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Description:

Sam Kelly, with a group of Argentine and foreign journalists and fans, guides listeners through the ups and downs of the Argentine football world, from the national team down to the lower divisions.

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Podcast Episode's:
Episode 314: Racing extend their lead, River advance to the Libertadores semis and more
The three hundred and fourteenth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés and Tony to discuss a weekend on which there was less football than normal, due to a rainstorm which resulted in only one match being played on Saturday. Racing won that game to extend their Superliga lead (pending Atlético Tucumán's game in hand), while Boca returned to winning ways and River's reserves tonked Lanús, before beating Independiente 3-1 on Tuesday to qualify for the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores. We also have a look at Lionel Scaloni's latest Argentina squad. HOP will be a little less frequent for the next few weeks, because Sam is going on holiday, but we'll still have occasional episodes, and normal service will be resumed towards the end of November.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/abhpipv2Yb8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 313: Reviewing the superclásico, and more wins for Racing and Aldosivi
In episode three hundred and thirteen of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Andrés and English Dan to discuss River Plate's 2-0 win over Boca Juniors in Sunday's superclásico, as well as yet another win for Racing, who remain top of the league, and more success for Aldosivi, who are enjoying a fine start to life back in the top flight.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/esLQznnrZxg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 312: Copa Libertadores quarter-finals and a Boca v River preview
The three hundred and twelfth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan, Andrés and Tony come together for a bumper episode, discussing the role of the VAR and all the others ins and outs of the first legs of the Copa Libertadores quarter-finals (the three involving Argentine clubs, anyway), and previewing Sunday's titanic clash in the Bombonera between Boca Juniors and River Plate.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/tRLve-TXWZE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 311: A quietly successful mini tour for the national team, and a Copa Argentina roundup
In the three hundred and eleventh episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés give a quick roundup of the Copa Argentina, before taking a deep dive into the lukewarm pool of the national team, whose two clean sheets against Guatemala and Colombia – with two different goalkeepers! – were arguably the brightest thing about their first two games under caretaker manager Lionel Scaloni.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/aYyudHrnpCM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 310: A Superliga summary, and an interesting international break
The three hundred and tenth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés meet to discuss the action from the fourth round of Superliga 2018–19 action, which saw Racing leapfrog Rosario Central into the top spot by beating their visitors 2-0 in Avellaneda. River Plate and San Lorenzo drew yet again (with each other), Boca Juniors got back to winning ways, and Tigre once again scored two goals, but managed not to concede any this time. All this, and we've a preview of Argentina's two upcoming friendlies against Guatemala and Colombia, as the national team begins a delicate rebuilding process after the trauma of the World Cup.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/XeUdsvggTYQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 309: the Copa Libertadores suspension shitshow
The three hundred and ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés discussing a chaotic week of Copa Libertadores administration which saw much-publicised disciplinary decisions regarding River Plate's Bruno Zuculini and Santos' Carlos Sánchez in their ties against Racing and Independiente, respectively. As well as this, we've a roundup of the third round of Superliga action, which saw Rosario Central maintain their 100% record, and a number of belting goals.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/_7fQENsaBzc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 308: Boca slip up, and Central take advantage
The three hundred and eighth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés discuss a weekend of Superliga action in which River Plate flattered to deceive, Boca Juniors lost and thus ended a long run of being top or joint top, and Edgardo Bauza's Rosario Central got another 1-0 win thanks to a headed goal.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/v_6q7ZzqPzU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 307: A less than thrilling first round, and national team news
The three hundred and seventh episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés look back on a Superliga opening round that was notable for three teams only drawing after going 2-0 up, and not an awful lot else apart from Huracán's atrocious pitch. There's some Copa Libertadores action to review as well, and we also tackle some of the likely names in Lionel Scaloni's Argentina squad, which was announced about 14 hours after we finished recording.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/DhYdm9WevfQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 306: previewing the 2018–19 Superliga season
In the three hundred and sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés preview the 2018–19 Superliga season, which kicks off on Friday evening, and also have a look at the Copa Libertadores round of sixteen, which began on Tuesday evening with Estudiantes' surprise win over defending champions Grêmio.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/9JeCv2CgCsI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 305: the new season is just around the corner
The three hundred and fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés all excited because there are fewer than ten days remaining until the start of the 2018–19 Superliga season, and we've got some kickoff times to tell you about. We discuss which teams still have some work to do in the transfer market (including a bit of a fuss about whether Boca Juniors should be allowed to sign the left back they want), River Plate's rather lovely kit, which is free of sponsors on the chest until December, and the AFA's apparent decision to wait until December before deciding on a new manager; it seems youth team managers Lionel Scaloni and Pablo Aimar will be in charge of the Argentina team who will head to the United States for friendlies against Colombia and Guatemala next month.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/RhzvHnNeLz8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 304: Getting into our cups
The three hundred and fourth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés catching up with what's been going on in the Copa Argentina, which has seen a number of shocks this year but notably not in Independiente's or River Plate's matches since we last recorded – those two scored fifteen goals between them in seeing off Central Ballester and Central Norte respectively. There's also a look at the round of 32 of the Copa Sudamericana, which is well underway (indeed, for Lanús it's finished) and listeners' questions ranging from the national team to Argentines abroad to the structure of the Superliga and the mysterious Copa de la Superliga.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/dbePP5LkqVk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 303: Replacing Sampaoli, and the Superliga season to come
The three hundred and third episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés to discuss where the Argentine national team go next after parting ways with Jorge Sampaoli, and also to look forward to the upcoming Superliga season and go over the main transfer business of the window so far.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/4Puebi1HRqQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 302: picking over the bones of World Cup elimination against France
The inevitable has happened: Argentina are out of the 2018 World Cup after a 4-3 defeat to France in the second round. In the three hundred and second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Andrés and English Dan to pick over the bones of the defeat, and of the chaotic campaign that led to it. Listeners' questions cover what the next steps should be, who might come into the team in the next few years, whether Jorge Sampaoli should remain as manager, and much more besides.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Hs1P-bKIpc8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 301: Sweet relief as Argentina scramble out of their World Cup group
For the three hundred and first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés are celebrating after Argentina's last-gasp 2-1 win over Nigeria saw them through Group D of the 2018 World Cup in second place behind Croatia, and into a second round tie against France. Were the players really picking the team? Was Javier Mascherano awful or amazing? Is Marcos Rojo the greatest footballer of all time? All these questions and more are up for consideration.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/EZN1Q6xaB40" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 300: Argentina's Croatian collapse, and how to get out of the rut
The three hundredth episode of Hand Of Pod is a less celebratory affair than we'd hoped for such a landmark, with Sam and English Dan picking over the bones of Argentina's second half catastrophe against Croatia, which leaves them needing to beat Nigeria – possibly comfortably – on Tuesday if they're going to advance. We ask what needs to change, when these problems first took root. Thanks to all our listeners for sticking with us through 300 episodes. We hope you continue to enjoy the show!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/I93oyjPA_6s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 299: Reviewing Argentina v Iceland and previewing Argentina v Croatia
The two hundred and ninety-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by English Dan and Andrés to look back on a faltering start to the World Cup group stage for Argentina, who drew 1-1 with Iceland on Saturday. What changes is Jorge Sampaoli making? What changes should he make? And how much scope for improvement is there, really? Perhaps foolishly, we're remaining optimistic about the Croatia game, which we'll review in HOP300 on Friday.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/L0mACICb_sc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 298: previewing Argentina's World Cup opener against Iceland with a real-life Icelander
In the two hundred and ninety-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés are joined by Helgi, one of (as far as he knows) three Icelanders currently living in Buenos Aires. We preview Argentina's World Cup opener on Saturday with a look at what appears to be Jorge Sampaoli's all-but-confirmed starting XI, as well as asking Helgi how it feels to be experiencing his first World Cup with his own team to cheer for, and his impressions of how the Argentine press have been covering Iceland (and he's got a few impressions, because they've mostly been doing it by interviewing him).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/b7BVrK6eJvs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 297: cancelling Israel v Argentina and more
In the two hundred and ninety-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés take you through the last week in Argentina's World Cup preparations, which has included the cancellation of Saturday's planned friendly away to Israel after the Argentine FA realised it wasn't an idea absolutely everyone was completely delighted with. Elsewhere, the B Nacional playoff final ended with San Martín de Tucumán putting in an improved second leg showing to tear Sarmiento apart and win promotion to the Superliga, and we go through the other results so far from the lower divisions, as well as a restructuring of next season's B Nacional.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/p9cGyFT09so" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 296: Trying to pick out the lessons from Argentina v Haiti
In the two hundred and ninety-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés discuss Argentina's pre-World Cup friendly victory over Haiti in the Bombonera. Did we learn anything, or merely have various things confirmed which we already knew? Should Cristian Pavón start ahead of Ángel Di María? Who is the first choice goalkeeper? And is there really any point in playing friendlies against sides who (with the greatest respect to Haiti) aren't at the level Argentina will be facing in Russia?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/pJJWZRDR8N8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 295: Argentina's World Cup squad, including Sergio Romero's injury
The two hundred and ninety-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés and Julián to discuss Argentina's 23-man World Cup squad, and the chaos introduced to it by Tuesday's news that first-choice goalkeeper Sergio Romero would miss the tournament with injury. Should Willy Caballero or Franco Armani be Romero's replacement? In the outfield positions, are there any players missing who should be there, or any who are there who shouldn't be? And what should we make of Jorge Sampaoli's stated desire to play a 2-3-3-2 if possible? Which players would that involve – both for Sampaoli, and if one of us were the manager? All these questions and far more are up for discussion.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/pjfFDfeRwVY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 294: the end-of-season special
The two hundred and ninety-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by English Dan and Andrés to discuss the final weekend of Superliga 2017–18 action, in which there were a few high-scoring games, a few surprising results (including Independiente, Talleres and Racing falling over one another in their rush to not qualify for the Copa Libertadores)and a tight finish all round for the Copa places. We also have a look at a bad week for gender relations at the AFA and for TyCSports' publicity department.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/7ctyGJo3vGg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 293: Boca win a second straight title
It was fitting, given the way the season has gone, that Boca Juniors sealed their second consecutive league title with a draw in which they almost seemed to be trying to let the point slip away from them at times. In the two hundred and ninety-third episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Andrés and Mariano to discuss Boca's title, why none of the chasing pack (not least San Lorenzo) had the wherewithal to make it into a proper title race, and all the ups and downs of the penultimate weekend of Superliga action, as well as looking forward to the final round of games.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Lx4MTVoyqRQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 292: a cancellation conspiracy, and more
In the two hundred and ninety-second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés discuss the silliness of the conspiracy theories surrounding why Gimnasia v Boca Juniors was called off on Sunday (some fans seem to think Daniel Angelici controls the weather), and we look back at a Superliga weekend which saw Godoy Cruz keep up their slim title hopes with a clásico victory, and a five goal thriller (of sorts) in Parque Patricios among other matches.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/_w1RbtmaY9E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 291: Godoy Cruz slip up to (almost) hand Boca the title, and a good week for Racing
In the two hundred and ninety-first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Julián get together over a mate and some biscuits to discuss a weekend of Superliga action in which Boca Juniors saw the title race swing decisively their way (surely this time, this is it?) after Godoy Cruz were held by Banfield. Elsewhere, River Plate are now so good that even their reserves can win at a canter ... although it was only against Arsenal de Sarandí, so maybe not. Racing won the clásico coudetense, Defensa y Justicia shocked Independiente in the clásico holandés (I wish I'd thought that name up to tweet during the match) and the race for the last Copa Libertadores spots, and all of the Copa Sudamericana spots, is as tight as ever. Oh, and we're now finally live on Patreon! Please check out our page and consider supporting us: www.patreon.com/handofpod<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/FQBdmbPRStc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 290: the relegation race is settled, but is the title race back on ... again?
The two hundred and ninetieth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Peter and Andrés to look back on a weekend of Superliga action in which the remaining three relegation spots were all decided, and the title race one last breath of life given to it thanks to Godoy Cruz's sixth consecutive win and Boca Juniors' second consecutive defeat. River Plate's efficient form continues, and we look at why Vélez Sarsfield have become so much harder to beat under Gabriel Heinze, even though they're still winning barely any matches.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/7zQt5xGZv3Q" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 289: Defensa shock Boca, but no one can take advantage
The two hundred and eighty-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés meet to discuss a weekend of action in the Superliga which saw Boca Juniors' defeat to Defensa y Justicia on Saturday throw the door wide open for Talleres and San Lorenzo ... and Talleres and San Lorenzo both fail completely to take advantage. There's a new second place team thanks to Godoy Cruz tonking San Lorenzo 5-0 on Sunday, but they're still seven points behind the leaders and there are now just five games remaining. Elsewhere, River Plate kept up their great run of domestic form with a 2-0 away win over Racing that was clinical if not spectacular, and Chacarita Juniors aren't dead yet – have a listen to find out why Sam reckons there's an AFA conspiracy to keep them in the Superliga (well, not really. But if they win again this weekend with some iffy refereeing, then maybe).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/i1jTENKQEu4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 288: Boca are almost champions; Arsenal are already relegated
The two hundred and eighty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés meet to discuss a weekend of Superliga action which saw the title race all but ended by Pablo Pérez's 92nd minute winner for Boca Juniors against second placed Talleres. Why did he argue with Boca's fans immediately afterwards? Why didn't Carlos Tevez play that game? These are among the questions we answer. Elsewhere, River Plate's resurgence continues - the giants are now just two points off the Copa Sudamericana places, a situation that would have seemed unthinkable a few weeks ago. And we bid farewell, for the moment at least, to Arsenal de Sarandí's participation in the top flight of Argentine football; they were relegated after Patronato's 3-0 win against Rosario Central on Sunday.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/5SK1XrgxW04" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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HOP Extra – preview episode
Welcome to a special free preview of Hand Of Pod Extra. HOP Extra will be a weekly mini podcast available to supporters who put in enough to reach the appropriate reward tier on our upcoming Patreon page (which is not yet live). Sam will record a short bit each Sunday evening summarising the main talking points of the weekend. We wanted to give you an idea before launching the Patreon of what this extra episode would sound like, so enjoy!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/UgmzTWLdrB8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 287: picking over the bones of Argentina's 6-1 defeat to Spain
The two hundred and eighty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod was recorded on Tuesday evening, after the friendly which dominates this episode: Argentina's record-equalling 6-1 defeat to Spain in Madrid. How much does Jorge Sampaoli need to change ahead of the World Cup? Is the situation salvageable from here? Is there any hope at all without Lionel Messi? Sam and English Dan consider the fallout. We also explain what's going on with a court case involving Independiente, where a youth prostitution ring has been uncovered operating out of the club's accommodation (without, we hasten to add, the club's knowledge).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/4zqD3_36Aks" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 286: The gap at the top shrinks a little, Scocco shines again, and Argentina gear up
The two hundred and eighty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by English Dan and Andrés to look back on a weekend of Superliga action which saw the gap at the top close to six points after Boca Junior could only draw following Talleres' victory. That sets things up nicely for the resumption of hostilities after the international break, when Talleres visit Boca. Elsewhere, Racing thrashed Patronato and River Plate, fresh from their Supercopa win, deservedly beat Belgrano 3-1, with Nacho Scocco coming off the bench to score twice. Should he still be a sub? Finally, we discuss the Argentine national team, and how Jorge Sampaoli will be approaching their two upcoming friendlies.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/1PVve3Lzsn8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 285: River shock Boca to win the Supercopa (that almost rhymes ...)
The two hundred and eighty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés look back over a weekend of Superliga action that, erm, neither of them managed to catch an awful lot of. Among the bits they did see were last minute wins for Boca Juniors and River Plate, and an entertaining game between Independiente and Argentinos Juniors which saw El Rojo cement third place in the Superliga. There's also discussion of Wednesday night's Supercopa Argentina, which saw River turn in their best performance of the last six months or so to spring a surprise, beating Boca 2-0 to lift the trophy. The prize itself isn't of huge importance, of course, but the repercussions for both clubs' seasons could be - most notably, could this be the springboard for a revival in River's fortunes?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Ed7rQ5RrisI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 284: A weekend of shocks, and a new Argentina squad
The two hundred and eighty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés discuss a weekend of Superliga action which was full of surprise results: from Arsenal de Sarandí winning a game against, well, anybody on Friday evening, to Argentinos Juniors playing Boca Juniors off the park and claiming a 2-0 victory over the league leaders on Monday night. One shock result that didn't happen was a win for River Plate, who have a potentially huge couple of games coming up. Racing, meanwhile, might be paying Jorge Sampaoli to come and watch them these days ... and speaking of Sampaoli, we have some thoughts on his latest Argentina squad.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/LXJp1CsmHdo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 283: San Lorenzo slip up as Boca rediscover their attacking spark
Episode 283 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés discuss a weekend of Superliga action in which San Lorenzo lost away to Gimnasia, thus falling even further behind league leaders Boca Juniors, who rediscovered their attacking form in an entertaining 4-2 win over San Martín. San Lorenzo also ceded second place to Talleres. River Plate are still abysmal, and lost 1-0 away to Vélez Sarsfield in a dreadful match, while Racing managed two impressive wins: first becoming the first team this league season not to lose to Godoy Cruz in Mendoza, and then beating Cruzeiro 4-2 in the Copa Libertadores on Tuesday night. All this and more.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/4cVykxpVxHk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 282: Central's new kids on the block, Independiente's heartbreak and more
Episode 282 of Hand Of Pod comes to you a little later than normal this week, but Sam and Andrés are here to talk you through last weekend's Superliga action ahead of the next round of games. Boca Juniors found it hard going for the second week running, but once again came through for a 1-0 win which keeps them at arm's length (or perhaps two arms' lengths) from the chasing pack, while there were plenty of goals elsewhere. River Plate's attack improved a bit, but their defence still left a lot to be desired in a 2-2 draw against Godoy Cruz; Rosario Central's youngsters, meanwhile, announced themselves with some fanfare as Andrés Lioi hit a hat trick in their 5-0 tonking of Olimpo. On Wednesday night, Independiente suffered the disappointment of a shootout defeat to Grêmio in the Recopa Sudamericana.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/6zmWvvT8kJE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 281: Talleres go second, Boca win again and Ribas can't stop scoring
Episode 281 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés look back on a weekend of action which saw Talleres leapfrog San Lorenzo to go second - albeit having played a game more - and Boca Juniors maintain the distance at the top of the Superliga with a nervy win over Temperley. There were a couple of high-scoring games to look back on as well, and Sebastián Ribas' red-hot scoring form continued with another goal for Patronato.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/8fgcv9qRvNs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 280: the top two draw; Scocco's solo brilliance, and Lautaro Martínez's hat trick
Episode 280 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés discuss an entertaining round of Superliga action which saw the gap at the top remain at six points, thanks to second place San Lorenzo's 1-1 draw with league leaders Boca Juniors. Talleres went third with a fortuitous win over Temperley, and we also look at headline-grabbing solo performances for River Plate and Racing - namely Ignacio Scocco's brace, including a spectacular second, for River, and Lautaro Martínez's first senior hat trick for Racing.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/SgPTKvCWCq0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 279: Boca pull clear, River in crisis and Unión keep up the good form
Episode 279 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés meet to discuss the opening weekend of football in Argentina in 2018, which included a Talleres win over San Lorenzo, giving Boca Juniors the chance to open a six-point gap at the top of the Superliga table - a chance the champions took in beating Colón. River Plate lost away to Huracán and, more worryingly, showed no signs of having adapted their gameplan over the summer break. Unión continue their fine form of 2017, and are now third, while Gabriel Heinze's spell at Vélez Sarsfield got off to a good start with a 1-0 away win over Defensa y Justicia. Newell's Old Boys almost suffered the indignity of dropping points to Arsenal de Sarandí, but were bailed out at the last minute.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/6BjyG_bsoiw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 278: Summer's over, and Argieball is back!
