telling us about the time Alfredo Di Stéfano was kidnapped by a Venezuelan group of political protesters. HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America.
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There’s no Mystic Sam this week, but as a team we’re predicting a River win over Huracán in Saturday’s Supercopa Argentina, and for Aldosivi to turn their 1-0 advantage with an hour to play into a win away to Arsenal when that match is finished (which is what Sam originally predicted for that game anyway), also on Saturday.
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.
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