Episode 203: Argentina aren’t much cop without Messi, and will the title be decided this weekend?

In the two hundred and third episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Andrés, English Dan and Fran to look back on a disappointing start to Argentina’s World Cup qualifying campaign, in which without Lionel Messi to provide the inspiration they looked listless and took just one point from matches at home to Ecuador (a 2 -0 defeat) and away to Paraguay (0-0). Why was there no centre forward to call on when Sergio Agüero got injured? Is it worth continuing to call up Carlos Tevez? Is Javier Mascherano being used in the right role? These are just some of the questions we consider. After that, there’s the small matter of Boca Juniors possibly winning the league on Sunday night, when they face Racing, and the rest of a tasty-looking weekend of league action ahead. 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 twenty-eighth round predictions (from Argentina’s WCQs: 0/2)
Crucero del Norte v Independiente
Huracán v Sarmiento
Lanús v Vélez
Estudiantes v Quilmes
San Martín v Belgrano
Colón v Arsenal
Atl. Rafaela v Godoy Cruz
Chicago v Newell’s
Olimpo v San Lorenzo
Central v Argentinos
Tigre v Banfield
Racing v Boca
River v Aldosivi
Defensa y Justicia v Unión
Temperley v Gimnasia