Hand Of Pod returns for 2018, with a new logo and exciting plans for the new year. Sam and Andrés are your hosts for episode 278, in which we look back over a transfer window that was mostly uneventful but all the same takes an age to summarise, because as we might have mentioned before there are too many clubs in the Argentine top flight. Lucas Pratto became the Millonarios' most expensive signing ever, Carlos Tevez is back at Boca Juniors, and how have Independiente opted to replace Atlanta-bound Ezequiel Barco? All these questions and more are up for discussion. It's good to be back!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/U_j_IAuWOlE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 277: Independiente win the Sudamericana, Boca end the year top of the table
The final episode of Hand Of Pod in 2017 brings together Sam, English Dan, Andrés and Peter to discuss Independiente's entertaining run to the Copa Sudamericana title, after they beat Flamengo 4-2 on aggregate in an enthralling final which saw its second leg in the Maracanã on Wednesday night. Why they deserved the title, and how Ariel Holan has turned the team around are among the topics for discussion. Will Holan stay? How good is Ezequiel Barco? These questions are also considered. We also have a look at the Superliga weekend which saw Rosario Central beat Newell's Old Boys in the clásico rosarino, and Boca Juniors claim a win which ensures they end 2017 top of the league. Oh, and River Plate won the Copa Argentina! It's a lot to cover, and this is an extended episode as a result. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/dh4kWGsJxVE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 276: Boca keep their noses ahead, and two upcoming cup finals
The two hundred and seventy-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Andrés join Sam to look back on a weekend of Superliga action which saw yet another disappointing showing from River Plate, while Atlético Tucumán got an encouraging win ahead of their trip to Mendoza to play River in the Copa Argentina final on Saturday. Boca Juniors got back to winning way to keep their noses in front of San Lorenzo in the title race, and Defensa y Justicia won a five-goal thriller against Godoy Cruz. As well as all this, we've another continental final to look forward to, with Independiente preparing to take on Flamengo in the Copa Sudamericana showpiece, whose first leg is in Avellaneda on Wednesday night.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/AVsBgfdW-s8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 275: Libertadores heartbreak for Lanús, with a very special guest
The two hundred and seventy-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and English Dan joined by a very special guest, because Phil Carney - author of the Lanús in English Twitter account - has flown down to Buenos Aires all the way from Manchester for a few days. Unfortunately his first visit to the city wasn't enough to help Lanús to their first Copa Libertadores title, as they were totally outplayed by Grêmio in Wednesday night's final second leg; we review that match, and Lanús' run in the tournament, as well as last weekend's Superliga matches. A second straight defeat for Boca Juniors and a good run for San Lorenzo means we have a title race, all of a sudden (they're now tied on points, though Boca have a game in hand, after San Lorenzo wrapped up a victory shortly after we finished recording). And there's praise for Independiente, who not only beat Racing in the clásico with a reserve team but also advanced to the Copa Sudamericana final in a thrilling second leg on Tuesday night.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/RGXrwRTyGxU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 274: Boca lose more than a match, and Lanús' first Libertadores final begins
The two hundred and seventy-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Andrés and Sam discuss a weekend of Superliga action which saw Boca Juniors lose for the first time in the league this season, thanks to probably Racing's best performance so far - and which brought more bad news for Boca late on with an injury to Darío Benedetto which will probably keep him out until the end of the season. River Plate also lost the weekend, but finally won on Wednesday to end a run of six league games without a victory, while San Lorenzo went second and Independiente and Lanús both started continental ties this week: Independiente in the Copa Sudamericana semi-finals, and Lanús in the Copa Libertadores final. Both lost 1-0, but it's all still to play for ...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/LkCIt1IzO28" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 273: Lessons to learn for Jorge Sampaoli after two uninspiring friendlies
The seventh anniversary episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés get together for a chat about two friendlies which brought more problems to light than reason for optimism for the Argentine national team. A 1-0 win over Russia on Saturday was rather dull, and a 4-2 defeat to Nigeria on Tuesday has set alarm bells ringing well and truly regarding what the best tactics and formation are, and whether certain players ought to still be playing for Argentina at all. We also have a quick look over the Copa Argentina semi-finals, which resulted in a River Plate v Atlético Tucumán final, and discuss the FIFAGate fallout after Alejandro Burzaco's first two days of testimony in New York.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/dnA7fLu5gQg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 272: Boca beat River to maintain their 100% start, and national team talk
In the two hundred and seventy-second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés discuss a dark week for River Plate, as elimination at the hands of Lanús in the Copa Libertadores last week was followed by defeat in an entertaining superclásico against Boca Juniors on Sunday. That win meant Boca still have a 100% record and are now seven points clear at the top of the Superliga table, with Unión in second place. As well as league talk, we also look at the main issues Jorge Sampaoli has to deal with as Argentina prepare to play Russia on Saturday and Nigeria on Tuesday in friendlies.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/32Cla3h0Oq8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 271: Lanús qualify for their first Libertadores final, and previewing River v Boca
In episode 271 of Hand Of Pod, Sam and English Dan have an afternoon conversation about two big continental ties: the all-Argentine Copa Libertadores semi-final which saw Lanús come back from 3-0 down on aggregate to beat River Plate 4-3 and advance to the first Libertadores final in the club's history, and Racing's Copa Sudamericana exit at the hands of Paraguayan giants Libertad, which it's fair to say was somewhat less thrilling. Independiente should keep the Argentine flag flying (their Copa Sudamericana quarter-final second leg was going to plan as this episode was uploaded), and Boca Juniors extended their lead in the Superliga, winning as River and Lanús (who both fielded reserve sides) both lost; they're now six points clear of second-placed San Lorenzo, ahead of this weekend's visit to River Plate, which we of course preview.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/VkFPo8m0XNo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 270: a Copa Argentina and Copa Libertadores roundup
There was no league football in Argentina over the weekend, so episode 270 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Andrés and English Dan discussing knockout competitions instead - we have a review of the Copa Argentina quarter-finals, which saw second tier Morón make it to the semi-finals, where they'll play River Plate, and a review of the first leg of the Copa Libertadores semi-final between River and Lanús, as well as a look at the Copa Sudamericana quarter-final first legs so far.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/NfDMJscoda4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 269: Boca pull clear at the top as River are held again
In episode 269 of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés look back on (what they saw of) a weekend which saw Boca Juniors move six points clear at the top of the Superliga, keeping their 100% record whilst River Plate were held to a draw for the third match in a row. Boca's ability to dig in, River's carelessness and the relegation battle are among the subjects up for discussion. Listeners' questions cover the Copa Argentina and the national team.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/2DBXZ56KcHU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 268: Argentina are off to Russia. It was never in doubt
The two hundred and sixty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Peter and Andrés discuss Argentina's qualification for the Russia 2018 World Cup, in spite of a 0-0 draw at home to Peru last Thursday and owing rather more to a hat trick from Lionel Messi in Quito which brought a 3-1 win away to Ecuador on Tuesday, in the last match of the campaign. What comes next, what needs to be tweaked, and what should remain the same are all up for discussion.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/yI895Cd4B9I" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 267: Previewing Argentina's two final World Cup qualifiers
The two hundred and sixty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod is a look at the Argentine national team as they approach two high-pressure World Cup qualifiers at home to Peru and away to Ecuador, which will either see them finally make it to Russia 2018 or not (all right, or end up in the playoff). Sam and English Dan give their thoughts on the four(!) lineups tried by Jorge Sampaoli in training on Tuesday, and discuss what needs to change from last month's disappointing double header if the selección are to make it over the line at last. We also look at the weekend in the Superliga, where Boca Juniors kept up their 100% record – just – and Arsenal de Sarandí stunned Banfield to record their first points of the season.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/JWmBRskddro" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 266: Boca still lead the way, Banfield impress and an all-Argentine Libertadores semi
The two hundred and sixty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés look back on a weekend during which River Plate dropped league points for the first time this season to leave Boca Juniors as the only team with a 100% record after four matches. There were impressive wins for Banfield and Colón, who aren't far behind the top two, and we look at a poor week for Estudiantes and San Lorenzo, who played one another on Monday evening. There's also a brief look forward to an all-Argentine Copa Libertadores semi-final, after River's thrashing last Thursday of Jorge Wilstermann in their quarter-final second leg, and Lanús' penalty shootout win over San Lorenzo.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/VBkdRKN3Srg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 265: River and Boca set the early pace, and national team news
The two hundred and sixty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés discuss a weekend of league action in which River Plate and champions Boca Juniors continue to be the two teams to beat in the Superliga, even as River slumped last week to first leg defeat in the Copa Libertadores away to Jorge Wilstermann of Bolivia. There's also talk of Jorge Sampaoli's latest national team list (call-ups have gone out to players based abroad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Ecuador), and a change of venue for the Peru match to La Bombonera. As well as all this, Independiente's Alexis Zárate (currently on loan at Temperley, perhaps not for much longer) has been found guilty of rape, and there's some discussion of that verdict and the media reaction in Argentina.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/QJHey3z1F2Y" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 264: Wrapping up the second weekend, and more national team talk
In the two hundred and sixty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Andrés are joined by Julián for his second appearance, around two and a half years after his first. We look back on a second weekend of Superliga action which saw wins for River and Boca, a 4-1 tonking of Temperley by Racing, and - shock, horror - a goalless draw between Rosario Central and San Lorenzo. Last week's national team talk has sparked something of a discussion among our Twitter followers, so we address that in the second half, along with a look at why the national team are moving to La Bombonera for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Peru.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/F2zPvBgD9vM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 263: The new season's started! Someone tell the national team
Hand Of Pod returns from an extended winter break, and in episode 263 Sam is joined by English Dan and Andrés to run the rule over Argentina's latest two disappointing World Cup qualifying performances. What went wrong against Uruguay and Venezuela? Is the problem solely tactical or are there, in fact, not really any of the right options even available for selection in the midfield? These are just two of the question we ask. In the second half, we take a very brief look at how the Superliga season began two weeks ago, in an opening round Sam didn't see and which Andrés and Dan have mostly forgotten. Don't worry, we'll be back up to full speed next week.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/5EH1M4ztHmY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 262: Reviewing Boca's title win, and some end of season tidying-up
The two hundred and sixty-second episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés bid farewell to a memorable 2016-17 season which ended with Boca Juniors crowned champions of Argentina for the thirty-second time, and with Sarmiento, Atlético de Rafaela, Quilmes and Aldosivi being relegated. Sam takes you through the ins and outs of Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana qualification (still pending, because the Copa Argentina final isn't until the end of the year), and we discuss what made Boca worthy champions, what some of the other clubs will be thinking of their seasons, and our players of the season, including Sam's Domestic Argentina Squad, which you'll find on the HOP blogpost accompanying this episode. This is our last episode for a couple of months - we'll be back when Sam returns from his holidays, probably at the start of September.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/2g2ixxlon1U" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 261: Reviewing Sampaoli's start for Argentina, and gearing up for the title run-in
In the two hundred and sixty-first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés look back on Jorge Sampaoli's first two matches as Argentina manager, which ended in two victories, seven goals scored and none conceded - although one was a lot closer as a contest than the other. We also cast our eyes forwards towards his competitive debut at the end of August, where they'll be no margin for error. As well as this, we've a title run-in to consider, with this weekend's matches followed almost immediately by a round in midweek; by the time we next record, Boca Juniors could very well be champions.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/QP1RsQjZbkE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 260: Previewing Argentina v Brazil, and Boca Juniors put one hand on the league trophy
The two hundred and sixtieth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés looking back over a weekend which saw River Plate lose ground in potentially decisive fashion to Boca Juniors, whose win over Independiente - combined with River's defeat to San Lorenzo - sent them four points clear with just three matches remaining. It was also an interesting weekend for the relegation battle, and we look over the key results there. On Friday, Jorge Sampaoli's reign as Argentina manager begins in earnest with a friendly in Australia against Brazil, and we also preview that.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/HjM8KEv0hRE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 259: The top two falter, relegation edges closer for some, and more
The two hundred and fifty-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés discuss a fine clásico win for Racing against ten-man San Lorenzo and a victory for Talleres over a controversially under-strength Atlético Tucumán. The big stories, though, were dropped points for both Boca Juniors and River Plate, who drew away to Huracán and at home to Rosario Central respectively. Was Huracán's late penalty controversial? (Erm, no.) Should River be kicking themselves? (Perhaps.) And are Arsenal de Sarandí and Sarmiento both going down? (Yes, surely.)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/30z6Y3_X6rg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 258: Two runners left in the title race, and the relegation battle hots up
The two hundred and fifty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod comes after a weekend in which the relegation battle became significantly more heated, with most of the sides in or near the drop zone winning (in some cases significantly against expectations). Sam, English Dan and Andrés consider the weekend's key moments, and also look at a title race which is increasingly looking like a straight sprint between leaders Boca Juniors and second placed River Plate. We also have a roundup of all the Copa Libertadores groups, which come to an end this week, and in a HOP first, a head-to-head in this week's mystical predictions!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/cXcVlHNKgsA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 257: River beat Boca to open up the title race, and lots more clásico action
The two hundred and fifty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés gather to look back on a dramatic weekend of clásico action in which the biggest headline was River Plate putting the title right up for grabs (possibly for themselves) by defeating Boca Juniors 3-1 in La Bombonera in the superclásico. Boca's league lead is three points over San Lorenzo, but would be just a point were River to win their game in hand. San Lorenzo themselves got yet another clásico win against Huracán - because of course they did, come on - and Newell's Old Boys missed the chance to join in the fun at the top, losing 3-1 at home to Rosario Central. The relegation race is hotting up as well, and some Copa Libertadores groups are coming to a conclusion - shortly after we recorded, San Lorenzo secured top spot in Group 4 in highly dramatic circumstances.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/NckcJ4hXGyM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 256: Previewing a weekend of clásicos which might blow the title race wide open
pisode 256 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés and Dan to look back on a weekend during which Newell's Old Boys failed to take advantage of yet more dropped points from league leaders Boca Juniors. More to the point, we're looking forward to a weekend full of clásicos in the Argentine Primera which could see Boca take a huge step towards the title - or, especially if a River Plate win in La Bombonera is combined with a win for Newell's in the Rosario derby, could breath new life into the title race just ahead of the run-in. The first attempt at uploading this episode was met with disaster due to a fault in the file - it was only online for a minute or two so hopefully subscription services won't have picked it up, but if you find the sound on your file cuts out after about 26 minutes, download again from here or our Soundcloud page - the version that's now online is the full show. Sorry.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Dsr3DWgJ53k" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 255: No change at the top, but the relegation battle hots up
The two hundred and fifty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés meet to discuss a weekend during which there was no change at the very top of the Primera: Boca Juniors and Newell's Old Boys both won, meaning Boca remain three points clear at the top. There was some re-ordering of the sides just below, though - partly thanks to yet another home draw for Independiente - and a dramatic shaking up of the relegation dogfight after shock wins for Atlético de Rafaela and Quilmes. We also look again at the Copa Libertadores and developments which have the potential to affect the immediate future of the Argentine national team, as well as explaining another new rumour about the next Primera championship. Oh, and HOP listeners within reach of London will want to listen out for a discount code to get 10% off tickets to the upcoming London Festival of Football Writing!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/aKcZHV8fZ_A" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 254: Newell's close the gap in a weekend of fine matches
In the two hundred and fifty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés take you through a weekend of thoroughly entertaining matches, including two that ended 4-3, a convincing win (combined with a very unconvincing draw) that took Newell's Old Boys to within three points of league leaders Boca Juniors, and a frustrating draw that meant River Plate failed to go third. We consider Rodrigo Bentancur's form now his mega-money move to Juventus has been confirmed, and ask whether he (for Uruguay) or Ezequiel Barco (for Argentina) will be travelling to South Korea for the Under-20 World Cup. All this, as well as listeners' questions, and some predictions for the weekend to come from Mystic Andrés.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Ht9JKJWNeDY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 253: Tragedy in Córdoba, and River join the title race
The two hundred and fifty-third episode of Hand Of Pod features Sam and Andrés, who are joined via Skype by Luke Smith, who's able to give us a Córdoba-dweller's perspective on the tragedy that struck Argentine football over the weekend when Belgrano fan Emanuel Balbo was murdered in the stands at half time of the Córdoba clásico on Saturday. What exactly happened, and what the punishment might end up being for Belgrano are among the topics discussed. We also look over a weekend of football which saw River Plate - in somewhat controversial circumstances - become the only member of the top five to win their match, and in so doing arguably join the title race, although they still have some distance to make up on Boca Juniors. As well as all this, there are listeners' questions on the second tier and on the most southerly clubs in Argentina's pyramid (which also happen to be the most southerly clubs in the world).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/p8y3iRcHU_4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 252: Bye-bye Bauza, Sampaoli next? And a domestic roundup
The two hundred and fifty-second episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Andrés and Peter meet to discuss the AFA's sacking on Tuesday of Edgardo Bauza as Argentina manager, and who might the next candidate be - with news filtering out shortly after we'd recorded that, as suspected, Jorge Sampaoli is the only serious candidate. Is he the right man for the job? Would he take it? And if he doesn't, who might the other options end up being? All these questions and more are debated. As well as this, we've got a look at a Primera weekend which was so action-packed, even Independiente found their shooting boots - and how!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/euKZbR90nDY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 251: Boca extend their lead, River hit form, and more stuff on Bauza's future
The two hundred and fifty-first episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés discuss a weekend with a fair number of thrillers, including a 4-2 clásico win for Lanús over Banfield, a 3-2 win after being 2-0 and one man down for Racing away to Quilmes, and a controversial 4-3 victory for Tigre at home to San Lorenzo. That last result means Boca Juniors are now five points clear at the top of the league, and we also look at their 1-0 win over Defensa y Justicia (who are involved in continental football for the first time ever) and at River Plate's 2-1 away win over Godoy Cruz which seems to confirm that River are rediscovering their best form under Marcelo Gallardo. All this as well as the first machinations of Claudio Tapia as AFA president, in the form of him desperately hoping Edgardo Bauza resigns some time soon as national team manager.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/J0kCR3-5_AY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 250: What's wrong with Argentina, and how to fix it, with Jonathan Wilson
This week's episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan, Andrés and Tony joined by the man who literally wrote the book on Argentine football, because Jonathan Wilson's in town just for our two hundred and fiftieth episode (okay, not just for that). We have two awful performances from the Argentine national team to discuss - a win over Chile and a defeat away to Bolivia - as well as Lionel Messi's suspension for saying some naughty words to a linesman, Edgardo Bauza's future job security now the AFA (hours before we began recording) finally has a new president and board of directors, and a nearly full round of Primera División matches, since the summer delay meant the AFA is obliged to play through the international break in order to catch up the season a bit in terms of how far it ought to have progressed by now. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/oJiBsUt7TCo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 249: Previewing Argentina v Chile, and some league talk
The two hundred and forty-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés discuss a week of domestic action which saw Boca Juniors lose for the first time since the opening weekend, San Lorenzo also defeated and an Ignacio Scocco hat trick for Newell's Old Boys (surprisingly, his first) put the top of the title race back to how it was two weeks ago. River Plate impressed away to Lanús on Tuesday, and there's plenty more to talk about besides. Not least, Argentina's World Cup qualifying clash at home to Chile on Thursday evening, which we preview, and whether Mauro Icardi should maybe be in the squad given he appears incapable of entering a pitch without scoring at least one goal these days.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/66hos6wFq3E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 248: Finally reviewing the first football of 2017
The first weekend of Argentine football this year has finally been played, and in HOP248 Sam and Andrés are here to go over the main talking points, consider how many teams were affected by a long and hard-to-time-just-right pre-season (nearly all of them) and look at whether this factor also influenced performances in the Copa Libertadores (yes). Boca Juniors were the undoubted winners of the weekend, though San Lorenzo also took advantage. Listeners' questions include Copa Libertadores qualification rules this year and our opinion of Lautaro Martínez. A series of technical errors befell this recording, so you might notice the odd slight jump in sound or speech as bits had to be cut slightly, but enjoy!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/FvVFUuRJjnM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 247: Summer madness
What on Earth is going on in the world of Argentine football? The season was supposed to get underway on the second weekend of February and was only finally scheduled at all last week, and now we have some dates and kick off times it's still not been anything like clear whether this weekend's matches will even be played. Sam, English Dan and Andrés are back for the first HOP of 2017, and even by the standards set by Argentine football since we started recording in 2010, this one might get eye-wateringly confusing. Allow us to guide you through the summer break in Argentina, the vested interests, the arguments and the recriminations, as we attempt to explain to the layperson just what the bloody hell is happening (and, indeed, work that out ourselves). This episode is out of date before it's even online - there was no way we could avoid that - but the uncertainty over whether games will take place is still just as strong a mere 24 hours from the supposed start of action. The chaos is back.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/5XvW2Shj1e8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 246: Rounding up the last weekend of 2016 action
