Episode 208: Argentina finally click in World Cup qualifying, and we gear up for the playoffs

The two hundred and eighth episode of Hand Of Pod is a relatively short one (by our standards), in which Sam and English Dan meet to discuss the encouraging improvement in Argentina’s performances in World Cup qualifying, which in the last week have seen them claim a (slightly unlucky) 1-1 draw at home to Brazil and a 1-0 win way to Colombia. Is Gerardo Martino’s ‘idea’ any clearer, and how will it be affected when Lionel Messi returns to the team? We also look forward to the pre-Sudamericana and pre-Libertadores liguillas (playoff tournaments) which are all that now remain of the Argentine Primera season for 2015, and have a rather inexpert go at working out which teams have been and might still be promoted from the second and third divisions. HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America.

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Episode 134: The title race takes shape, Argentina’s draw in Romania & a lower division chat

In the hundred-and-thirty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Peter, English Dan and Andrés, as well as Gustavo Malamud, an Atlanta fan. We discuss another double round of matches – we’re a third of the way through the Torneo Final already – in which it was a decent week for Colón and Newell’s Old Boys among others, a poor one for Racing (obviously) and Arsenal, and a more mixed one for other sides, including the two giants River Plate and Boca Juniors. We consider where the Argentine national side are in relation to where they’d like to be ahead of the World Cup, Gustavo gives us a primer on the Primera B – that’s the THIRD division – and we reveal what this season’s English Premier League relegation battle would look like if the Football Association decided to adopt the Argentine relegation system (many thanks to Tim Venables for that!).

Mystic Sam’s seventh round predictions are below. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to us on iTunes here – and starting this week, Android and iOS users can also subscribe on Stitcher. You’ll find our page here. And please, if you like us, leave a review on either service!

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