This is it: the episode we’ve been building up to for twelve years. In the four hundred and forty-seventh HOP, Sam, English Dan, Santi, Julián and Chris take in, and try to dissect, the fact that Lionel Messi’s Argentina have finally won the World Cup. This is our longest episode ever by a distance, and we make no apologies for that. Enjoy whichever holidays you’re celebrating (if you are), and we’ll see you in the new year.
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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.
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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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The hundred-and-forty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod is a very long one, we admit; but not without reason! Sam, Peter, Andrés and German Dan begin by looking at Independiente’s return to the Primera following a mildly controversial 2-0 victory over Huracán in a tie-breaker to decide third place on Wednesday afternoon. After that brief starter, we dig into the main course which, of course, is Argentina at the Brazil 2014 World Cup; whether Lionel Messi can step it up, who the other main players will be, how they’ll most likely line up, what lessons we could take from the friendlies and a lot more. There’s more time than usual given over to listeners’ questions, before as a dessert we have a brief chat about what we think of a few of the other nations. Enjoy.
We might be back after the group stages to sum up Argentina’s tournament so far (well, hopefully it’ll be ‘so far’), but there are no definite plans; the next time you’re certain to hear us will be ahead of the new championship, which starts on this first weekend of August. You can subscribe on iTunes or on Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.
The hundred-and-forty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Peter and Andrés discuss River Plate’s second trophy in a week (and their third in two weeks, if you’re particularly easily pleased), Colón’s relegation/Atlético de Rafaela’s survival, the Argentine national team a little bit, and Independiente’s chances of regaining Primera División status on Saturday, among other things. Soon, we’ll have a World Cup preview episode. For now, enjoy this one.
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