The two hundred and forty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod is the last one of the year. Sam, Andrés and English Dan round up the last week of Primera action this year, which included two good results for River Plate (who claimed the Copa Argentina last week), another big win for Boca Juniors, who thus end the year at the top of the table, more dropped points for Estudiantes and plenty of other talking points, including a number of emotional farewells to players and various managers either resigning or being fired. As well as all this, there's also time to take a brief look at the current situation regarding TV rights for next year - which is currently up in the air. You'll be hearing from us again at the end of the summer break - if you're celebrating over the next week or two, enjoy!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/TieqeWHD6PU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 245: reviewing the Superclásico and preparing for the end of the year
The two hundred and forty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod is the penultimate one of 2016, and Sam and Andrés meet to discuss Boca Juniors' 4-2 away win over River Plate in what - even as River sympathisers - we cant deny was a tremendously entertaining superclásico. Carlos Tevez was superb, and as well as praising his performance we also look at the reports he might be off to China soon. For River, there's a chance for some compensation in the form of the Copa Argentina final against Rosario Central, which is played on the evening this podcast goes live, and could see one - or both - of the managers, Marcelo Gallardo for River and Eduardo Coudet for Central, leave their club. All this, and there's still one more round of league action to preview, thanks to the one-week delay to the season kicking off back in August. As a result of that, we'll be back next week with an unusually festive edition.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/ZNQlohk2BoY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 244: Boca impress again, Independiente get a win and previewing the Superclásico
The two hundred and forty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Peter meet to discuss Independiente's first win in a while, against River Plate's reserve side, and look into some of the struggles Gabriel Milito faces as manager. We have praise for Boca Juniors after an impressive win over Racing, ask whether Estudiantes' grip on first place is slipping, and look at Banfield's remarkable upturn in form, as a week after beating the league leaders they've now claimed a win over second placed Newell's Old Boys. All this, and some pre-superclásico thoughts too, as River Plate prepare to host Boca Juniors this Sunday. Enjoy!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/VXYwkYhaqTI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 243: The Argentine response to the Chapecoense crash, and some less important stuff
The two hundred and forty-third episode of Hand Of Pod couldn't be solely about Argentine football, given events earlier in the week. Sam, Andrés and guest Lex meet up to discuss some of the Argentine reaction to the tragic plane crash on Monday night, with tributes planned across Argentina - and the rest of the continent - this weekend. There's also a look at a surprisingly entertaining clásico de Avellaneda, a very good performance from Boca Juniors and a rather fortunate win for River Plate, as well as Estudiantes' first defeat of the season, among much more.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/ufvIlCkrtmU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 242: Teo gonna Teo, River slump and Estudiantes still lead
The two hundred and forty-second episode of Hand Of Pod brings together Sam and Andrés to talk about a weekend in which the football was overshadowed in many press pages by Teo Gutiérrez once again being Teo Gutiérrez. The Rosario Central forward was sent off for his goal celebration during a 1-1 draw in La Bombonera. Elsewhere, River Plate lost 1-0 away to Newell's Old Boys, and there are rumours beginning that Marcelo Gallardo could leave the club if he fails to bring home the Copa Argentina (the semi-finals of which will be played next week). Estudiantes still lead the league, and have found a replacement for injured goalkeeper Mariano Andújar at last, while the relegation situation is beginning to clarify a little even with twenty games still to go (we're sticking our necks out now and saying Atlético de Rafaela will go down). There's also news about the television rights negotiations.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/x9iFG4abuso" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 241: We are six! From despair to relief for Argentina, and returning to league action
The two hundred and forty-first episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés celebrate the podcast's sixth birthday by discussing two Argentina matches; last Thursday's awful defeat to Brazil in Belo Horizonte, and Tuesday's much-improved win over Colombia in San Juan. Does the national team need a clearout? If so, who should be the new names coming in? We also round up some of the main stories from the last week, including Argentinos Juniors arguing with River Plate over youth recruitment, and suggestions that Argentina's next World Cup qualifier, at home to Chile in March, could be played at La Bombonera. Oh, and there's a return to league action this weekend to look forward to.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/VcMTpiilS3s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 240: Boca finally win away, and previewing Brazil v Argentina
In the two hundred and fortieth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés discuss a weekend of Primera action in which River Plate improved somewhat from recent showings to draw with top of the league Estudiantes, and Boca Juniors won away in the league for the first time since February. There was also an impressive win for Racing against Newell's Old Boys, while Independiente dominated but still couldn't score against Rosario Central. The main course of this week's podcast is of course a preview of Argentina's World Cup qualifier away to Brazil in Belo Horizonte on Thursday night, with a switch to 4-4-2 and the return to Lionel Messi the main talking points in the Argentine camp.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/hOmoiTuIoGE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 239: Estudiantes continue to impress, and River's defence continues to disappoint
In the two hundred and thirty-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés discuss the main talking points from last weekend's Primera División action, including yet another three points for an Estudiantes side who continue to lead the league, and yet more goals conceded for River Plate, who threw away a 2-0 lead against the worst team in the Primera to draw 2-2. There's also a look at Boca Juniors' demolition of Temperley and San Lorenzo reserves' very entertaining 2-2 draw away to second-placed Newell's Old Boys, ahead of the first team's Copa Sudamericana semi-final first leg, which kicked off seconds before we finished recording. As well as all this, we consider what grounds the Bolivian football federation have for appealing the sanction that, on Tuesday, resulted in Chile being handed a 3-0 walkover which leapfrogged them above Argentina in the World Cup qualifying table.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/ACJpsJBVHGU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 238: Estudiantes stay top, Newell's end their Central hoodoo and more
In the two hundred and thirty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Tony are joined by Tony's flatmate Jorge to discuss a weekend of action which saw Estudiantes win the big top of the table clash away to San Lorenzo, and Newell's Old Boys end their eight year run without a win against bitter rivals Rosario Central. We also saw a rare clean sheet for River Plate, yet another away game without a win for Boca Juniors, and a club vice president asking to feel some balls, among plenty more.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/2k4UDQ1BhMY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 237: Tearing up the formbook, and yet more AFA nonsense
The two hundred and thirty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés convene on a rainy evening in Buenos Aires to discuss a weekend in which a storm blew through the Argentine formbook: three previously unbeaten members of the Big Five lost for the first time this season, as did Colón - who also conceded for the first time in this campaign. Estudiantes' defence was finally breached as well, although they managed to win anyway in a wildly entertaining 3-2 romp over Rosario Central, whilst Boca Juniors and San Lorenzo both made clear their title ambitions are for real with wins of their own. Off the pitch there's yet more chaos at the AFA, with people accusing other people of failing to comply by FIFA directives in spite of a) the people in question having been put in place by FIFA and b) the directives in question being NINE YEARS OLD. There's never a dull moment in the world of Argentine football administration...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/hHd_GcvRqQQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 236: What is wrong with Argentina?
The two hundred and thirty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Peter convene to discuss the recent World Cup qualifying double-header: like the midfield on Tuesday night in Córdoba, there's not an Argentine in sight. We give our thoughts on two bafflingly below-par performances which saw Argentina gain just one point and lose a home World Cup qualifier for the fourth time ever, consider which names we would (and wouldn't) like to see in the national team setup, and more. And at the end, Peter provides his predictions of what will happen in this weekend's Primera matches, because Sam forgot to ask any listeners to do the same.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/QUxT4FG0K9w" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 235: Central hit form, a dull La Plata clásico and upcoming World Cup qualifiers
The two hundred and thirty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés convene to discuss a weekend of Primera action which saw a very dull derby in La Plata and, at almost the same time, a considerably more dramatic showdown in Banfield, where the hosts came back from an early 2-0 deficit to win 3-2. There was an impressive, if not uncontroversial, win for River Plate over Vélez Sarsfield, yet another failure to win away from home for Boca Juniors, and a first home win for Ricardo Zielinski as Racing manager. As well as all this we discuss why plans to force Liniers to get a football pitch which actually fits the regulatory definition of the phrase 'football pitch' are a great loss for Argentine culture, and turn our attention to less important matters such as Argentina's upcoming World Cup double-header, and how they'll do without Lionel Messi.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/SrXvnbrUE1E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 234: Estudiantes maintain their lead, Bauza names his second Argentina squad & more
The two hundred and thirty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod is a two-man job, with Sam and Andrés discussing yet another win for Estudiantes, who've now won four out of four at the start of the league season, and two more points dropped for River Plate in a thrilling match, as well as an impressive Darío Benedetto-inspired win for Boca Juniors among plenty more. We then turn our attention to Tuesday's announcement by CONMEBOL of some exciting (and long overdue) changes to the Copa Libertadores which should prove a great step forward for football across the continent, and look over Edgardo Bauza's list of call-ups for Argentina's upcoming World Cup qualifying double header against Peru and Paraguay, the first of which to Sam's surprise is next Thursday.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/0ShN47M1k7U" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 233: Estudiantes open up a lead, Boca and River both stumble
In the two hundred and thirty-third episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Remi and Tony discuss a weekend of action which saw Estudiantes take a two-point lead ahead of River Plate at the top of the table, thanks to a 2-0 win over Atlético Tucumán before River were held at home to San Martín. Boca Juniors also dropped points, and questions marks once again hang over the team, while Atlético de Rafaela picked up a shock win over Gimnasia (who'd started the weekend joint top with River and Estudiantes) which might prove crucial come the end of the season in the relegation battle.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/8z3rkD3nqR4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 232: River and Boca impress, the Big Five make history and much more
The two hundred and thirty-second episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Fran and Andrés discuss very impressive wins for River Plate and Boca Juniors last weekend, as well as running the rule over early joint-leaders (along with River) Estudiantes de La Plata and Independiente. Last weekend was just the second time in the professional era that all of the Big Five have won to nil on the same weekend, although we caught rather less of Racing's and San Lorenzo's matches than we probably should have before attempting to discuss them. Also up for debate: are Rosario Central suddenly a bit crap, or are Vélez Sarsfield rather better than we thought they were? And how is the relegation battle - worth talking about even at this early stage thanks to the promedio system - shaping up?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/EAH7Ukpf1gQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 231: Reviewing Edgardo Bauza's start as Argentina boss and more
The two hundred and thirty-first episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés and Tony to look back over two weeks of action: the first round of Primera División season, the highlights of which were a 3-0 away win for Estudiantes over Tigre and 4-1 home victory for River Plate against Banfield, and Edgardo Bauza's first two matches as Argentina manager, a 1-0 home win over Uruguay and a 2-2 away draw to Venezuela in two rather different performances. Tony predicts this weekend's matches and other topics up for discussion are why Boca Juniors don't seem to have improved much at all, and (very briefly) some news about Daniel Passarella.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/3Nb_FcPy7Ag" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 230: Previewing the new season & Jonathan Wilson on his new book
At long last, the Hand Of Pod 2016-17 season preview is here! Sam is joined by Andrés and Tony to look over the main transfer moves and some of what we can expect from the main contenders on the pitch in the coming months, as well as explaining why we can only be definitely assured of football until December, for the moment. We also preview Argentina's upcoming World Cup qualifiers at home to Uruguay and away to Venezuela, since there will be no HOP next week as Sam's off to Mendoza to cover the former. And there's a chat with Jonathan Wilson, who tells us a bit about his new book on the history of Argentine football, Angels With Dirty Faces - why he wrote it, some of the things he uncovered and more.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/kLYqHsHaiVQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 229: a review of all the winter madness
Hand Of Pod is back from a long, dark, at times a little bit chilly winter break! Rejoice! We were planning to preview the upcoming season this week, but since it's been put back by a week, Sam and Fran instead take the opportunity to bring you up to speed with at least some of the stuff that's happened off the pitch in Argentine football in the last couple of months - and there's a lot to get through, from Lionel Messi's international retirement (and decision to keep playing after all) to Gerardo Martino and his coaching staff standing down en masse, and from the introduction of a FIFA Normalisation Committee to run the AFA to the temporary hiatus on the introduction of the long-awaited SuperLiga because they couldn't get a statute written and approved in time. We've got all this and more this week, so enjoy!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/F46GIQHKs8M" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 228: ¡Lanús campeón!, and previewing the Copa América Centenario
The two hundred and twenty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés look back on a weekend of two entertaining games in which Estudiantes saw off Godoy Cruz for third place (and thus don't have to wait to find out whether they'll be in the Copa Libertadores next season) and Lanús thrashed San Lorenzo 4-0 in the Monumental in the championship final to be crowned kings of Argentina for the second time in their history. We ask what's next for various clubs, look at Boca Juniors' Copa Libertadores reinforcements so far, and have a discussion of the ridiculous (even by their standards) goings-on at the Argentine FA in the last week or so, before previewing Argentina's hopes in the Copa América Centenario and answering listeners' questions. We'll be back after the international competition, so enjoy it!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/ikLmwAOixsQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 227: Farewell Diego Milito, and previewing the weekend's championship final
The two hundred and twenty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés discuss the last weekend of 'regular season' action from Argentina's Torneo de Transición 2016, which saw a lot of dead rubbers including an emotional farewell to Diego Milito as the Racing legend played his final match. Also discussed are where River Plate's campaign went wrong, and the meaningful games which saw Argentinos Juniors relegated, San Lorenzo qualify for Sunday's championship final against Lanús and Godoy Cruz left having to face Estudiantes for a place in next year's Copa Libertadores (to the losers: probably also a place in next year's Copa Libertadores. It's very silly). All this and much more await!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/QGEz4I3p__4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 226: Everything you need to know about relegation, final and Libertadores qualification
This coming weekend wraps up the group stage of the 2016 Primera championship, and Hand Of Pod 226, with Sam, Andrés and Fede, contains all you need to know about the permutations. Godoy Cruz and San Lorenzo remain separated only on goal difference in their quest to qualify for the championship final against Lanús; one of them will take on either Estudiantes or Atlético Tucumán for a place in next year's Copa Libertadores group stage, whilst Argentinos Juniors and Sarmiento are the two sides involved in the relegation battle - although others need to keep racking up points too, because for reasons we go into in the second half of the podcast, we still don't know how many teams will be relegated next season. Rosario Central's and Boca Juniors' chances in the Copa Libertadores quarter-finals are also up for discussion.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/J5jhTETvq9U" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 225: Lanús cross the line, Central & Boca fly the flag in the Libertadores
The two hundred and twenty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés joined by Killian to look back over a weekend of league action which saw Lanús secure a place in their championship final by winning Group 2 with two matches to spare, whilst the race for the top of Group 1 remains neck and neck between Godoy Cruz (who are ahead on goal difference) and San Lorenzo. Now that River Plate are definitely out of the Copa Libertadores, there's the opportunity for some discussion of their struggles since winning last year's Copa, and Rosario Central and Boca Juniors are the only Argentine sides left standing in the continental competition. As well as this, we have some talk about club finances and political goings-on at the AFA which we're sure you'll find just fascinating.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/iVUhdodGXXw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 224: Lanús close in, Godoy Cruz win again and Argentina's Copa América shortlist
The two hundred and twenty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod is short but sweet with plenty of food for thought. Lanús and Godoy Cruz continue to look like the two favourites for the title playoff - indeed, Lanús could confirm their place with two matches remaining depending on results this weekend - whilst last year's bigger sides all had underwhelming weekends due to Copa Libertadores commitments (Huracán went out on Tuesday night; River Plate and Racing followed them shortly after this episode was recorded). As well as this, we run the rule over Gerardo Martin's 40-man Copa América squad shortlist, answer listeners' questions, and predict what results will be like this weekend with the help of a die, to see whether it really is just pot luck...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/c1YXS8C0nMo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 223: A very dull round of derbies, Copa Libertadores knockout rounds begin & more
The two hundred and twenty-third episode of Hand Of Pod was recorded by Sam and Andrés in a rather cold living room, because it's chilly in Buenos Aires at present and no gas in Sam's building means no central heating in Sam's building. The dedication we show to this podcast... anyway, we discuss a weekend of clásico action in which not very much happened, apart from one or two appalling fouls and some decent goals (but not many of them at all). Other topics covered are the AFA's need for new TV rights and national team kit deals (they need money from anyone who'll give it to them, so if you've ever wanted to sponsor a major international football team...), and the chances Argentine clubs have in the Copa Libertadores.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/NXJab86Vs10" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 222: Copa Libertadores group stage round-up and much more
The two hundred and twenty-second episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés discuss the Copa Libertadores group stage, which has finished (or had almost finished, when we recorded) with five of Argentina's six clubs qualifying for the last sixteen - San Lorenzo are the odd one out. Boca Juniors' transformation under Guillermo Barros Schelotto continues apace; they've now scored ten goals in their last two matches, which isn't great news for their next opponents. Those next opponents are River Plate, of course, because this weekend is clásico weekend across the league, and Phil Carney is our Mystic Guest Predictor. All this and much more...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/P0r9xdsOfc0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 221: Racing's inconsistencies, River's ongoing problems and some Libertadores mathematics
The two hundred and twenty-first episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés and English Dan to look back on another goal-packed weekend of Primera action which saw Vélez Sarsfield hand Rosario Central their first home defeat in nearly a year and a half, Lanús get a well-deserved win over Banfield in the clásico, and Huracán claim victory by the odd goal in seven over San Martín. Racing are having consistency problems, and travel to La Paz next week in need of a result against Bolívar (a one-goal defeat or better) to qualify for the Copa Libertadores knockout stage. English Dan is bullish about their chances. River Plate also continue to have issues, but in spite of a 2-1 defeat away to São Paulo on Tuesday will still almost definitely be in the last sixteen, whilst Boca are already there, Central sealed their place just after we recorded, and San Lorenzo are out.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/xbHGYKBaH08" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 220: River and Boca's troubles, yet more goals, and surprise packages
In the two hundred and twentieth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Andrés, Fede and Remi discuss a weekend during which Rosario Central dropped points and River Plate lost, but Boca Juniors managed a marked improvement in a 3-0 win over Atlético de Rafaela and San Lorenzo came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at home to Belgrano. Boca's injury woes and River's lack of proper reinforcements over the summer break are topics of conversation, as well as Lanús' and Godoy Cruz's continuing fine form.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/H-pQ2B-bxPY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 219: two wins get Argentina's World Cup hopes on track, Messi's brilliance and more
The two hundred and nineteenth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés and Fran to look back on Argentina's two recent World Cup qualifying victories, away to Chile and at home to Bolivia. The character shown by the team, the attacking play in both first halves and of course the six points were some of the positives (as was Lionel Messi's brilliance in both matches), but the displays weren't perfect by any means, and we run the rule over what could have been better. Listeners' questions range from new Argentina goalscoring hero Gabriel Mercado to Daniel Osvaldo's fitness and whether it's acceptable for a foreigner to support Arsenal de Sarandí (the answer to that last one is 'no').<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/nsuBx-VCCr4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 218: Another goal-packed weekend, and Argentina's new WCQ challenges
In the two hundred and eighteenth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Peter and Andrés have a bumper discussion beginning with the number of goals in the latest round of Primera action (52 in 15 matches)and travelling through the Big Five's iffy form and Ricardo Caruso Lombardi's latest streetfight to arrive at a preview of Argentina's two upcoming World Cup qualifiers, away to Chile on Thursday night and at home to Bolivia on Tuesday. Can the team keep up their good showing as Lionel Messi returns, or will the talisman's arrival mean the others revert to expecting him to do all the attacking work for them? All will be revealed...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/8pN0W0DMbHA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 217: Boca get their first win under GBS, an up-and-down week for River, and more
Episode 217 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam welcome Andrés and English Dan to the studio to go over the last week in Argentine football with a fine-toothed comb. It's been a distinctly mixed seven days (and three matches) for River Plate, who were thrashed in the league but might have regained some confidence in the Libertadores on Wednesday night, and a good week for Boca Juniors, who claimed their first win of the Guillermo Barros Schelotto era on Monday. Estudiantes totally outplayed Gimnasia in the La Plata clásico on Sunday, and one of the consequences was the sacking of Gimnasia boss Pedro Troglio - though it might not have been a solely footballing decision. Lanús' and Rosario Central's unbeaten starts to the season have come undone, and there are some surprising competitors for the championship final positions, especially in Group 2.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/gPS2CeSAXYE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 216: Reviewing the superclásico and an awful lot of goals elsewhere
The two hundred and sixteenth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Andrés and Fede look back on a rather underwhelming superclásico which nonetheless gave us plenty to talk about - largely because we've now seen Guillermo Barros Schelotto in charge of Boca Juniors for a week (they play away to Bolívar in the altitude of La Paz in the Copa Libertadores tonight). If River v Boca was one of the lowlights of the weekend, though, there was plenty of entertainment elsewhere: previously winless Tigre hitting five past hitherto impressive Atlético Tucumán; nine goals in a crazy match in Santa Fe between Unión and Racing; Defensa y Justicia winning 5-1 away to Argentinos Juniors and many more goals besides. All this and more in just an hour and a quarter. Enjoy!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/WrZByf4In68" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 215: Boca Juniors change managers ahead of superclásico and more
The two hundred and fifteenth episode of Hand Of Pod is a bumper one, as we've got a major talking point this week. Sam, Andrés and Boca Juniors fans Fede and Fran discuss Boca's decision on Monday to sack Rodolfo Arruabarrena and replace him on Tuesday with Guillermo Barros Schelotto as manager. Is this the change in direction the club needs? Can the new manager handle Carlos Tevez's influence on team affairs without upsetting anyone? And most importantly, with a Copa Libertadores game against Racing tonight (Thursday) and a visit to River Plate on Sunday, how quick an impact can GBS have? Aside from Boca, we also look back on a weekend which saw yet another great performance from Rosario Central, a second consecutive clean sheet for River and more impressive stuff from Atlético Tucumán.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/q2VjffWx-sk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 214: San Lorenzo and River still can't defend, and are Boca back on track?
