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!

You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.


Episode 169: River win the Copa Sudamericana, and Racing hope to take the league on Sunday

The hundred and sixty-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod is going online rather late this week, mostly because Sam’s computer was out of order for a while, delaying the editing process. In it, Sam and Andrés discuss River Plate’s long-awaited return to international glory, after they claimed their first international trophy in seventeen years by winning the Copa Sudamericana (the continent’s second most important competition) on Wednesday night. What should River aim at next year, and would this highly successful 2014 have been possible had the club not been relegated in 2011, among other considerations? We then move our focus to preview Sunday’s two league title deciders, as leaders Racing host Godoy Cruz and second-placed River (them again) visit Quilmes. Is there any chance at all that Racing will do a Racing and cock it up? Could River complete an unlikely double? Sunday’s matches both kick off at 8:30pm Argentine time (11:30pm Greenwich Mean Time), and we’ll be back late next week to fill you in on what happens.

As ever, Mystic Sam’s previews for this weekend’s matches are below. You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s final weekend predictions
Racing v Godoy Cruz
Quilmes v River

Episode 168: A decent week for River Plate, Racing close in on the title and more

The hundred and sixty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Andrés and Peter recording in Sam’s new living room, with the traffic noise of Avenida Santa Fe drifting in through the (closed) windows. There’s plenty to discuss, because it’s been a week since River Plate saw off Boca Juniors 1-0 in an epic Copa Sudamericana semi-final clash, and just a day (at the time of recording) since they secured a 1-1 draw in Medellín against Atlético Nacional to give themselves a decent chance in their home leg of the final, next Wednesday. We also look back on the three most important games of last weekend, which saw Lanús drop out of the title race as Racing stayed top with a 3-0 win away to Rosario Central, and River clung to their coat-tails to take the title race to a postponed last weekend with a thrilling 3-2 win over Banfield, which included Fernando Cavenaghi’s 100th and 101st goals for the club. All this, and much more…

As ever, Mystic Sam’s previews for this weekend’s matches are below. You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s nineteenth round predictions
Estudiantes v Tigre
Vélez v San Lorenzo
Atlético de Rafaela v Arsenal
Olimpo v Defensa y Justicia
Banfield v Central
Belgrano v Independiente
Boca v Gimnasia
Newell’s v Lanús

Episode 165: We are four, River finally lose, AFA make more championship changes and more

The hundred and sixty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod was recorded late in the week, because Friday was the fourth anniversary – one whole World Cup cycle! – of our first ever episode going online. Sam is joined by one of the HOPers from that first episode, English Dan, as well as by Andrés, Peter and Gustavo, to look back on a week which had just about everything in Argentine football; a highly controversial refereeing performance, a tightening title race as River Plate’s club record unbeaten run finally came to an end, the Argentine FA making more changes to the structure of the next few championships, football-related deaths in depressing quantities, and a lot more besides. We also asked you, the listeners, to tweet and email us some of your favourite Argentine football memories from the last four years. We hope you’ve enjoyed the ride so far, as we embark on our fifth year…

As ever, Mystic Sam’s previews for this weekend’s matches are below. You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s sixteenth round predictions
DyJ v Atlético de Rafaela
Central v Vélez
Gimnasia v Banfield
San Lorenzo v Belgrano
Quilmes v Racing
Godoy Cruz v Estudiantes
Tigre v Newell’s
River v Olimpo
Arsenal v Boca
Independiente v Lanús

(at the time of uploading, the first two matches had already been played – Sam got the first one wrong, and the second one right)

Episode 164: Racing on a roll, rain halting play and River & Boca aim for the Sudamericana semis

Episode 164 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by English Dan for a congenial afternoon espresso and a chat about the past week in Argentine football. No fewer than four Primera matches were rained off last weekend, including those of the top three in the table, which allowed Racing, with a fifth win in seven matches, to move into third place. Dan, of course, is eager to give them full credit for this, and Sam humours him. We cast our eye over some of the rest of the league as usual, before looking forward to the second legs of the Copa Sudamericana quarter-finals involving Argentine sides; Boca Juniors’ trip to Asunción to take on Cerro Porteño was kicking off shortly as this episode was uploaded, whilst River Plate v Estudiantes de La Plata gets underway in a few hours. This week’s episode is a short one – ideal for sharing with your friends if they’ve not listened before!

As ever, Mystic Sam’s previews for this weekend’s matches are below. You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s fifteenth round predictions
Lanús v Arsenal
Olimpo v Quilmes
Atlético de Rafaela v Godoy Cruz
Belgrano v Defensa y Justicia
Independiente v Gimnasia
Estudiantes v Central
Racing v Banfield
Boca v Tigre
Vélez v River
Newell’s v San Lorenzo

Episode 163: Carlos Tevez returns to the Argentina fold, and just how good are River Plate?

In episode 163 of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Peter and Andrés to discuss Carlos Tevez’s return to the Argentine national team, ahead of the upcoming friendlies in England against Croatia at Upton Park and Portugal at Old Trafford. After that, we spend a good while wondering just how good this current River Plate team are, after Marcelo Gallardo’s boys beat Estudiantes 2-1 in the Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday evening to make it 29 matches unbeaten in all competitions – equalling River’s best unbeaten run of the professional era, and leaving them just two short of the longest unbeaten run in the club’s entire history. Does this say more about the current state of the Argentine league than anything else? After that, we look at the rest of the league. Listeners’ questions include just how things are going for Juan Román Riquelme’s Argentinos Juniors.