Episode 214 of Hand Of Pod is short but sweet, as Sam and Andrés take you through the last week in Argentine football. There are some entertaining matches to discuss, with San Lorenzo's 3-2 win over Vélez Sarsfield and River Plate's 3-3 draw away to Rosario Central the highlights - though Boca Juniors' 4-1 win at home to Newell's Old Boys is also a topic of conversation, and Colón's unbeaten start to the campaign came spectacularly undone with a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Godoy Cruz in Mendoza. The clásico de Avellaneda was a desperately dull match until the last few minutes, so we don't waste too much time talking about it. The Copa Libertadores group stage has begun, but until we've seen another few matches it's a little early to comment on that yet.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/B-1ShYF58tM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 213: Boca, Newell's and Vélez find their feet as others stumble
Episode 213 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and English Dan look back on two rounds of fixtures during which Boca Juniors almost lost a manager but ultimately kept him, and found their first win of the new year thanks to a goal from Carlos Tevez. As well as Boca, Newell's Old Boys and Vélez Sarsfield also both look rather better now than they did a couple of weeks ago, which makes Boca v Newell's a particularly interesting fixture this weekend. Newell's revival came in the form of a 5-0 tonking of Racing days after being played off the pitch by Central in the clásico rosarino, and Central are one of four clubs who've recorded three wins out of three (Aldosivi have a chance to do the same, but haven't done yet because Huracán's last two matches were postponed). This episode is later in the week than normal, but join us again next week, when we'll be back to our normal schedule.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/5agMfpzdSyk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 212: River thrash Quilmes, Boca edge towards crisis and the rest of the first round
The two-hundred and twelfth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Peter, Andrés and returning panel member Rob Brown to look back on the opening weekend of Primera División action; matches which saw River Plate tonk Quilmes 5-1, Boca Juniors held to a 0-0 draw away to Temperley and Racing suffer the indignity of defeat away to newly-promoted Atlético Tucumán, among other results. Rodolfo Arruabarrena's job as Boca manager is in serious jeopardy after a 4-0 defeat in the Supercopa Argentina (which happened after we recorded this episode), but he'll still be in charge this weekend - though for how much longer? We also give you the latest on Huracán's coach crash in Venezuela. Rumours of Patricio Toranzo having toes amputated are untrue.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/pUArdeQVx98" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 211: previewing the 2016 Primera División championship
Hand Of Pod is back for 2016, and Sam is joined by Andrés, Fede and Fran to preview another transitional championship, confusing format, stupid non-existent clásicos and all! We run the rule over which sides had good summers, which had indifferent ones and which had bad ones - where do some of the recent big hitters need to improve after disappointing last year, and who apart from Rosario Central are best placed to break the Big Five, who were resurgent in 2015? As well as this we've a change to the Mystical segment of HOP for this year - we want you to send in your predictions, and each week one lucky listener will get to try and beat the score set by Sam on this opening weekend. Can't be that hard, can it...?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/GXy0kHG-Khc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 210: River's Club World Cup campaign, AFA elections, playoff results and more
The two hundred and tenth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Andrés and Gustavo meet for a post-Hannukah (and pre-Christmas) podcast roundup of the last month in Argentine football, starting with River Plate's runners-up spot in the Club World Cup - and some alternative ideas for a format which could produce a more equitable tournament - and then looking back at the Argentine FA's hilarious/disastrous attempt to elect a new president earlier this month. We then give an overview of the final playoff results for the Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana qualification places, and have a quick look at Tuesday's Libertadores group stage draw. Merry Christmas to all our listeners, and you'll hear from us again in 2016!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/uFBwFj95UpY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 209: Huracán put River out of the Sudamericana semis, and the playoffs so far
The two hundred and ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by English Dan, Andrés, Fran and guest Rob Crisp for a brief roundup of the qualification playoffs for the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, and a preview of the finals for same (including a Racing v Independiente double-header for the final Libertadores spot, which is going to be great fun for the neutral). On Thursday night, Huracán reached their first ever continental final, a 2-2 draw at home to Copa Sudamericana holders River Plate giving them a 3-2 aggregate win and meaning River's amazing run of continental success under Marcelo Gallardo has come to an end, a couple of weeks before they get underway at the Club World Cup. We look back on that tie, on what Huracán have got to shout about and how they might do in the final against Independiente Santa Fe, and at River's ongoing issues ahead of their trip to Japan.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/aSmgLCdhExk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/oSr1hmIOubo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 207: Previewing Argentina v Brazil with Tim Vickery
Episode 207 of Hand Of Pod is a very special one, because on Friday we turn five years old. Sam is joined for the celebration by Andrés, English Dan, Peter and very special guest Tim Vickery, who's flown down from Rio de Janeiro specially for the occasion. Entirely coincidentally to Tim's visit (honest), on Thursday night Argentina host Brazil in World Cup qualifying, so after a review of last weekend's most important league action - which saw Nueva Chicago relegated in spite of an impressive win over Quilmes - and a discussion about our team of the championship, we move on to previewing Argentina v Brazil. There's plenty of chat throughout about the differences between football in the two countries, from the trends in management (Argentina good, Brazil bad) to player development, in which it seems both countries have something of an imbalance in very different ways.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/sfQYMHN1jPo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 206: Tevez leads Boca to a domestic double, and what's still to play for?
The two hundred and sixth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan, Andrés and Fede convene to talk about what might be Argentina's first proper domestic league-and-cup double (although given how young the Copa Argentina is, that's not quite as historic as it sounds). Carlos Tevez ended up making the difference for a Boca side who got cross the line in the title race on Sunday by beating Tigre, and who owed a large debt of gratitude to an eyecatchingly bad refereeing (and linesmanning) performance in Wednesday night's Copa Argentina final against Rosario Central. We discuss Boca's merits and what they need to strengthen ahead of next year's Copa Libertadores, and look forward to the upcoming final weekend of normal season league action, with a rundown of what's at stake in each of the matches Mystic Sam predicts.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/zZXIkgJ1Ud8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 205: Boca & Central fight for a domestic double, two managers step down on one day and more
The two hundred and fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and English Dan joined by Tony, a long-time listener and first-time caller. It's a bumper edition, as we stick our teeth into last Friday's Copa Argentina semi-finals, which leave Boca Juniors and Rosario Central - the top two in the league - going head to head in the final next Wednesday in Córdoba. San Lorenzo's Edgardo Bauza and Racing's Diego Cocca both announced they'll be leaving their managerial positions at the end of 2015 mere hours before we recorded, and Bauza in particular will surely have the pick of the continent's clubs. As well as this, we knew before recording that River Plate and Huracán were in the Copa Sudamericana semi-finals (Independiente played after we recorded, and went out), and there's an Argentina squad to consider as the team prepare to take on Brazil and Colombia without Lionel Messi in two weeks' time. All this and much more...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/fc4ZNU1622E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 204: Boca have to wait for the title, Chicago's survival hopes hang by a thread and more
In the two hundred and fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Andrés and English Dan for a look at last weekend's Primera División action, which saw Boca Juniors fail to capitalise on a fine chance to claim the title after San Lorenzo had lost - Boca were well beaten by Racing, and will need a result at home to Tigre next weekend in order to avoid a nervy title-decider on the last weekend away to Rosario Central. Nueva Chicago got a spectacular 5-0 win at home to Newell's Old Boys on a goal-packed weekend, but then had to watch as Colón got a 3-1 win over Arsenal - Colón's first win in six matches - which means Chicago are five points adrift with two matches remaining. There was plenty more to discuss, from River Plate's apathy towards the league to whether Daniel Oldrá is a better manager than Gabriel Heinze for Godoy Cruz (okay, not really much of a discussion on that last point). There's no Argentine football this weekend apart from the Copa Argentina semi-finals on Friday night, and we preview those as well.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/4NfRhJIQP6E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Brd9BtEVito" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 202: Boca close in on the title and Argentina gear up for World Cup qualifying
The two hundred and second episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés convene to discuss a weekend of football which saw Boca Juniors open up an imposing six point lead at the top of the table with just three matches remaining. Following San Lorenzo and Rosario Central's 2-2 draw, Boca struggled a bit but still beat Crucero del Norte 1-0, as a result of which Crucero, to no-one's surprise, are relegated. Still clinging on to their Primera status - for now - are Nueva Chicago, who grabbed a 2-1 win over Vélez Sarsfield. River Plate put in an awful performance and were well beaten, 3-0 by Independiente, and Quilmes' good form continued. This weekend the Primera takes a break for the first double-header of CONMEBOL's marathon World Cup qualifying campaign, which will see a Lionel Messi-less Argentina host Ecuador on Thursday and travel to Paraguay on Tuesday.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/h8NaAbgEs5k" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 201: Advantage Boca in the title race, the AFA election candidates and more
The two hundred and first episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés and English Dan as well as newcomer Fran to discuss a weekend of action which saw Boca Juniors take a decent lead in the title race as San Lorenzo dropped points to Tigre. Rosario Central shouldn't yet be ruled out though, as they reminded everyone with a 4-0 thrashing of Gimnasia. We also run the rule over Jonathan Calleri, who if some English newspapers are to be believed is attracting interest from Arsenal (of London, not Sarandí), and look at the two confirmed candidates for the first proper election the Argentine Football Association has had since... oh, a very long time indeed.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/zIhpxXtsSf0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 200: Tevez makes headlines as Boca stay top, Martino's first WCQ Argentina squad and more
Hand Of Pod is 200 episodes old, and this week Sam is joined by Peter and Andrés for a champagne celebration in a bumper episode. We look back over a weekend of Primera action which saw Carlos Tevez make more bad headlines (for breaking an opponent's leg) than good (for scoring twice) during Boca Juniors' 3-1 win over Argentinos Juniors which saw them remain top of the table. There were a few belting goals as well, and there's praise for the fine form of Independiente, Quilmes and others. We examine the run-ins of the title candidates - of whom we've decided there are three, with both leaders Boca and current second-placed San Lorenzo still yet to play third-placed Rosario Central, and also look at Gerardo Martino's first World Cup qualifying Argentina squad, which among more predictable calls includes Paulo Dybala's first call-up and Gonzalo Higuaín's exclusion. All this and plenty of listeners' questions! Thanks for your support over our first 200 episodes, and here's to plenty more...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/D0oiANDJkeg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 199: Boca go top with a superclásico win, and are away fans about to return to Argentina?
The hundred and ninety-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod is a post-clásico-round edition, with Sam and Andrés looking back over a weekend which saw Boca Juniors beat River Plate in the Monumental to go top of the league after San Lorenzo had surprisingly lost their derby away to Huracán. Independiente turned in the only really impressive clásico performance, beating Racing 3-0, whilst a lot of the other derbies were rather damp squibs. There's discusssion of Newell's Old Boys' and Vélez Sarsfield's disappointing current situations, and a rather dampened down plan for the return of away fans to Argentine stadia this coming weekend, with only one Primera match to see visiting supporters after all.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/JDBMRQI8qtc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 198: San Lorenzo beat Boca to top spot, Argentina friendlies and a whole round of clásicos!
The hundred and ninety-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod features Sam, Andrés and Mariano discussing last weekend's results, including San Lorenzo's 1-0 win away to Boca Juniors which took them top of the league, and River Plate's return to winning ways in a 4-1 tonking-which-wasn't-really-a-tonking of Nueva Chicago. There are also two national team friendlies to discuss, and the main lesson everyone appears to have learned from Argentina's 7-0 thrashing of Bolivia and their chaotic 2-2 draw with Mexico is that Matías Kranevitter is the real deal, and a lot of other stuff is still up in the air. As well as this, we have a whole round of clásicos to preview, as the AFA's ridiculous league format reaches its apogee this weekend. It is, admittedly, going to be quite a lot of fun.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/H1aunk2-nGA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 197: More AFA power struggles, crisis at Crucero del Norte and violence rears its head again
This week's Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés have as much off-pitch stuff to focus on as on-pitch. San Lorenzo drew and Boca Juniors won, to leave Boca two points clear at the top heading into this Sunday's clash of the top two, but the bigger news last weekend was in Mendoza, where Godoy Cruz v Racing was called off after 25 minutes with Racing leading 1-0, after Godoy Cruz barras started pelting the players with stones, apparently in protest at new manager Gabriel Heinze's refusal to give them money. There is also crisis at Crucero del Norte, whose players have started to publicly complain about how they have to travel to away matches. As well as all this, we look at the latest bizarre twists in the ongoing story of Marcelo Tinelli's campaign to get elected as president of the Argentine FA, look at two more points dropped by River Plate, and much more.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/xBmZcFXlHwE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 196: San Lorenzo and Boca extend their lead, Gerardo Martino isn't happy and more
In the hundred and ninety-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés look back on a weekend which saw San Lorenzo and Boca Juniors extend their (joint-)leadership of the title race, as they both won and River Plate slumped to a second straight defeat. Even more amazingly, Nueva Chicago won for the second week running - though we suspect both they and the team they beat, Crucero del Norte, will still be the two sides ultimately doomed to relegation. Argentina manager Gerardo Martino had some choice words for the Argentine FA's schedulers, and River are entering the transfer market after Ramiro Funes Mori's sale to Everton leaves them with a slot to fill in the defence and the cash to do so.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/BaVPRhEhvsU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 195: San Lorenzo and Boca both win as River lose ground, and sell Ramiro Funes Mori
The hundred and ninety-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and English Dan discuss an eventful round of action in the Primera last weekend, with San Lorenzo and Boca Juniors both claiming 2-1 wins to remain joint top, and their closest pursuers River Plate surprisingly lose to San Martín de San Juan, to fall behind in the title race - had River won that game and the one they still have in hand, they'd have been joint top. We also run the rule over Everton's new signing, River defender Ramiro Funes Mori, and consider a promising performance from Racing and more political discussions at the Argentine FA. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/zJoZy7STMLU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 194: A Copa Argentina roundup, Argentine FA election talk and more
The hundred and ninety-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés and English Dan to discuss what little football has been played since our last episode - namely, the last few games of the last 32 of the Copa Argentina. There were wins for Racing and Independiente, whilst Atlanta also advanced. As well as that, we also discuss another trophy for River Plate, albeit a rather less meaningful one than the one they picked up last week, and explain who Marcelo Tinelli is (at least within the context of football) and why so many people are currently getting so exercised at the prosect of his becoming president of the Asociación del Fútbol Argentino. All this and Mystic Sam's twentieth round predictions - we might be a day later than normal, but we couldn't leave those out...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/7zKm8hwZStk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 193: River Plate win the Copa Libertadores, and plenty of goals in the league
The hundred and ninety-third episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés, Peter, Joel and special guest Richard Martin to talk about River Plate's 3-0 win over Tigres UANL on Wednesday night, and the third Copa Libertadores title it gave the club. The role of Marcelo Gallardo in using and adapting River's tradition and expectations, the key players in the win and where the squad might go next are all discussed, before we move on to talk about a goal-packed weekend in the Primera División which ended with Boca Juniors and San Lorenzo tied on points at the top (River, three points behind them, didn't play at the weekend and have a game in hand). There's no football this weekend in Argentina due to primary elections, but Mystic Joel instead tells you what to bet on in the political sphere (not really).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/qw6yhFlrio4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 192: Boca stay top of the league, River's Libertadores final first leg and more
In the hundred and ninety-second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Andrés and Remi to look back on a week which saw Boca Juniors strengthen their position at the top of the league with a backs-to-the-wall win away to Belgrano after San Lorenzo had dropped points against Godoy Cruz. River Plate's reserves beat Colón, but the main focus of River's week was Wednesday night's Copa Libertadores final first leg away to Tigres, from which they took a 0-0 draw. Other topics up for discussion are the relegation battle (which increasingly looks rather an easy one to predict the outcome of) and a large variety of listeners' questions, ranging from Nueva Chicago's politicised fanbase to Racing's chances of defending their title.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/SCU3bWMUrLU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 191: River Plate reach the Copa Libertadores final, Boca stay top of the league and more
The hundred and ninety-first episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés in a good mood after River Plate's qualification for the final of the Copa Libertadores for the first time in 19 years. A 1-1 draw with Guaraní in Asunción, with Marcelo Gallardo signings Tabaré Viudez and Lucas Alario combining for the crucial goal, proved decisive and next week River will face Tigres of Mexico in the first leg (we didn't know this when we recorded). As well as River in the Copa, there's also a full weekend of Argentine league action to look back on, including River reserves' 5-1 tonking of Atlético de Rafaela, and wins for San Lorenzo and Boca Juniors (on Carlos Tevez's return to La Bombonera)which mean it's still Boca-San Lorenzo-River in a 1-2-3 at the top of the league table. Andrés also has a preview of this weekend's biggest league match, the clásico rosarino between Newell's Old Boys and Rosario Central.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/8R3bHwo9sGA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 190: Boca top the table ahead of Tevez's return & River take a first leg Libertadores lead
The hundred-and-nintieth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés, Fede and long-time HOP listener but first-time HOP contributor Johnny to look back over an eventful week. Boca Juniors leapfrogged San Lorenzo into top spot in the league, getting a gritty 1-0 win away to Sarmiento after both San Lorenzo and River Plate had been held to draws earlier in the weekend. For River, at least, there was the consolation of a fine performance and 2-0 win on Tuesday night in the first leg of their Copa Libertadores semi-final against Guaraní of Paraguay - the second leg will be next Tuesday in Asunción. On Monday, as well as a Vélez Sarsfield v Tigre match which saw a dramatic finish, there was Carlos Tevez's unveiling at La Bombonera, to which around 40,000 people showed up - Boca fans Fede and Johnny give us their thoughts on Carlitos' return and what it means for the team. As well as all this, we have a look at a few managerial debutants, including Gabriel Heinze, who Sam believes is the first graduate of both the Ferguson and Bielsa schools of football management (i.e. he played under both of them).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/WrwTonnFeeY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 189: reviewing Argentina's Copa América campaign and previewing the return of the Primera
Hand Of Pod returns as the Argentine Primera gears up to enter the second half of 2015. Sam and Andrés are here to review Argentina's Copa América campaign, which saw a second major final in a year, but a second disappointment at the last hurdle. Where do the national team go from here, which players matched up to expectations, who fell short and which younger stars should perhaps be given a chance to shake things up in the coming months? As well as this we look at Carlos Tevez's return to Boca Juniors and Javier Saviola's and Lucho González's to River Plate, consider the other main moves in the transfer market, and answer a few questions from our wonderful listeners, as ever.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/DmkT_f9Bxn4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 188: The 2015 Copa América preview episode!
The hundred and eighty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Andrés and English Dan gather for an uncharacteristically early recording session, defying a national strike to see to it that you get your weekly dose of nonsense. We begin with a look at the last weekend of action in the Argentine Primera, in which San Lorenzo's lead at the top was cut by Boca Juniors with a thumping 4-0 win at home to Newell's Old Boys, but River Plate threw away the chance to stay level with Boca by only drawing away to Olimpo. Dan's presence mean Racing are up for discussion again, but the main focus is of course the Copa América, which gets underway on Thursday evening when hosts Chile take on Ecuador. We give you the lowdown on (in our opinion) the main contenders - using Sam's newly-patented 'how many players in their mid-twenties do each squad have?' metric (eat your heart out, Nate Silver!), and of course go particularly big on Lionel Messi & co., who are looking to finally claim Argentina's first senior trophy since the 1993 Copa.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/jXEYfauE_b0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 187: San Lorenzo lead as Boca lose again and River get a controversial win
In the hundred and eighty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Andrés and Gustavo meet to discuss the penultimate weekend of Primera División action before the league breaks for the Copa América. San Lorenzo are out on their own at the top due to a win over Quilmes combined with Boca Juniors losing for a second successive week, this time away to Vélez Sarsfield. River Plate got a slightly controversial win over Rosario Central, prompting us to ask whether Ramiro Funes Mori is the Argentine league's answer to John Terry (because he seems to get away with a penalty decision every game, not all the... other stuff); we also look back on River's Copa Libertadores progression last week, and Racing's exit to Guaraní, both of which happened after episode 186 was recorded. As Gustavo is here, there's a roundup of lower division action as well, focussing mainly on the Nacional B so far this year.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/4_d9hbMr2v8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 186: The Argentine reaction to the FIFA arrests, Argentina's Copa América squad and more
In the hundred and eighty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by Andrés to discuss another lively week. There's talk about the reaction in Argentina to this week's FIFA arrests in Zurich, and how they affect Argentina (oh, how we wish Julio Grondona had lived long enough to have been bundled into the back of one of those electric cars), though we're sceptical about how much will change. We then cover last weekend's league action, during which Aldosivi dismantled Boca Juniors' unbeaten league record and San Lorenzo beat Sarmiento to move joint top - River Plate's chance to join them didn't come, as their game away to Tigre was the only Primera game of the weekend to be delayed by the AFA decision to cancel the remainder of the weekend's matches out of respect for Cristian Gómez, the Paraná defender who died of a heart attack during his side's game against Boca Unidos on Sunday afternoon. We were deeply pessimistic about River's chances of Copa Libertadores progression just after this episode was recorded, but as it happened we should have been more cheery - River got a 3-0 second leg win to qualify for the semi-final.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/TMLjl9F8Ocg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 185: The fallout from Boca Juniors' Copa Libertadores disqualification and more
The hundred and eighty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Peter talking about the only thing anyone in Argentine football has been discussing in the last few days - the pepper spray-and-acid attack by the Boca Juniors barra brava on River Plate's players which saw the second half of the Copa Libertadores quarter-final superclásico called off, and Boca disqualified from this year's competition. The political ramifications at the club and for Argentine Security Secretary Sergio Berni (who claimed the security operation had been a roaring success), Boca's protestations and appeals, whether CONMEBOL were too lenient with their punishment and more are all on the table. The tragic death of Emanuel Ortega which caused the calling-off of last weekend's league fixtures means Mystic Sam remains almost unchanged in his predictions this time, though there has been one adjustment compared to last week's readings; he now thinks Estudiantes can win away to Atlético de Rafaela.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/SzaR7-ZWagg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 184: One more superclásico, Independiente's Europe-bound players, Argentina squads and more
In the hundred and eighty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Peter and Andrés look back on a goal-laden weekend of Primera División action, and on last week's Copa Libertadores last sixteen first leg between River Plate and Boca Juniors. We consider what River's 1-0 win means for Thursday night's return leg, and domestically we discuss Crucero del Norte's uselessness, Belgrano's and Rosario Central's good campaigns, and Independiente's chances of losing three players to various European clubs, as well as Federico Mancuello's hilarious red card on Sunday night against Boca, and why he won't be suspended for this Sunday's clásico away to Racing, which we also preview. Listen before Thursday's Libertadores second leg between Boca and River for the full experience, but there's plenty more in store if you don't get here until afterwards!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/bwaspnfNLzw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 183: Reviewing Sunday's superclásico and previewing Thursday's, plus San Lorenzo and more
In the hundred and eighty-third episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés are joined by Mariano, returning to the pod after a long absence, and new boy Federico, the second of our newly-acquired tame Boca Juniors fans. We look back on Boca's 2-0 win over River Plate on Sunday in the league, and review the rest of the weekend's action as well - including some thoughts from Mariano on San Lorenzo's decline and Copa Libertadores exit. We then preview this Thursday's clash between River and Boca at the Monumental in part two of the Superclásico Trilogy, in the first leg of their Copa Libertadores last sixteen tie. Will Sunday's Boca win play a role in either manager's thinking? Will we see unchanged teams? Which side has more pressure on them, and is a Libertadores last sixteen tie more or less important than a Copa Sudamericana semi-final? All these questions and more are addressed. And this week it's only an hour and a bit long, so early birds have plenty of time to listen before the match!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/x1m2ZfnJoao" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 182: Previewing three superclásicos and catching up on other bits and pieces
In the hundred and eight-first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Andrés and Joel are joined by new boy - and Boca Juniors fan - Julian in an exciting week in Buenos Aires, as we gear up to watch three clashes between River Plate and Boca Juniors in just eleven days; two in the Copa Libertadores last 16, and first of all one in the league this Sunday. We discuss how both sides have come to be sitting joint first after ten matches, how recent superclásicos have gone and what we expect in the upcoming clashes - as well as why the choice of referees, especially for Sunday's encounter, has caused such a big fuss. Prior to that, we have a round-up of the other recent action in Argentina, including a Copa Argentina catch-up and a look at the other sides in the Copa Libertadores knockout stages, because apparently there are some.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/UbGlr40dMek" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 181: River and Boca are joint top, the problem with Independiente & more
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Dqv-k_vrbbM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 180: Four joint-leaders, River up against it and a trip to Temperley
The hundred and eightieth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés joined by new boy Remi, who brings a continental European air of sophistication (and a typically Dutch manner of speaking against received wisdom) to the podcast. We discuss the results over the weekend which led to Boca Juniors, River Plate, San Lorenzo and Rosario Central to all be tied on 21 points at the top, look at an emotional clásico del Sur in which Lanús beat Banfield 2-1, and explain how River Plate were up against it in the Copa Libertadores as we recorded (we returned afterwards to let you know how that turned out). Remi also tells us about his visit to Temperley on Friday, where he watched the hosts beat Colón 2-1. This week's history section is a tribute to Uruguayan journalist, historian and football writer Eduardo Galeano, who died on Monday.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/ruCzGGSpey0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 179: Video refereeing controversy, Boca go top and Banfield join the race
The hundred and seventy-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés discuss referee Germán Delfino's decision to rescind a penalty and red card seemingly on television evidence during Vélez Sarsfield's 2-1 win over Arsenal de Sarandí on Saturday - what happened, and how have the Argentine media tried in places to twist the story? Other topics on this episode are River Plate's weekend clásico win, 1-0 over San Lorenzo, and Boca Juniors' 2-0 victory away to Huracán which took Boca top of the nascent league table. We also find time for a six-goal thriller between Defensa y Justicia and Rosario Central, the end of Unión de Santa Fe's unbeaten record, and much more besides. This week's history section is devoted to Omar Sívori, the great former River and Juventus striker who made his debut 61 years ago last Saturday.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/wTWvE3Pt7rg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 178: San Lorenzo go top, a new history bit and is Federico Mancuello better than Harry Kane?
The hundred and seventy-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod is a whopper, but with off-pitch trouble, plenty of goals in a week when the league leadership changed hands, Daniel Osvaldo's on-pitch trolling, two national team friendlies and a new regular Argentine football history section to include, how could it be any other way? We discuss San Lorenzo's thrashing of Lanús and River Plate's last-gasp win over Gimnasia, as well as Boca's canter against Estudiantes, before changing our focus to Argentina's recent friendly victories over the Isle of Man - sorry, I mean, El Salvador - and Ecuador, in the first of which Federico Mancuello did a Harry Kane by coming on as a second half substitute and scoring shortly after. The subject of our first history section is a man who would have turned 100 years old on Monday - Arsenio Erico, the Paraguayan who is the all-time top goalscorer in the history of Argentina's Primera División.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/SRe0m1e6rYI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 177: Late goals, Central's 100% start ends, and River and Independiente keep clean sheets!
The hundred and seventy-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés discussing a weekend of Primera action that was notable for late goals deciding the outcomes of matches, and for Rosario Central's perfect start to the campaign coming to an end with a draw away to the bottom club, Atlético de Rafaela (Central remain top, though). Argentinos Juniors' unbeaten record came spectacularly undone, Aldosivi and Unión produced a 3-3 draw and Boca Juniors goalkeeper Agustín Orión is in hot water after breaking San Martín forward Carlos Bueno's shin (though we say it was accidental). Perhaps most surprisingly of all, both Independiente and River Plate managed to keep clean sheets! All this and more awaits, though we've almost no discussion of Argentina's upcoming internationals, since they're only friendlies.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/8CGBFJw6p1M" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 176: Central's perfect start continues, River's six-goal thriller and more
In the hundred and seventy-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Andrés and Santi look back over a goal-packed weekend of Primera action in which only four sides out of the thirty managed to keep clean sheets (and two of those were in the same game). River Plate's problems continued but they battled back to a 3-3 draw with Arsenal, whilst Rosario Central remain top of the league with a 100% record courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Temperley. And for Lanús, Santiago Silva's exit seems to have lifted some of the weight from their remaining attackers' shoulders, because they got a thumping 5-1 win away to Godoy Cruz. All of this is covered, as well as the Argentine sides in the Copa Libertadores and a look at the three local league players who've been called up to the national team for next month's 'tour' of the USA.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/PdcKtiNOOak" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 175: Central's fine start, Newell's search for identity & one third of the league are awful
In the hundred and seventy-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Andrés and Peter discuss another weekend of action which included an amazing 53-yard lob from San Lorenzo's Pablo Barrientos, River Plate throwing away a 2-0 lead to draw with Unión, and Boca Juniors being held away to Colón. Rosario Central, meanwhile, have won four out of four under rookie manager Eduardo Coudet, whilst their cross-city rivals Newell's Old Boys still don't look the finished article, though they defend with the ball well. Also, a third of the league are bloody awful - to no-one's surprise - with Crucero del Norte the unwilling poster boys for the shortcomings of most of the ten newly-promoted sides.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/O-tvXrtrAZQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 174: Laferrere's barra cause trouble, San Lorenzo lose and more
The hundred and seventy-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Peter and Andrés begin with a discussion of yet more violence affecting Argentine football, after a weekend marred by a running street battle involving the barra brava of fourth division club Laferrere which left 2 policemen seriously injured. We then move on to review last weekend's action in the Primera División and the last few Argentine games in the Copa Libertadores. San Lorenzo lost at home to San Martín - and just after we recorded this episode, also lost at home to Corinthians - but things look less gloomy for the rest of the Big Five, whilst Estudiantes and Rosario Central are also doing well. Hand Of Pod is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a wonderful source of English-language news from Argentina and across Latin America.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/64O2mpXaXwQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 173: River held, Boca win again and a Copa Argentina discussion
The hundred and seventy-third episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Peter, Andrés and Jon Gilbert to discuss the second weekend of Argentina's monster new Primera. River Plate were held in a lively 2-2 draw with Quilmes, Boca Juniors made it two league wins out of two and champions Racing have just one point from their first two matches, but there's a long way to go yet. We also discuss the Libertadores games that have taken place since we last recorded (since we recorded this episode, Boca Juniors beat Montevideo Wanderers 2-1 on Thursday night), and have a brief conversation about the Copa Argentina.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/isk_enAMSfY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 172: The first round of 2015 Primera action & Argentine clubs' Libertadores hopes
The 2015 Monster Championship has begun, and in the hundred and seventy-second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Santi and Peter convene to look back on the first weekend of action. Champions Racing got off to a losing start, Independiente edged a five-goal thriller, whilst things were rather more pedestrian for River Plate, Boca Juniors and San Lorenzo, who all recorded routine wins. The first managerial casualty of the season has, faintly ridiculously, already occurred, with Reinaldo Merlo sacked by Colón. We also look at the Copa Libertadores and tell you exactly who will qualify from each group.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/vPWvtl42pB4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 171: Previewing the 2015 Monster Championship
Hand Of Pod returns from the summer break with our first episode of 2015. Sam, Andrés, Peter and Gustavo preview Argentina's controversial new 30-team top flight in this episode. Which teams have done best and worst in the transfer market, who's already had some form of competitive action to get warmed up for the task ahead, and should Argentine sides be expected to make waves in this year's Copa Libertadores? All these questions are answered, along with some more, probably. We are pleased to announce a new partnership with the Argentina Independent starting in this episode - they pay for our fernet, we tell you that argentinaindependent.com is an excellent English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America. Check it out.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/3oJLEW2t7kQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/LkdD0UZUg2g" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/B8TVmNEFjj8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/aQMccufWTYQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 167: Between superclásicos, a failed gamble by River, Racing go top and more
The hundred and sixty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod is the first to fall neatly between two superclásicos, and Sam is joined by Andrés, Gustavo and Asli (and her canine companion Vinicius) to look back on last Thursday night's disappointingly dull 0-0 in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana semi-final, and forward to this Thursday's return leg between River Plate and Boca Juniors. At the weekend, River took a gamble with their team selection against Racing in the league, and it backfired - Racing snatched a 1-0 win to go top of the table with two games remaining. There were surprising wins away from home for Godoy Cruz and Arsenal de Sarandí, some promotions to next year's top flight have been clinched, and there was a barra brava turf battle in the cafeteria of River's stadium. We also give you the clearest idea we possibly can of what the 2015 Primera División is going to look like, because that seems to have been confirmed now (though further developments would surprise none of us).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/XUQ83S1WLV0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 166: Points dropped at the top, and a season-defining few days ahead for River Plate
In the hundred and sixty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by English Dan for an afternoon espresso and a chat about an interesting week past and a thrilling one to come. We begin with some discussion of the latest declarations from the AFA, which shed a little (but just a little)light on how the Primera will look in 2015, but which fail to answer all the pertinent questions. After that, we move on to a quick review of last weekend's top flight action, which saw River Plate and Lanús both drop points, allowing Racing and Independiente to gain ground. We then consider the coming week, with the Copa Argentina semi-finals to be played shortly after this episode goes online on Wednesday, followed on Thursday by the first leg of an epic Copa Sudamericana semi-final between Boca Juniors and River - sandwiched between which, league leaders River also visit second-placed Racing. These are going to be days which will define River's campaign, so enjoy this episode while it's relevant!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/JiUWOmyhGZ4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/zAAagGua6iM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/DuSInCsaGkw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/vxtQ4dkTpgM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 162: Central claim victory in the Rosario clásico, River still lead the way and more
The hundred and sixty-second episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Peter and Andrés joined one last time (or so he claims) by Neil Clack, author of an actual published book. We look back on Rosario Central's 2-0 win over Newell's Old Boys in last weekend's clásico rosarino, and consider where Newell's go next, before reviewing the rest of the weekend's action - and a very satisfying seven days for River Plate. The Argentine sides in the Copa Sudamericana get a once-over (except Boca, who only secured their place in the quarter-finals a couple of hours after we finished recording this episode), and we talk a bit about the incoming league structure and other annoying related things.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/ykCTmY-OQdg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 161: A look at Argentina's friendlies and River extend their lead
In the hundred and sixty-first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés look back on Argentina's two recent friendlies in China - in Beijing against Brazil and in Hong Kong against Hong Kong (although neither of us saw the latter). We explain why the AFA won't be getting any money themselves from the Hong Kong match, before looking at the weekend's Primera action, which saw River Plate emerge as the big winners - other sides stumbling, combined with River's 1-0 win away to Newell's Old Boys, means the champions have a four point lead at the top of the table. We also belatedly preview this weekend's Rosario clásico between Central and Newell's, among much more.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/qKcLiuQ9BBg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 160: A very wet superclásico, Lanús keep the pressure on & Tigre's revival continues
The hundred and sixtieth episode of Hand Of Pod is a chance for Sam, Andrés and Peter to review Sunday's superclásico, in which River Plate and Boca Juniors played out a 1-1 draw in an extremely wet Estadio Monumental. A poor refereeing performance, a farcical pitch and, above all, an awful lot of rain were on the agenda for Sam (who was lucky enough to be there), whilst the others enjoyed it from the warmer and drier surroundings of their sofas. Elsewhere, Tigre made it three league wins out of three under Gustavo Alfaro, Lanús kept the pressure on River at the top of the table by beating Rosario Central, and Independiente's good run continued with a highly entertaining 2-2 draw away to Godoy Cruz. All this and some typically interesting listeners' questions are right here. Enjoy!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/0ILoRYCX6as" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Jj6uBpJlDiQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 158: Martino's first Argentina squad, a possible format change & more
The hundred and fifty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and English Dan discuss Gerardo Martino's first real Argentina squad, after he was obliged to name an AFA-imposed one for the friendly against Germany earlier this month. We discuss why Carlos Tevez wasn't included, and what the inclusions of Erik Lamela and Javier Pastore tell us about where Martino is going with his side. The AFA are talking about reverting the format of the league back to a 20-team top flight from 2016, and we have a weekend of action to look back on including yet another River Plate victory - this time a 4-1 thrashing of third-placed Independiente (which explains why Peter was mysteriously unavailable this week).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/IlMFBW1xjpc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 157: Rain halting play, Tigre turning form round and a dull La Plata clásico
The hundred and fifty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés beging with a look back at Sunday evening, when one-and-a-third matches were called off due to some 'orrible weather in (Greater) Buenos Aires throughout the day. We wish good luck to Jonás Gutiérrez in his fight against testicular cancer, and look back on the matches last weekend which actually did get played; Independiente have gone joint second, along with Newell's Old Boys, whilst Vélez Sarsfield have slumped somewhat in recent weeks. Oh, and we also have the Dwarf Priest of La Plata to talk about, as we look back on one La Plata clásico (in the Copa Sudamericana on Tuesday) and forward to another (in the league on Saturday).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/VmJiMQP2elg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/oR46NbZFi2s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/8FvcOTuyGQU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 154: A glut of goals, Vélez have maximum points and crisis at Boca Juniors
The hundred and fifty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod is one of those rare episodes which clocks in at well under an hour. Sam is joined by English Dan for a daytime recording, looking back on a goal-filled weekend of action in the Primera which saw no fewer than three 4-0 scorelines and a 3-3 - this season still hasn't produced any goalless draws. Vélez Sarsfield and River Plate particularly impressed, whilst a 3-0 win for Atlético de Rafaela - their first ever in La Bombonera - has plunged Boca Juniors still deeper into crisis. We wonder how much longer Carlos Bianchi can cling on as manager, and whether Boca's problems run deeper than simply having let Juan Román Riquelme go during the winter transfer window. There's a midweek round (or two-thirds of one, at least) on Tuesday and Wednesday, hence the early recording of this episode.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/alAlgkO_sgU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 153: Running the rule over Rojo and Fernández, an excellent showing from River and more
Sam, Peter and Andrés begin Hand Of Pod 153 with a look at two of the biggest Argentine moves in the European transfer window so far - World Cup star Marcos Rojo's move from Sporting to Manchester United, and World Cup flop Federico Fernández's transfer from Napoli to Swansea City. We ask how much the World Cup really told us about both players' levels. We then look back on the second weekend of Primera División action, which saw a superb performance from River Plate, a comfortable 2-0 win for Racing over newly-crowned champions of South America San Lorenzo, and an undeserved but potentially morale-boosting victory for Boca Juniors away to Belgrano, as well as a rollicking five-goal thriller between Banfield and Defensa y Justicia, two of the promoted sides. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/vMXQ5xogVY4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 152: San Lorenzo win the Libertadores, Martino is the new Argentina boss & more
On the hundred and fifty-second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Peter, Andrés and Joel are joined by Neil Clack, a former resident of Buenos Aires and author of Animals! The Story of England v Argentina, who is visiting BA again after a few years away. We've got a lot to talk about, starting with San Lorenzo's first ever Copa Libertadores win on Wednesday night. We also discuss Gerardo Martino's unveiling as Argentina manager after Alejandro Sabella stood down, Juan Sebastián Verón's announcement that he'll stand for the Estudiantes de La Plata presidency in September, yet more potential messing around with the league structure... oh, and the first weekend of league action, because that happened as well. It's a long one, but we hope you'll enjoy it.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/oDOLwJNyx7w" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/RFBUIpWgbk8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 150: Julio Grondona is dead, and San Lorenzo are Libertadores finalists
One story dominates the hundred-and-fiftieth episode of Hand Of Pod, and we make no apologies for it: Sam and Andrés mark a landmark episode with discussion of Julio Grondona's exit from his position as head of the Argentine FA, which came to pass in the manner he frequently said it would; in a coffin. The FIFA Vice-President died on Wednesday afternoon, and we ask what the consequences will be for the AFA and for FIFA. If you don't believe in speaking ill of the dead, you might want to avoid this one. We also congratulate San Lorenzo on reaching their first ever Copa Libertadores final, ask whether outgoing Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella was the man who killed Grondona (sort of), and answer a few listeners' questions. Thanks to all our listeners for helping us reach this milestone; here's to another 150 episodes!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/v_RGktKJIUU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 149: Looking back on a successful World Cup for Argentina, and where to next?