As ever, Mystic Sam’s previews for this weekend’s matches are below. You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s fourteenth round predictions
Banfield v Olimpo
Godoy Cruz v Belgrano
Gimnasia v Racing
Quilmes v Vélez
Central v Atlético de Rafaela
Tigre v Lanús
San Lorenzo v Boca
River v Estudiantes
Arsenal v Independiente
Defensa y Justicia v Newell’s

Episode 159: The October 2014 Superclásico preview

In the hundred and fifty-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Andrés, Gustavo and Joel to preview this Sunday’s clash between River Plate and Boca Juniors in the Monumental. We give an overview of the history of the fixture (and who better to guide us through it than Joel, who wrote the book on the rivalry?), and bring things up to date with a look at how both sides’ campaigns have gone so far. A look at last weekend in the Torneo de Transición follows, with Newell’s Old Boys’ unbeaten record brought to an end by Banfield, and Racing starting to look competent again (give it a week…). The superclásico on Sunday will be live to the world for free on YouTube via Fútbol Para Todos’ channel – this is the only preview you need for it.

As ever, Mystic Sam’s previews for this weekend’s matches are below. You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s tenth round predictions
Gimnasia v Vélez
Banfield v Belgrano
San Lorenzo v Tigre
Defensa y Justicia v Arsenal
Quilmes v Newell’s
Olimpo v Estudiantes
River v Boca
Racing v Atlético de Rafaela
Central v Lanús
Godoy Cruz v Independiente

Episode 156: River Plate extend their lead & more nonsense from the AFA

In the hundred and fifty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Peter and Andrés are joined, surprisingly, by Neil Clack and we discuss a week of enormous confusion in the headquarters of the Argentine Football Association; dates have been moved back and forth for not one, not two, but three different competitions, but we give you the definitive say on when the superclásico will be played: it’s the 5th October. Well, it was when we recorded anyway. Who knows when it will be now. We also talk about River Plate’s continued impressive performances, ask whether Boca are improving in anything more than results, spend a good deal of time laughing at Racing (well, they make it so easy for us) and tack on a quick bit of chat at the end about Colombia’s World Cup captain Mario Yepes, who looks like he’s joining San Lorenzo.

As ever, Mystic Sam’s predictions for this weekend are below (by the time this episode was uploaded, Gimnasia v Defensa y Justicia had already come and gone, and landed him a correct prediction with Defensa running out 3-0 winners). You can subscribe to us on iTunes and Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter too.

Mystic Sam’s seventh round predictions
Gimnasia v Defensa y Justicia
San Lorenzo v Godoy Cruz
Tigre v Central
Atlético v Estudiantes
Independiente v Quilmes
Lanús v Banfield
Belgrano v Vélez
Boca v Racing
Arsenal v River
Newell’s v Olimpo

Episode 155: Bianchi sacked, River go top, Di María’s star showing for Argentina & more

The hundred and fifty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod is a rather long one, because we’ve had a lot to cover; Sam, Peter and Andrés are joined by a special guest, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Sebastian Hassett, who’s been touring South America since the World Cup finished. We have two rounds of domestic action to look back on since the last episode, and those have included the sacking by Boca Juniors of Carlos Bianchi, their victory (and impressive performance) over Vélez Sarsfield in the first match of new man Rodolfo Arruabarrena’s spell in charge, River Plate going top of the table with another couple of very good showings, Tigre manager Fabián Alegre finally being sacked after a year of solid defending but disappointing attacking… oh, and also a few Copa Sudamericana games, the Avellaneda clásico in which Independiente beat Racing 2-1, and the small matter of an Ángel Di María-inspired Argentina thrashing Germany 4-2 in Düsseldorf on Wednesday – we take it as an excuse to discuss the impact he could have for Manchester United, as well as looking at how Gerardo Martino’s Argentina might be made up.

Mystic Sam’s predictions for the sixth round are below. Don’t forget you can subscribe to us on iTunes and Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s sixth round predictions
Atlético v Gimnasia
Vélez v Newell’s
Estudiantes v Belgrano
Banfield v Independiente
Central v San Lorenzo
Godoy Cruz v Defensa y Justicia
Racing v Lanús
River v Tigre
Olimpo v Boca
Quilmes v Arsenal

Episode 151: previewing the Torneo de Transición and more

In the hundred-and-fifty-first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Santi, Andrés and Peter have a lot of explaining to do. That’s because the new season is upon us, and it behoves us to explain why we’re entering a ‘transitional championship’ and what exactly we’re transitioning to (erm, we don’t really know at this stage, and the AFA don’t seem 100% decided either). We ask which sides did best in the winter transfer window, which sides did worse, and whether Racing can once again flatter to deceive having apparently strengthened impressively. Can River Plate defend their title? Will Boca Juniors finally step out of Juan Román Riquelme’s shadow? These and many more issues are dealt with. We also take a look at San Lorenzo’s Copa Libertadores final, which is currently 1-1 after the first leg, with the second leg to come in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

Mystic Sam’s predictions for the first round are below. Don’t forget your subscription options: we’re available on iTunes or Stitcher, and are also on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s first round predictions
Godoy Cruz v Banfield
Central v Quilmes
Arsenal v Estudiantes
Defensa y Justicia v Racing
Independiente v Atlético
Boca v Newell’s
Gimnasia v River
Tigre v Vélez
Lanús v Belgrano