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/6yu1cjKFiu0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 148: Alfredo Di Stéfano RIP & previewing Argentina's World Cup semi-final
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/7_KyX8dCd6c" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 147: Independiente are back & everything you need to know about Argentina at the World Cup!
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/0cPjna3MCCw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 146: River's endless trophy collection, Colón are relegated and more
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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/M_7GlrF8rWo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 145: ¡River campeón!, a Colón v Atlético relegation tie-breaker and more
The hundred-and-forty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan, Peter, Gustavo and Andrés joined by a documentary film crew from the USA; the American Fútbol boys have been touring Latin America and filming their way around it in the run-up to the World Cup. Before we get on to their story, though, there's plenty to review; starting with the end of another shocking season for Racing, but quickly moving on to the week's biggest story, River Plate's 35th Argentine top flight title, secured with a 5-0 thrashing of Quilmes last weekend. We also look at a near unbelievable end to the relegation struggle which is not, in fact, and end to the relegation struggle, since Colón and Atlético de Rafaela now have to play off to decide who goes down; that match will kick off roughly 12 hours after this podcast goes live (i.e. on Saturday afternoon). We have a general Torneo Final review including Boca Juniors' runner-up spot, and much more. Enjoy!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/HgxBIdH9J8k" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 144: Argentina's World Cup longlist, and River Plate close in on a long-awaited title
The hundred-and-forty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod is recorded in Sam's living room, and he, Peter and Andrés - backed by a dog, an antiquated and improperly removed former doorbell and a passing heavy goods train - discuss Argentina's World Cup longlist, including why Carlos Tevez has NOT been left out for Franco Di Santo. We then move on to look at the last weekend of the Torneo Final, which begins on Friday but sees all its crunch matches on Saturday; will River Plate claim their first title since their return to the Primera? Will Estudiantes given Juan Sebastián Verón a trophy-winning send-off? Will Gimnasia finally end the wait for a professional Primera title? We also look at the relegation table, which sees Godoy Cruz enter the last weekend one point ahead of Colón and Atlético de Rafaela (if two or more sides end up tied on points, there'll be a playoff to decide who goes down). Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/irRhZJgsP58" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 143: Gimnasia & River joint top with two games left, All Boys relegated and more
The hundred-and-forty-third episode of Hand Of Pod is upon us, and Sam, Peter and Andrés review another weekend of Torneo Final action as River Plate draw back level with Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata at the top - both have 31 points - with just two rounds of matches left. All Boys have been relegated following a 3-1 defeat to Boca Juniors, and there were tremendously entertaining matches between Arsenal and Newell's Old Boys, and River and Racing - both of which ended 3-2. Wasn't it just last week we were asking whether it was a dull league after very few goals had been scored? We ask why a barra brava group feel able to demand free World Cup tickets from the AFA, wonder who'll replace ‘Mostaza’ Merlo as Racing manager, and try to explain how the bloody hell Copa Sudamericana qualification works, among other subjects.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/VvlUt0NeW9E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 142: Crazy league restructuring from the AFA, Gimnasia go top & Argentinos are down
The hundred-and-forty-second episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Peter and Andrés begin with an in-depth consideration (much more in-depth, we'd be prepared to bet, than the AFA gave it) of the Argentine Football Association's decision this week to expand the top flight to thirty teams and change the entire league structure as from next February. What it means for the top flight, what the second half of 2014 in Argentine football will look like, why it's been done and how many people are happy about it (just the one, and you can guess his name), among other subjects. We then get on to the football from last weekend, in which Argentinos Juniors were relegated, Gimnasia La Plata took a two point lead at the top of the Torneo Final, Boca Juniors looked impressive and there were some fine goals scored. Oh, and down in the second division, Independiente won a match!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/YegHRDg3frg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 141: Cantero loses battle with the barra brava, River go top and title & relegation run-ins
There's a lot to get through on Hand Of Pod 141, but Sam, Peter and birthday boy Andrés manage to whistle through in under an hour and a half, for once. First on the agenda is the news that on Wednesday, Javier Cantero finally stood down as Independiente president. How the club's barra brava forced him out and why, in spite of being against the barra, many ordinary fans will be happy to see him go as well is the first topic of the day that we tackle. We then consider the Primera División title race - River Plate and Gimnasia La Plata now sit joint top of the Torneo Final - and ask whether River are the favourites, given the run-in they have. Also up for discussion is the relegation battle, in which although most teams (bar Argentinos Juniors) are quite close together, it looks like the three drop spots are all but settled already. Questions include our thoughts on Lanús' full back Alejandro Silva and our all-time favourite Argentine club kits.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/AFB1Xk_AfCQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 140: Managers making foolish declarations & Argentine Libertadores hopes
Episode 140 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan, Andrés and Peter welcome not one but two special guests - Jonathan Wilson returns to HOP and Rupert Fryer finally makes his long-awaited debut. We discuss Ramón Díaz and Ricardo Caruso Lombardi embarrassing themselves to varying degrees, two managerial changes, as Newell's Old Boys and more surprisingly, Arsenal de Sarandí both changed bosses, consider the title race and the relegation battle and ask how Argentine sides will do in the Copa Libertadores - four of Argentina's five representatives are in the knockout stage, with only Newell's failing to get out of their group. We also look at whether Fernando Gago's injury is really bad news for either Boca Juniors or Argentina and have a bit of a laugh at Racing, who've been rubbish again lately.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/0sUZXNhatvw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 139: Looking back on the clásico rosarino, summarising Argentine Libertadores hopes and more
Hand Of Pod episode 139 is a bumper edition, featuring Sam, Santi, Andrés and Peter. They discuss not one but two rounds of Torneo Final action, including a 3-3 thriller between Racing and Estudiantes which no-one saw coming, and a 2-1 away win for Rosario Central in Sunday's Rosario clásico against Newell's Old Boys. Three sides lead the Torneo Final on 21 points, with two more just behind them on 20, and the top nine are separated by just three points. We also look at Argentine hopes in the Copa Libertadores - at the time of recording, Lanús, Vélez Sarsfield and Arsenal had all confirmed their places in the knockout stage. A couple of hours after recording ended, San Lorenzo joined them, but just as this episode was uploaded on Thursday night, Newell's Old Boys crashed out. Santi's not been on for a while and has grown jealous of HOP new boy Gustavo hugging the lower league limelight, so we also let him give a roundup of Ascenso action, and look at the frankly slightly silly notion that Boca Juniors might be in relegation trouble next season. Since we recorded, and following Newell's Copa exit, their manager Alfredo Berti has resigned.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/PafCwXNPOmQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 138: reviewing River's first win away to Boca in a decade, a Libertadores overview and more
The hundred-and-thirty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod was recorded at lunchtime on Tuesday, over mate, in order for us to get it to you ahead of (most of) the eleventh round of Torneo Final action. It features Sam, English Dan and a brief guest appearance from Sam's brother, Will, who tells us what it was like watching - or rather, trying to watch - Boca Juniors v River Plate from a cafe on the Bolivian border with a small child who was more interested in cartoons. We dissect River's 2-1 away win in the superclásico as no other English-language Argentine football podcast can, as well as considering the other results from the weekend and how they affect the title and relegation races. We also take a look at how Argentine sides are doing with one match each of the Copa Libertadores group stages left, give a mention to some very good news for San Lorenzo fans, and much more. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/YI5XL5b6tXg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 137: Colón still lead the way, Independiente in meltdown & previewing Boca v River
The hundred-and-thirty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Peter and Andrés joined by German Dan to discuss an interesting weekend of matches, at the end of which Colón were still top of the Torneo Final pile, and looking increasingly likely to avoid relegation, points deduction or no points deduction. There were surprising results on Saturday and more predictable ones on Sunday, which concluded with a dire goalless draw between Quilmes and Boca Juniors. Boca's next match is of course at home to their arch rivals River Plate, so as ever we dedicate a chunk of this week's pod to previewing the superclásico; will River get their first win in La Bombonera in a decade? Can Boca lift their game? We also discuss Dan's side Argentinos Juniors, and what's gone wrong for them, and Peter tries to give us a quick lowdown of what mentalness is happening at Independiente this week. All this and more awaits...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/ndRICAYUerA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 136: a thirteen team title race and more
In episode 136 of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Peter, Andrés and some bloke called Joel who wandered in wanting to record discuss last weekend's Torneo Final action. There are thirteen teams within six points of the top after half the championship has been played, and in spite of an unexpectedly thrilling defeat to All Boys, River Plate are one of them. Boca Juniors are also up there, also in spite of themselves, whilst the table is still lead, oddly, by Colón (who before this episode was uploaded, beat Tigre 1-0 to ensure they'll be joint top for another week on Friday night). Circumstances prevented this one being edited and uploaded before early Saturday morning, but it was recorded on Wednesday evening.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/N_rxY7NtR2o" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 135: A tightening title race as frontrunners drop points, and Argentine Libertadores hopes
In the hundred-and-thirty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Peter look back over a weekend which saw two of the title frontrunners - league leaders Colón and their pursuers Estudiantes - drop points, allowing the race to become even more congested; even River Plate, who picked up seven points in three games last week, are only three points off the lead, despite now not having scored more than once in a league game for more than half a season. We run the rule over each of the Big Five, particularly Boca's distinctly un-crisis-like form, and ask how Argentina's sides are getting on (or were, as of Wednesday evening) in the Copa Libertadores. Listeners' questions range from how a 'local national team' would do at the World Cup to the future of Argentine full backs.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/e7lD4pcP2jk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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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.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/_GKBfW7yxBM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 133: No shortage of thrillers, Boca finally win again... and look out, Newell's are back!
The hundred-and-thirty-first episode of Hand Of Pod features Sam, English Dan, Andrés and Ilan. They look back over the fourth round of the Torneo Final, which saw some wonderfully entertaining games: two golazos from Gonzalo Castellani as Godoy Cruz beat Rosario Central 3-0; a 3-2 thriller in La Fortaleza where Lanús ousted Vélez; a frankly slightly silly 2-2 draw in the round's final match between Gimnasia and Belgrano in La Plata... and a simply awe-inspiring performance from Newell's, who ended a run of thirteen matches without in spectacular fashion, dismantling Atlético de Rafaela to claim a 4-1 victory (they did it again as this episode was being edited, beating Nacional 4-0 in the Copa Libertadores). Boca Juniors finally won a game; their 1-0 win over Estudiantes was the La Plata side's first defeat of the year. And of course, River Plate and Racing are both looking awful again. We ask why that is. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/L4DjCk_f4Bk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 132: The champs are up and running, Boca's Riquelme-reliance, trouble at River and more
In the hundred-and-thirty-second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam is joined by English Dan, Peter and Rob, and we discuss not one but two rounds of league action, with the third round having been played in midweek. San Lorenzo have started looking like the defending champions with back-to-back victories, Estudiantes have started with three straight wins to top the table early on, Racing look like... well, Racing, and it's been a poor week for Boca Juniors. River Plate are in hot water over another security issue at the Estadio Monumental, and Tigre manager Fabián Alegre might be our new favourite manager. Oh, and Ricardo Caruso Lombardi's back. All this and much more...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/hKHC0YTTRtM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 131: River & Boca being better than rubbish, San Lorenzo beginning with (two) defeats & more
The hundred-and-thirty-first episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Andrés and Rob look back over the opening weekend of the 2014 Torneo Final, which featured better than expected (better than we expected, at least) performances from River Plate and Boca Juniors, champions San Lorenzo starting as they don't mean to go on with a defeat away to Olimpo in Bahía Blanca, an impressive win for Racing - who endured a typically farcical situation surrounding their new signing Wason Rentería - and more. We ask whether Newell's have shot themselves in the foot by not adding to their strike force and whether Argentinos Juniors are going to be more entertaining this year, and give you the back story to the 20-year-old who'll be making his debut in goal for Belgrano away to Boca Juniors on Sunday.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/SijJellQpQk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 130: Reviewing the summer ins and outs, and previewing the 2014 Torneo Final
Episode 130 of Hand Of Pod is the best-sounding ever, thanks to a new microphone paid for by the enormous generosity of HOP listener Doug Hart. Sam is joined by Santi, Mariano, Andrés and new HOP cast member Peter Coates to look back over a relatively quiet summer in the transfer market, and look forward to a hectic-looking Torneo Final. Éver Banega's move to Newell's Old Boys, River Plate's and Racing's impressive pre-seasons, Boca Juniors' continuing injury woes and more are all up for discussion, among much more. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/3CwfqkKw3kc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 129: ¡San Lorenzo campeón!, Lanús claim the Sudamericana, and a general Inicial round-up
The hundred-and-twenty-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod is also the last of 2013, and Sam is joined by English Dan and Joel to look back over a Torneo Inicial that was settled in an entirely predictable manner; with all four of the title hopefuls failing to win, meaning San Lorenzo took the trophy by default with the lowest points total of the three-points-for-a-win era. Lanús have the consolation of the Copa Sudamericana, only the third major trophy in their history (and the second in the last six years), whilst River Plate, Boca Juniors, Racing and the rest of the pre-season supposed title hopefuls could only look on enviously. We consider Colón's woeful last few months, look at how Independiente are going at the halfway point of their campaign in the B, and Joel gives us the lowdown on Rodolfo D'Onofrio, who as of Tuesday is the new president of River Plate, having won Sunday's elections by a resounding margin. It only remains for us to say thanks for listening during 2013, merry Christmas if you're celebrating it, and we look forward to entertaining (or at least bothering) you all again in 2014.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/7ILqXqajUV4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 128: Still no wiser about the champions, Lanús' Sudamericana hopes & Colón in crisis update
The hundred-and-twenty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod was recorded two days before the start of the final round of league fixtures, and we still have no idea who out of San Lorenzo, Lanús, Newell's Old Boys and Vélez Sarsfield are going to be champions - Vélez host San Lorenzo and Newell's host Lanús in the last round, but those matches won't be played until Sunday the 15th. That's due to Lanús' participation in the Copa Sudamericana final (they drew the first leg 1-1 shortly after we recorded this episode). We also look at Racing's continuing improvement, San Lorenzo bottling the job against Estudiantes, a five goal thriller between Gimnasia and Quilmes, and give updates on the situations at Colón (who could be forcibly relegated) and Independiente (going well in the B). The next episode of Hand Of Pod won't be until after the league season is finally over, the week starting the 16th December.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/bmUqSIoMwp0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 127: Racing's upturn in form, River & Boca have problems, and who's going to win the title?
In the hundred-and-twenty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Andrés and guest Ilan are invited round to English Dan's swish new pad. We discuss the fallout of last weekend's clásico, which saw Racing beat River Plate 1-0, and look at how and why the title frontrunners dropped points yet again (to be fair to them, in four cases it's because they were playing each other). We also bring the latest from the situation in Santa Fe, where Colón are in danger of being de-affiliated from the AFA, ask whether Ramón Díaz and Carlos Bianchi are really the best managers for River and Boca Juniors, and basically teach ourselves during the recording who All Boys' new manager Ricardo Rodríguez - who started with a 2-0 win in La Bombonera - is. Oh, and there's news of the first Swiss person ever to score a competitive goal in the Argentine league. Since this episode was recorded, Lanús have advanced to the final of the Copa Sudamericana, where they'll play Ponte Preta.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/3w-G2JRo-WI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 126: Colón in crisis, another weekend of shocks, and a six-way title race
In the hundred-and-twenty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Andrés and Santi are joined by Rob Brown, an Englishman who's in Buenos Aires for a few months almost entirely in order to watch Juan Román Riquelme play. We discuss another weekend of surprising results and exciting matches - not least a five goal thriller in Sarandí, where Santi and Rob watched Arsenal beat Boca Juniors 3-2 - and look at crisis club Colón, whose players refused to turn up for their match against Atlético de Rafaela on Monday. Some of Colón's players are owed wages going back as far as a year, and the affair has cost club president (and Julio Grondona associate) Germán Lerche his position; he resigned after the fracas on Monday. We also ask how much worse River Plate can get, before considering a thrilling six-way title run-in (San Lorenzo, Newell's Old Boys, Arsenal, Boca Juniors, Lanús and even Rafaela all have a decent shot at the trophy) and looking back on Argentina's international friendlies in the USA, among other topics.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/3rA8z94LsYQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 125: We are 3; Lanús on the title charge, and Racing are rubbish again
The 125th episode of Hand Of Pod was recorded on our third birthday, and Andrés and Sam raise a glass to that fact before getting stuck in to last weekend's action, which saw Boca Juniors make up some ground on the top two, Newell's Old Boys and San Lorenzo, after they'd drawn against each other. The biggest winners of the last few weeks, though, have been Copa Sudamericana semi-finalists Lanús, who might just have a tilt at the title. We check out the run-ins that each of the top five have with four matches of the season remaining, and ask whether Atlético de Rafaela could possibly be candidates as well (answer: no). There's another chance to moan about how crap River Plate are, and a celebration of the fact that Vélez Sarsfield's elimination from the Copa Sudamericana last week means South American football's not bent after all. What better birthday present could we ask for?<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/8OElPpi0Zrs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 124: Racing aren't crap any more, River very much are, and more
The hundred-and-twenty-forth episode of Hand Of Pod is one of our shortest ever episodes, but hopefully we've still got enough to be going on with. Racing, having won twice in a row, are officially no longer rubbish, and English Dan celebrates by returning to the pod. He and Sam run the rule over Racing's sudden improvement, and contrast it with River Plate's absolutely awful form, which plumbed new depths on Wednesday night as they lost 3-1 at home to Lanús to go out of the Copa Sudamericana. We ask why David Trezeguet didn't start for Newell's Old Boys last weekend - he came off the bench to score twice, helping them claim a 2-2 draw away to Colón - and look forward to this weekend's big top of the table clash between Newell's and San Lorenzo. All this and much more. Next week, Hand Of Pod turns three years old, so please share this episode with your friends and join us next week for the celebration!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/zltXrfppqcI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 123: Maradona's birthday, Giunta's balls, and a lot of very angry people
The hundred-and-twenty-third episode of Hand Of Pod was recorded on Diego Maradona's 53rd birthday, and after giving that fact the amount of coverage it deserves, we move on to a review of the last two rounds of Torneo Inicial action. Central shocked Newell's in the clásico rosarino, River Plate still can't score and Manu Gigliotti's in fine form for Boca Juniors. Oh, and RACING HAVE WON A MATCH! Former Arsenal (de Woolwich) player, and now former Quilmes manager, Nelson Vivas clocked a fan and has been replaced by big-balled 'Argentine Ferguson' Blas Giunta, and a lot of other people have been getting very aggressive indeed in Argentine stadia. For once, it's mostly players, not barras. There's also time to consider whether River Plate goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero really deserves an Argentina call-up, and the amount of attention Mauricio Pochettino's English managerial exploits are getting in Argentina (short answer: zero).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/VNGU-UZgD_E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 122: A World Cup qualifying roundup, previewing the Rosario derby and more
The hundred-and-twenty-second episode of Hand Of Pod gave us a lot to talk about, and it was quite an achievement to have got the final thing down to an hour and a half. Santi hosts in his new home for the first time, and Sam is also joined by German/Chinese/Relevant Dan and HOP debutant Jonathan Gilbert, author of a recent New York Times piece previewing this weekend's clásico rosarino. We discuss Argentina's World Cup qualifying campaign and what they need to improve between now and Brazil 2014, before looking back over a weekend of surprises in the league and asking whether Newell's Old Boys already have the title sewn up. As already mentioned, Newell's play their bitter enemies Rosario Central this weekend, and we also preview the return to the Primera of perhaps the country's most passionate derby.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/5CBSiH5jFqM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 121: Reviewing the superclásico, previewing Argentina's final WCQs & more
The hundred-and-twenty-first episode of Hand Of Pod sees Andrés welcome Sam and Mariano to his living room for the first time, as we look back on Boca Juniors' 1-0 win away to River Plate in Sunday's superclásico. That was far from the only talking point of the weekend; we had wrongly-given red cards for diving, two managers left their jobs, another two seem to be on the brink, and Racing, of course, are as awful as ever. We consider what value an injury-ravaged Argentina side can take from their final two World Cup qualifiers, given that their place in Brazil next year is already secure, and discuss Mauro Icardi's impending debut for the national side among other things.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/TP6OQFjR-nw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 120: previewing River v Boca, and crisis at Racing & Huracán
The hundred-and-twentieth episode of Hand Of Pod is the first appearance of Fede González, and it's timed perfectly - he works on one of the most popular unofficial Boca Juniors Twitter accounts around, and has arrived just in time for our big superclásico preview episode. We discuss bad times at Racing and second division giants Huracán and consider another impressive performance from leaders Newell's Old Boys before turning our eye on the weekend's biggest attraction: the super. Both River Plate and Boca Juniors won last time out, so come into this one in rude health and both in the title race for the first time in what seems like a long while. Before closing, we also consider Mauro Icardi's first call-up for Argentina for next week's World Cup qualifiers, in Lionel Messi's absence. Since this episode was recorded, Vélez Sarsfield have advanced in the Copa Sudamericana and Arsenal beat All Boys on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Copa Argentina semi-final.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/-jUq0wc36Uc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 119: Home teams still dominate, Maxi's wonder goal & an Independiente update
Hand Of Pod episode 119 sees Sam and Andrés discuss the very low number of away wins so far this season, as home sides continue to get by far the better results. Maxi Rodríguez scored a fantastic winner to get Newell's one of the few away wins last weekend, and Newell's are one of only three sides to have managed more than one away win in the league this season. We also discuss River Plate's ongoing struggles to find form and the other highlights of a low-scoring weekend, before turning our eye on Independiente's campaign in the B so far - El Rojo are now five matches unbeaten, having endured an awful start to the season. Questions include 'why fernet?' and 'is Caruso Lombardi really the Argentine Mourinho?'<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/MMV33BMe1xA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 118: No away wins, Racing are awful and Central are almost as bad
The hundred-and-eighteenth episode of Hand Of Pod is recorded unusually early in the day, and features only two voices: those of Sam and English Dan. We discuss River Plate getting upset by refereeing (and why they've only themselves to blame for not winning the match anyway), Boca Juniors being perhaps a tad better than we've given them credit for - at least at home to crap opponents - and the crap opponents in question: Racing, who continue to be awful following the introduction of Carlos Ischia as manager. All this and much more - and it's only 47 minutes long this week! How we spoil you sometimes.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/NKDiakk0P7o" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 117: Argentina secure World Cup place, Argentinos lead league & River finally click
The hundred-and-seventeenth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Joel and Andrés discussing Argentina's confirmation of their place in the Brazil 2014 World Cup, courtesy of an historic 5-2 away win over Paraguay on Tuesday night. After that, we move on to review a surprise-filled weekend of Torneo Inicial action which saw Mystic Sam get only one prediction correct. River Plate's attack finally clicked (as did Olimpo's), Racing avoided defeat, Newell's were tonked by Vélez Sarsfield and more. Independiente also managed their first win in the B on Monday evening, a fact we completely forgot to mention even in passing. There's always next week...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/0ZqvstuYfDQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 116: Racing & Independiente's new management, Argentinos' fine start and much more
The hundred-and-sixteenth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam welcome German/Swiss/Chinese Dan (who is actually English) to his living room, as well as Andrés Bruckner, who makes his HOP debut. Also appearing is Sam's brother William, who's in town for a couple of months. Topics up for discussion are Racing and Independiente's new managers - both have been announced since we last recorded - Argentinos Juniors' fine start to the season, River Plate's continuing awfulness, Estudiantes' renaissance, and the various Copa Sudamericana ties (as this episode is uploaded, River and San Lorenzo are approaching half time in the second leg of theirs). The uploading of this episode was delayed by Jewish new year festivities - Sam's girlfriend is Jewish - so a belated Shana Tová to all our Jewish listeners!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/rwi84lAl4Lo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 115: Big Five all lose for the first time ever & Argentinos are getting a nosebleed
It was an historic weekend in Argentina; for the first time ever, all of the Big Five - River Plate, Boca Juniors, Racing, Independiente and San Lorenzo - lost in the same round of matches. So inevitably, this week's Hand Of Pod, which features Sam and English Dan, focusses on the grandes and their varying states of disarray, with both Avellaneda clubs having fired their managers (since our recording, Omar De Felippe has been confirmed as new Independiente boss). We also consider with incredulity the fact that Ricardo Caruso Lombardi's Argentinos Juniors are still up near the top of the table, and have exclusive not-live coverage of the second half of Newell's Old Boys v Gimnasia La Plata, which was being played as we were recording.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/_4o805l7FRU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 114: Teo Gutiérrez's never-ending transfer saga, Argentinos leading the way & more
We're only three rounds into the season, but all the same it's a little bizarre to be looking at a league table and seeing Argentinos Juniors on top of it. In the hundred and fourteenth episode of Hand Of Pod, Santiago sings the praises of their manager Ricardo Caruso Lombardi, Sam continues to get exasperated by River Plate's eternal struggles to get Teo Gutiérrez registered to play, and Joel is the usual voice of calm reason. We also consider Boca Juniors' and Estudiantes de La Plata's improvement, why Rosario Central haven't yet lived up to the promise of the opening weekend, and how much trouble Luis Zubeldía is in at Racing, as well as Gerardo Martino's barely acceptable start as Barcelona manager. Listeners' questions include whether Lionel Messi really needs to win a World Cup before he'll be considered better than Diego Maradona.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/c2zvHZeglS0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 113: reviewing the first two rounds of the season
Episode 113 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Joel review the first two rounds of the 2013 Torneo Inicial, in which we've learned that River Plate still have a lot of improving to do, Boca Juniors' defence might be as bad as it was during the first half of the year, and San Lorenzo could well be the team to beat this term. There have been mixed showings from Godoy Cruz and Rosario Central among others, and Mystic Sam has had an equally turbulent time; from 7/9 in the first round to 2/9 in the second. His predictions for round 3 - and for Boca Juniors v Newell's Old Boys in the postponed first round match - are towards the end of the pod, as usual.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/0IsF7gHaQ5Q" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 112: Previewing the 2013 Torneo Inicial
The hundred-and-twelfth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Santiago reviewing the couple of weeks of transfer activity that have followed episode 111, and previewing the 2013 Torneo Inicial. First, we answer the question on everyone's lips: 'What is a Gerardo Martino, and why has it been chosen to manage FC Barcelona?' after which we get into the important stuff. You know - the domestic stuff. Who have been the winners and losers in terms of players out and in? Which club have decided to get around restrictions on non-Argentine players by, erm, completely ignoring said restrictions? Can Boca possibly do any worse than they did in the first six months of the year? And how have the AFA managed to make twats of themselves since you last heard from us? Step this way, and we'll fill you in.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/ZCwU-NImw4o" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 111: Newell's pain, AFA indecision and some winter transfer talk
The hundred-and-eleventh episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Santi meet for a mid-winter fernet and to discuss Newell's Old Boys' exit from the Copa Libertadores, the AFA's bizarre decisions regarding the validity of championships won both this year and back in 1936, violence at Independiente, where the club president was attacked by the barra brava a couple of weeks ago, and various winter break transfer issues. In a couple of weeks, we'll be back to preview the 2013 Torneo Inicial.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/5mjVFeg_iR0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 110: Reviewing the Torneo Final & looking at the main moves in the winter break
The hundred-and-tenth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Joel meet to look back on a memorable Torneo Final - what seemed like an emphatic championship win for Newell's even though they only ended up three points clear of second placed River Plate, San Martín's last day relegation, Boca Juniors' hideous campaign, River's qualified success - and forward to the main talking points of the winter break. We ask which players will be moving on and staying, what the main movers and shakers have to do with their squads, and attempt to explain how continental qualification works. There's also the Hand Of Pod Best XI of the championship, and a look at how the Torneo Final would have looked had every match gone exactly as Mystic Sam predicted...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/gr1nnknrSTY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 109: ¡Newell's campeón!, Independiente relegated & Lanús thrash River
The hundred-and-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Santi return to discuss an eventful week in Argentine football. Independiente were relegated last Saturday courtesy of a 1-0 defeat at home to San Lorenzo; Newell's Old Boys won the championship on Wednesday without kicking a ball as Lanús - who'd thrashed River 5-1 on Sunday - failed to overturn a 2-0 half time deficit in completing their postponed match against Estudiantes. We discuss how deserving Newell's win was and look at how they and Independiente had such wildly different seasons, having started 2012-13 on exactly the same (poor) standing in the relegation table. As ever, there's a lot more besides.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/T2_Mw2iRjaM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 108: World Cup qualifiers, police shooting fans, tense title/relegation run-ins and more
The hundred-and-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod is a bumper one, during which Sam, English Dan and Joel look back on Argentina's two World Cup qualifying draws to start with, before getting into the serious stuff in the domestic league; two called-off matches and one fan shot dead by police, a restaurant looted by Independiente fans after defeat to River Plate left their side's survival hopes hanging by the slimmest of threads, the possibility that Newell's Old Boys could win the league on Sunday, the question of whether anyone at all involved in Argentine football pays their taxes, and much, much more besides. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/CToUpwgwFHo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 107: Looking back at a big domestic weekend & forward to a pivotal World Cup qualifying one
In the 107th episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Santi are joined by prodigal son Joel Richards to look back on a weekend of domestic action and look forward to a weekend of both domestic and international matches. Argentinos Juniors' 2-0 win over River Plate had ramifications for both the relegation table and the title race, and means Independiente could (though it'd be a stretch) be relegated this coming weekend. Newell's Old Boys missed the chance to pull five points clear, whilst Racing and San Lorenzo are both close to securing Copa Sudamericana places. We also look forward to Argentina's World Cup qualifying double-header; they'll play Colombia at home on Friday, and Ecuador away on Tuesday. It's longer than the last few, but we hope you like it.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/G66obCnKdDg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 106: reviewing the Newell's v Boca mini-series & more
The 106th episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Santi convene to discuss what we were previewing in episode 105 - the three matches (two in the Copa Libertadores, one in the league) which Newell's Old Boys and Boca Juniors have played since then. Newell's were the happier side, with a 4-0 league win and a penalty shootout win in the Libertadores after two dull 0-0 draws. We also ask whether River Plate can challenge for the league title, whether Independiente can catch Argentinos Juniors in the relegation battle, and whether Quilmes v Racing (which was played a few hours before this episode was uploaded, and ended 1-0 to Quilmes) was likely to be fixed, among much more. Oh, and we tell you our favourite ratios for mixing a fernet and Coke.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/rcWHPBd5C7Q" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 105: Meltdown at Argentinos Juniors, no-one wants the title, & previewing Boca v Newell's
Sam and English Dan are joined by Santiago for this week's Hand Of Pod, in which we begin with a discussion of an astonishing couple of days at Argentinos Juniors, including manager Ricardo Caruso Lombardi losing his rag on live TV (hardly for the first time, it's true) and much more. We also talk about the top three all failing to win in the Torneo Final at the weekend, Independiente edging closer to an unlikely survival, and promotions for Rosario Central (back to the Primera) and Talleres de Córdoba (back to B Nacional), before previewing the mini-series of games that Newell's Old Boys and Boca Juniors will play in the next few days. Listeners' questions include European transfer targets and Buenos Aires' most dangerous stadia.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/u2EOXL7Jvrs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 104: Argentina's Libertadores involvement, Migliore's release & the relegation scramble
In episode 104 of Hand Of Pod, Sam and English Dan are joined by Mariano in a later-than-usual recording, which enables us to look back at (most of) Argentina's Copa Libertadores involvement during this week - Boca Juniors eliminating Corinthians in controversial circumstances, and Newell's Old Boys sending Vélez Sarsfield out on away goals (in the remaining fixture, which ended an hour and a bit after we stopped recording, Tigre were eliminated by Olimpia). We discuss the relegation battle, which could see Unión relegated next weekend, and an ever-intriguing title race, as well as the news that Pablo Migliore, now released on bail, has had his contract rescinded at San Lorenzo. Listeners' questions include the signings of the championship so far, and Argentine footballers' wages.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/vb7oFXV69IA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 103: Reviewing Boca v River, Lanús top the table again & more
In the hundred-and-third episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Joel get together to discuss the main talking points from last week's superclásico, which, being a superclásico, weren't so much on the pitch (although there was a record-breaking goal scored) as off it, particularly thanks to Boca's barra brava and River's manager, who both made fools of themselves on, admittedly, slightly different scales. Sam was at Argentinos Juniors to watch Lanús retake leadership of the Torneo Final, helped a couple of days after their own match by two fine goals from Arsenal's Darío Benedetto which downed Newell's Old Boys. Independiente might be going down, but they're going down kicking and screaming at least, and we've got some awful puns for you. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/aWFJ_8ZcAqM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 102: Trying and failing to keep it short, & previewing the superclásico
In the hundred-and-second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Joel have a running order for once, in an effort to get the show's length down below an hour and a half. They succeed by a matter of seconds; don't worry folks, we'll get better at this, we promise. We discuss Independiente and Estudiantes finally winning matches, Boca Juniors equalling their worst ever domestic run (since we recorded, they've beaten Corinthians in the first leg of their Copa Libertadores tie), Newell's going out on their own at the top of the league and much more, including a preview of this weekend's superclásico between Boca and River Plate in La Bombonera. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/POfQ_PODBIE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 101: some awful refereeing, an enthralling title race and the return of Mystic Dan
The hundred-and-first episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and English Dan welcome Joel back from his holiday, and the three are joined by Santiago again. We're also reunited with Australian Dan, making a brief return to say hello and to resurrect Mystic Dan as a late marker of HOP's 100th edition last week. We talk about some major refereeing controversies in four different matches at the weekend, the tightening title race (the top two are now level, and third placed River Plate are just two points further back) and ask whether Boca Juniors might be gradually showing signs of life, as well as Argentina's representatives in the Copa Libertadores, the knockout stage of which began on Wednesday evening as this episode was being uploaded. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/p4OpFjB1isk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 100: Brindisi, Bianchi, Boca's historic thrashing... and a centenary!
Hand Of Pod is one hundred episodes old. And we're celebrating in style; recording in an almost silent flat, with current and former regulars and guests. Sam, English Dan, Seba, Asli and Mariano are joined on Skype by Ed Malyon (Aussie Dan and Joel sadly couldn't make it this week) for a podcasting landmark, and we've got plenty to discuss. Independiente unveiled a new manager, and the day after he was appointed he was held up at gunpoint and robbed... whilst conducting a radio interview on his mobile phone! Boca Juniors fell to one of the worst defeats in their history on Saturday, Lanús lead the league by two points ahead of Newell's Old Boys, and there's a lot, lot, lot more besides. We hope you enjoy this bumper edition, and we'd all like to thank our listeners very much for your support. Not too many independent, non-English-league-focussed podcasts get to be 100 episodes old. So, here's to the next hundred!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/YzrPllahwZo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 99: Independiente's struggles, lower division structures, River's return to form and more
In the ninety-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and English Dan are joined by Santiago, the Arsenal de Sarandí fan, to discuss the big moves up and down the table(s) after last weekend's results in the Torneo Final. Biggest of all was Independiente's defeat to All Boys, which leaves them seriously compromised in the relegation table, needing some improbable point totals to now stay in the Primera. River Plate finally won a clásico - their first competitive win in one since returning to the Primera - 2-0 away to Racing, and we discuss that, and Manu Lanzini's fine showing, among a lot more. We talk about the structure of Argentina's lower divisions, the promotion races in the second and third tiers, and answer a lot of listeners' questions.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/_HW5s4yfx5I" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 98: Lanús cling on at top, San Lorenzo goalie arrested for part in murder conspiracy & more
In the ninety-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and English Dan are introduced by World Cup final referee Horacio Elizondo, and joined by guest star Archie Whitworth for a bumper edition - there's a lot to get through. We discuss the thrillers and fine goals scored during a weekend which left Lanús' lead atop the Torneo Final cut to just one point over Newell's Old Boys, question just how bad Independiente striker Juan Caicedo can get, and spend a good length of time talking about San Lorenzo goalkeeper Pablo Migliore, who was arrested after his side's defeat to Newell's on Sunday for his part in harbouring a friend suspected of murder. We answer listeners' questions and talk about River Plate's injury problems in defence and how they've affected the team's building forward, and much more. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/ZnzcmyRrkv8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 97: Argentina edge closer to a World Cup place, and back to domestic matters
In the ninety-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Joel are joined (eventually) by Daniel Schweimler, another Englishman in Buenos Aires, who runs the Hand Of Dan blog looking at Argentine society through the prism of life on the terraces of Argentinos Juniors. We discuss Argentina's impressive World Cup qualifying results (a 3-0 win over Venezuela followed by a 1-1 draw away to Bolivia) in reverse order, before briefly previewing a weekend packed full of clásicos - not least Guest Dan's Argentinos v All Boys. Listener's questions range from Argentinos Juniors to, um, Argentina's senior national team. What variety.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/HvlimutkGds" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 96: Huracan FC London, dodgy refereeing, and a World Cup qualifying preview
In the ninety-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Joel are joined by Henry May, founding president and former centre back of Huracan FC London, possibly the world's most famous London Sunday league side. We discuss All Boys' 100th anniversary (and their lovely, lovely commemorative shirts), Lanús' three point lead in the league, Independiente's ongoing woes and the chances of Unión actually surviving - surely not...? We also discuss some bizarre refereeing decisions, and preview Argentina's two upcoming World Cup qualifiers, at home to Venezuela on Friday night and away to Bolivia next Tuesday afternoon. And all four us have a go at predicting how those matches will go. (Note: since recording it's become apparent Oswaldo Vizcarrondo has been upgraded from 'out for three weeks' to... perfectly fit to play this Friday. Hmm.)<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/7daiDuSuEVQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 95: The Pope is a San Lorenzo fan, Lanús still lead the way & more
In the ninety-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Joel toast the world's first Latin American pontiff with a fernet (mate in Joel's case) even though none of us are Catholic, and discuss what his installment in the Vatican hot seat could mean for the immediate future of his favourite football team, San Lorenzo de Almagro (yes, really). Then we get a bit more serious and discuss Boca Juniors' continuing travails, Lanús' and Godoy Cruz's good start to 2013, River Plate's recovery from their loss to San Lorenzo in round 4 by beating Colón this last weekend, and plenty more, including lots of lovely listeners' questions. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/JNH1idOYM1E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 94: Unión ruin Riquelme's comeback, San Lorenzo beat River & Lanús still lead
The ninety-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Joel reunited after a few weeks, to discuss a goal-filled weekend which saw San Lorenzo beat River Plate in the clásico, Lanús claim a point away to Dan's Racing which took them top of the table, and Boca Juniors hilariously crash and burn at home to Unión on the day of Juan Román Riquelme's comeback. There were two 3-3 draws, a policeman hitting a player in the face with a baton (and then reporting the player for assault!), and the announcement that Gerardo Martino won't be staying on as Newell's Old Boys boss at the end of the season - will Marcelo Bielsa be returning to replace him? The very thought has got us all excited...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Hcm3gusNLMw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 93: Racing collapse in the clásico, River & Lanús still lead, and more
Episode 93 sees English Dan appearing briefly by Skype, due to food poisoning - or maybe he was just too ashamed to show up in person after his side failed to turn up against Independiente in last weekend's clásico de Avellaneda, losing 2-0. Sam is joined by real-life Arsenal de Sarandí fan Santiago, who fortunately caught most of the weekend's action, and we discuss his team's away win over Argentinos Juniors, what Gabriel Schurrer's exit as manager could mean for Argentinos, and River Plate's amazing 3-2 thriller over Tigre, as well as a lot more besides. And if you've ever wondered why Arsenal have a tower on their club badge, here's the HOP episode where you find out. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/ebxH41ep3lo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 92: Lanús & River lead & Independiente shock Vélez ahead of the Avellaneda clásico
In the ninety-second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and English Dan are joined by Mariano the San Lorenzo fan to discuss a Torneo Final second round with one outstanding result; ten-man Independiente's shock victory over champions Vélez Sarsfield. Away from Liniers, there were wins for both Lanús and River Plate, who go joint top of the nascent Final table, a win against Racing, inspired by Luciano Vietto, which sends both clubs into the clásico de Avellaneda this coming weekend in good spirits, and a draw for Mariano's San Lorenzo which we discuss, as well as asking him for his thoughts on Viggo Mortensen's charity flower seeds, and an update on the Return To Boedo (which is San Lorenzo's plan to buy back the land their old stadium stood on, not another Lord Of The Rings film).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/mhF86PHvib0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 91: An enjoyable first round, Riquelme finally signs and more
In the ninety-first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Joel look back on an opening weekend of Torneo Final action that Sam and Joel thoroughly enjoyed, and which English Dan missed almost all of. We discuss an unconvincing win for Vélez Sarsfield as they seek to defend their title, and rather more emphatic victories for Tigre and Lanús, among others. Joel attended a thriller in La Bombonera, as Juan Román Riquelme returned to the stands and Carlos Bianchi to the managerial bench and Boca came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2, with one of several stunning long range goals this weekend. All this and much more - enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/vfmin9llDT8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 90: previewing the 2013 Torneo Final & wondering where Riquelme will go
In the ninetieth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Dan and Joel preview the 2013 Torneo Final, which kicks off with Unión hosting Arsenal de Sarandí on Friday evening. We discuss Fernando Gago's move to Vélez Sarsfield - easily the most spectacular signing of the summer - and what Vélez's chances are of retaining their title, as well as talking about Racing's transfer window departures, River Plate's relative success and most of the other ins and outs, before moving on - we couldn't very well avoid him - to the interminable saga of Juan Román Riquelme's ever changing mood. Will he play for Boca? Will he play for Tigre? Should we really care any more? After that, we answer listeners' questions on Argentine sides in the 2013 Copa Libertadores and more.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/qIapNRnF_TQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 89: Grondona out, various players in & Riquelme still going nowhere
Hand Of Pod is back, and Sam, Joel and English Dan welcome 2013 with a nice laid-back chat about nothing in particular. There's just the news that one of the most powerful men in world football will leave his charge of the AFA in 2015, a bunch of (admittedly often tiresome) transfer gossip from the summer and various other issues to mop up, including the ongoing saga of where (or whether) Juan Román Riquelme will be playing his football this year; could it be Tigre, now that they're in the group stages of the Copa Libertadores for the first time? We discuss River Plate's and Boca Juniors' pre-seasons, as well as those of the other big boys, confusing goings-on surrounding Ricky Centurión's transfer from Racing to Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, Argentina's latest Under-20 failure, and a lot more. It's good to be back.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/g20cJ30Xkuk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 88: Vélez are crowned champions, Díaz is unveiled at River Plate & more
The eighty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod is the last one of 2012, and sees Sam, Dan and Joel analysing Vélez Sarsfield's 2012 Torneo Inicial title win, which was confirmed on Sunday with a 2-0 win over Unión de Santa Fe whilst nearest challengers Lanús lost 1-0 away to River Plate. The roles of manager Ricardo Gareca and forward Facundo Ferreyra are discussed, as well as some of Vélez's other crucial players during the campaign. We also talk about Ramón Díaz's welcome back to River, whether any current Primera managers are future contenders for the national team job, and look back at San Lorenzo's 2-1 win over Independiente in the weekend's big relegation clash.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Y1sFA3S3Wk8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 87: Ramón Díaz returns to River, Vélez move to the verge of the title & more
One subject looms large over this week's (belated) episode of Hand Of Pod, the eighty-seventh since we started. Sam, English Dan and Joel discuss Ramón Díaz's emotional return to the club he loves and which loves him, River Plate, after Matías Almeyda was fired in the extremely early hours of Wednesday morning/late hours of Tuesday night. What Díaz's return means for River, whether Almeyda really deserved the sack and more. We also discuss Vélez Sarsfield, who could win the title on Sunday afternoon, and whether their boss Ricardo Gareca is really the Argentine Sir Alex Ferguson, as some in the Argentine media would have us believe. There's an appreciation of Tigre - who hours after recording reached the Copa Sudamericana final, the first continental final in their history - and listeners' questions ranging from Sam's ideal River starting XI to who Julio César Falcioni's replacement as Boca Juniors manager might be. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/yrrWsPs1-n0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 86: Rising stars, crowd policing issues and an emotional return for San Lorenzo
This week's Hand Of Pod is the eighty-sixth episode, and as Seba rightly points out early on, eighty-six is an important number for Argentine football, not least for being the year which saw the event from which we take our name. Sam, Joel and Seba discuss an ever-tightening title race, a thrilling showing from Racing's young forward trio, more crowd trouble at Independiente and at the Santa Fe derby over the weekend, before explaining why San Lorenzo's move back to their historic home of Boedo has repercussions far beyond football in Argentine society. As if all this wasn't thrilling enough, we have a bit of a chat about River Plate's latest financial results. It's gripping stuff.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/MrEYtVGUSJE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 85: HOP turns 2 years old, some international talk, and crowd trouble at Independiente
The eighty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees us turn two years old, and to celebrate the fact that we're still here we recorded in Seba's very plush office. We discuss the likelihood of Juan Román Riquelme returning to action for Boca Juniors in the new year, and some of the local league action - but not much, since we were recording part way through the midweek round of matches - and the Argentine national team's drab performance away to Saudi Arabia hours before we recorded. During our listeners' Q&A session, crowd trouble caused Independiente v Belgrano to be abandoned, and we have some 'as live' coverage of that. Thrilling stuff as ever. Thanks for listening for the last two years, and here's to two more...<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/KLiv6y7T6js" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 84: Vélez, Newell's and Belgrano in a tightening title race, San Lorenzo's woes and more
In the eighty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Joel are joined again by that doyen of football journalism, Jonathan Wilson to look back on an eventful weekend in the Torneo Inicial title race which saw Newell's Old Boys' lead at the top cut to just one point ahead of Vélez Sarsfield, and two ahead of major surprise package Belgrano de Córdoba. We look at impressive performances from youngsters Leandro Paredes (Boca Juniors) and Facundo 'Chucky' Ferreyra (Vélez), and answer listeners' questions ranging from how many languages Mr Wilson speaks to Julio César Falcioni's greatest achievement as Boca Juniors manager. And we completely ignore the Supercopa Argentina, which was being played as we recorded (Arsenal de Sarandí beat Boca Juniors on penalties after a 0-0 draw, in case you care).<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/_2sfjYptGzY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 83: River Plate fans' Pink Floyd superclásico tribute and more, with Jonathan Wilson
In the eighty-third episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Joel are joined by Jonathan Wilson, who helps us review Sunday's superclásico, which ended in a 2-2 draw between River Plate and Boca Juniors thanks to a late equaliser from Julio César Falcioni's teacher's pet Walter Erviti. We also look at Newell's Old Boys' win over champions Arsenal de Sarandí, and at Racing's away loss to Vélez Sarsfield, who are now second, three points behind Newell's. All this, and listeners' questions ranging from the national team to why you should keep watching Argentine football in spite of some horrendous crowd trouble in the Boca end on Sunday.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/fMYJiiY_NH8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 82: reviewing Racing v Newell's, and previewing a monumental superclásico
In the eighty-second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan, Joel and Ed run their critical eyes over the biggest clash of last weekend, Racing v Newell's (2nd v 1st), and explain why we enjoyed it even though many who weren't there thought it wasn't such a great game on TV. We discuss the continued development of an interesting title race, before moving on to the biggest match of the year in Argentina: the return of the superclásico after River Plate's year in the second division. We preview River v Boca Juniors - which will be played on Sunday afternoon - and talk about the history and some of the reasons it's become the biggest fixture in the country. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/zX4e8oRhjuw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 81: World Cup qualifying review, and the main domestic headlines
The eighty-first episode of Hand Of Pod is another bumper one, with a look back on Argentina's 3-0 dispatching of Uruguay last Friday and Tuesday's hard-fought 2-1 win away to Chile, as well as the main World Cup qualifying results in the rest of the CONMEBOL region, including an impressive Radamel Falcao García- and James Rodríguez-inspired win over Paraguay for Colombia. We then move on to the domestic scene, where the main story is Juan Antonio Pizzi's confirmation as San Lorenzo manager, before answering a veritable barrage of listeners' questions. Next week: the superclásico preview. Enjoy!<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/3o7PoThv4c8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 80: More love for Newell's, another River win & previewing Argentina v Uruguay
Episode 80 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Joel welcome guest Ed Malyon to Buenos Aires, and in a bumper episode we go through last weekend's Torneo Inicial action - which included a woeful loss for Boca Juniors, a very impressive win for leaders Newell's Old Boys and a thumping 5-0 victory for River Plate against Godoy Cruz. We also answer listeners' questions on the sons of ex players coming through club youth ranks and more, and cast our eyes over Argentina's upcoming World Cup Qualifiers - at home to Uruguay on Friday and away to Chile on Tuesday. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/1ugAyWW24vU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 79: golazos by the bucket full, and an Argentina Z v Brazil B preview
The seventy-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Dan and Joel meet to discuss a goal-filled weekend. There were thirty-five goals in ten matches, and Joel drew the short straw and managed to pick what turned out to be the only goalless draw of the round to attend. We wonder how anyone could possibly have doubted Matías Almeyda's position at River Plate (ahem), consider yet more ridiculous pressure being heaped on Julio César Falcioni at Boca Juniors, and cast our expert eyes over Wednesday night's Argentina v Brazil 'local national team' friendly, which will kick off just under a couple of hours after this episode was uploaded. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/lenFsP1l0jM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 78: River and Independiente's troubles, Newell's title chances and more
In the seventy-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Dan and Joel return to discuss last weekend's Torneo Inicial action, and the fallout. Racing beat River Plate in the derby, and Matías Almeyda's job security - as well as the bit of a non-story about quotes from his autobiography finally reaching Europe - are up for discussion. We also look at Newell's Old Boys' excellent form as they top the table, ask when Independiente, Tigre and Unión will finally manage to win a match, and discuss a second straight 4-0 home win for San Martín de San Juan. All this, and much more.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/KjKJbqhLPxo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 77: Matías Almeyda gets a vote of confidence, Riquelme gives a press conference & much more
In the seventy-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Dan and Joel begin life without Australian Dan with another bumper episode, during which we look at the increasing impatience towards River Plate and Racing managers Matías Almeyda and Luís Zubeldía ahead of the clásico between the two clubs this weekend. We also recount last Friday's hilarious press conference at La Bombonera in which Juan Román Riquelme led everyone a merry dance, and look back at last weekend's results, as well as considering the importance of the Superclásico de Las Américas, a friendly double-header between the domestic national sides of Argentina and Brazil (Brazil won the first leg 2-1 shortly after we recorded this episode). And as of this week, Mystic Dan is replaced by Mystic Sam. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/_b0Kjni7FNU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 76: Australian Dan says good bye... and some stuff about the national side & league
The seventy-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod is a sad affair, being as it is Australian Dan's final appearance as a full HOP-er. As well as discussing this momentous event, we also find time for less important things, such as Argentina's latest World Cup qualifying double-header and last weekend's league action, which saw none of the top NINE win their matches, and in particular a brilliant 3-3 draw between River Plate and Newell's Old Boys. We also, of course, have the last ever Mystic Dan. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/32dgqoamlKc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 75: Tactical confusion at River, and an Argentina v Paraguay preview
The seventy-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod is a bumper one ahead of Friday evening's World Cup qualifier in Córdoba between Argentina and Paraguay. Gearing up for that match, we've got Asunción resident Ralph Hannah on to tell us what's been going on with the Paraguayan national team, and also take a look at the Argentine side and their chances. There's a full weekend of league games in Argentina as well, and we look back on the last round which included a draw for River Plate seemingly in spite of their manager, a hat-trick from a potential Next Big Thing at Racing, an enormous number of red cards, and no shortage of goals. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Kv2SiiscW6s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 74: Tax dodging and whining about the opposition - and that's just River Plate...
In the seventy-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Dan, Joel and Dan are joined by Mariano, our tamed San Lorenzo fan, once again as we dissect an underwhelming weekend of Primera División action marked mainly by River Plate's somewhat tiresome reaction to their own incompetence in last weekend's 0-0 draw against San Lorenzo. We also look at a tax scandal involving player transfers (not only involving River, in case that headline confused you), consider Independiente's ongoing turmoil, and run the rule over the latest national team squad, which includes Hernán Barcos, a player you could be forgiven for not having heard of if you don't live in South America.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/SzG8L942Bwo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 73: Racing's clásico win, San Lorenzo's pressing concerns and more
The seventy-third episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Dan and Dan welcome tamed San Lorenzo fan Mariano back to the podcast for his third appearance. We take the opportunity to ask him to get us up to date on San Lorenzo's current very confused off-pitch situation, as well as getting his thoughts on how the team have started the season. We look at a thumping win for Racing in the Avellaneda derby against Independiente, consider wins for both River Plate and Boca Juniors, and discuss two stunning long-range goals, from Newell's Ignacio Scocco and Lanús' Víctor Ayala.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/lOu8xAKtelU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 72: What we didn't learn from Argentina v Germany, and a low-scoring weekend in the league
In the seventy-second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Dan, Dan and Joel look back on Argentina's 3-1 friendly win over Germany hours before, and consider just how little we learned about Argentina from it. We have a Lionel Messi stat-off, before moving on to consider the lowest-scoring round of football in the Argentine Primera División in just over a decade. We wonder who owns Ignacio Piatti, exactly (he's signed for San Lorenzo since the episode was recorded), consider Lucas Ocampos' move to AS Monaco and briefly preview the coming weekend's clásico de Avellaneda among other things. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/thV8Uta1Sk0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 71: River and Boca both lose, are Vélez back? and Joel Richards is free again!
In the seventy-first episode of Hand Of Pod, we celebrate Joel Richards' liberation from his building after he was locked in during last week's episode. We also look back at an eventful first weekend of action in the Torneo Inicial, which included opening weekend losses for both Boca Juniors and River Plate, as well as a very impressive win - against very poor opposition - for Vélez Sarsfield. We recap Boca's and All Boys' hilarious journey back to Argentina from Venezuela, and preview the Copa Argentina final which - because producer/uploader Sam got the kick off time mixed up for - is being played as I type these words.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/kMve3yaZgTM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 70: Previewing the 2012 Torneo Inicial, and a live video Q&A!
The seventieth episode of Hand Of Pod brings a preview of the new season, which for the first time sees the Torneos Apertura and Clausura renamed Inicial and Final, and will see only one champion at the end of the season. Well, that was how it was going to be when we recorded. AFA have since decided there will be a champion at the end of each. Hmm. We discuss the main transfer ins and outs of the winter break, as well as new boys Quilmes' and River Plate's chances of surviving in the Primera, among other things. And this week's Q&A section was conducted live on Twitcam! It's a bumper episode for the season, so enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/Xm9vp8C2i8E" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 69: Returning from our holidays to tie up some loose ends
Episode 69 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Australian Dan and Joel joined by Christian, a Brazilian who exudes a quiet academic authority over the podcast. He's writing a thesis on us. Sort of. We discuss our various holidays briefly, before diving into what we can remember (and mis-remember) of the last couple of weeks, including Juan Román Riquelme's decision to leave Boca Juniors, River Plate's excellent transfer market moves so far, Maxi Rodríguez's return to Newell's Old Boys and a rather inexpert guide to Córdoba's football culture (you can tell we live in Buenos Aires). All this and much more! Hand Of Pod now also has its own standalone Twitter account, so get following: @HandOfPod.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/758jr6zIqlE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 68: Arsenal campeón, Tigre survive, and River Plate return to the Primera
The sound on the sixty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod is bad. We apologise for this, but there's not a lot we could do about it. Sam and English Dan meet via Skype to discuss the final weekend of the 2012 Torneo Clausura, which saw Tigre survive (and thus enter the Copa Sudamericana) and Arsenal de Sarandí claim the first top flight title in their history. San Lorenzo and San Martín are in the relegation playoffs (the first legs of which have been played whilst this pod was being uploaded), whilst Banfield join Olimpo in the automatic relegation spots. But never mind all that: the biggest story in Argentine football right now is that River Plate are back in the Primera! Sam was at the 2-0 win over Almirante Brown which sealed their promotion, and gives his impressions of the season just gone and what there is to come, as well as an apology to Rogelio Funes Mori - yes, really. Enjoy; if you can hear it. HOP will be back in a couple of weeks.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/LqhXUVT6ESM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 67: The title run-in and the relegation battle; and that's just Tigre!
The sixty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and English Dan joined by Mariano again, to discuss an intriguing (or conspiratorial) run-in to the end of the Argentine season. This weekend's matches will see the title either go to a tie-breaking playoff or handed to one of Tigre, Arsenal de Sarandí or Boca Juniors, whilst relegation matters will be settled between San Lorenzo, Banfield, Rafaela, Tigre and San Martín - and yes, I did type Tigre's name in both lists just then. Boca Juniors' pathetic performance against Arsenal, Tigre's mathematical chances of both winning the title and being relegated, and fond farewells from home fans to Juan Sebastián Verón, Gabriel Milito and Esteban Fuertes - all this and more in this week's episode. Enjoy.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/pnjFPjK-iuc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Episode 66: Boca's slip-up, a big win for Tigre, Sabella's progress with Argentina & more
The sixty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Dan and Dan meet to discuss Tigre's impressive win over San Lorenzo in Sunday's big relegation clash, and where it leaves both sides in the relegation table, as well as those around them. We also discuss Boca Juniors' slip-up in drawing 1-1 away to Banfield, Alejandro Sabella's charge of Argentina and Lionel Messi's brilliant hat trick against Brazil on Saturday, River Plate going top of Nacional B with two games to go before the end of the season, and all the title race talk from the Primera, as well as looking at the Nacional B relegation struggle. There are some very silly listeners' questions this week, but we answer them anyway.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/HandOfPod/~4/9fJVF__map0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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