Episode 207: We are five! Previewing Argentina v Brazil with Tim Vickery


In this week’s episode of the internet’s best Argentine football podcast, we welcome Tim Vickery to the Hand Of Pod studio for a preview of tonight’s World Cup qualifier between Argentina and Brazil.

Originally posted on Hand Of Pod:

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. HOP is sponsored…

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Argentina squad v Brazil & Colombia: Messi and Agüero injured, Higuaín back in

Gerardo Martino has announced Argentina’s squad list for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers at home to Brazil (Thurs 12th November) and away to Colombia (Tues 17th), from which his side desperately need some good results after a disappointing start in which they lost at home to Ecuador and drew away to Paraguay. Lionel Messi won’t be fit in time to return, and Sergio Agüero is also out. Back in, though, is Gonzalo Higuaín, and Javier Pastore retains his place in spite of two completely anonymous performances in the first two matches. The whole list is below.

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Posted in Angel Di María, Argentine national team, Carlos Tevez, Erik Lamela, Ever Banega, Ezequiel Garay, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gonzalo Higuaín, Javier Mascherano, Javier Pastore, Marcos Rojo, Martín Demichelis, Nicolás Otamendi, Sergio Romero, World Cup Qualifiers | Tagged , , , ,

Carlos Tevez returns to Boca Juniors in transfer coup of the Argentine winter

As you’ve probably heard, shortly before Argentina’s Copa América quarter-final against Colombia on Friday, Boca Juniors announced the return to the club of Carlos Tevez. I’ve written a piece for ESPNFC on how Tevez’s return both fits with a trend of Argentine players coming back to their roots and, at the same time, bucks that trend to a certain extent. ESPNFC – 29th June 2015.

Posted in Boca Juniors, Carlos Tevez, Primera A, Transfers | Tagged , ,

Copa América 2015: two previews

The 2015 Copa América in Chile is just hours away, and here, as the title of this post suggests, are two previews. First, a link to a piece I wrote for ESPNFC examining whether Lionel Messi needs to win this tournament in order to secure his legacy, and secondly, episode 188 of Hand Of Pod, which looks back on last weekend’s league action before shifting focus to look forward to the tournament. Argentina’s first match is against Paraguay on Saturday.

As with any ESPNFC piece, if the link initially takes you to a ‘pick your language’ splash page, just select English, then come back to this tab and click the link again – it should load properly.

Posted in Argentine national team, Copa América, Lionel Messi | Tagged , , , , ,

(Almost) all the goals from the weekend just gone in Argentina’s top two divisions

Happy Revolution Day, everyone! Here in Argentina the 25th May is a public holiday, so there’s no football today. As such, I can bring you the goal video from the weekend just gone already, although Fútbol Para Todos haven’t yet got round to including Belgrano full back Renzo Saravia’s magnificent lobbed own goal for Godoy Cruz yesterday evening. Boca Juniors were tonked 3-0 by Aldosivi in La Bombonera, San Lorenzo beat Sarmiento 3-0 to go joint top, and there was a five-goal thriller in La Plata. In Avellaneda, Racing claimed the bragging rights in the clásico with a 1-0 win through a Diego Milito penalty, following which on Monday, Jorge Almirón has been sacked as Independiente manager. Tigre v River Plate was the only Primera match affected by the late AFA/footballers’ union decision to suspend the rest of the round of matches out of respect for Paraná defender Cristian Gómez, who died after a heart attack on the pitch during his side’s B Nacional match against Boca Unidos.

Primera División goals

B Nacional goals

(This video also doesn’t include all the weekend’s goals; Douglas Haig and Guillermo Brown, who are teams not people, drew 1-1 back on Thursday, but for some reason that match isn’t included here.)

Posted in B Nacional, Boca Juniors, Goal videos, Primera A, Racing Club, San Lorenzo, Vélez Sarsfield | Tagged ,

Racing v Independiente: watch the clásico de Avellaneda, and listen to me commentate on it!

At 3pm Argentine time (7pm BST, 2pm EDT) this Sunday, the second biggest derby in Greater Buenos Aires – and maybe Argentina – kicks off, with league champions Racing hosting Independiente in the clásico de Avellaneda. After my attempts to talk over the two recent Copa Libertadores superclásicos apparently passed muster, I’ve been invited to provide English-language commentary (of sorts) from my sofa on the match by Rabble.tv, so if you want to avoid the idiots who are covering it for Argentine TV, mute the sound on the YouTube stream below, and click here to join my Rabble broadcast. My commentary will start ten or fifteen minutes before kick off, but the stream is already live below. Enjoy the game!

Posted in Clásicos, Independiente, Primera A, Racing Club | Tagged , , , ,

Boca Juniors’ Copa Libertadores disqualification: trying to summarise the fall-out

Four links here, three audio and one written. It’s just under a week since River Plate players were attacked with home-made pepper spray by a Boca Juniors barra brava, causing the cancellation of the second half of their Copa Libertadores last sixteen superclásico, and Boca’s disqualification from the tournament (as well as first degree burns to four River players). As you can imagine, it’s been a busy week for those of us who write and talk about Argentine football. Here’s what I’ve been doing.

First, when the whole thing kicked off I was commentating on the match from my sofa for Rabble TV, and if you’ve got a few hours spare you can listen back, from a pretty uneventful and dull first half through to the chaos that ensued as the second was meant to be starting. I’ll be occasionally commentating on big games on Rabble, by the way; my next appearance there will be this Sunday afternoon, when Racing host Independiente in the clásico de Avellaneda.

Next, I wrote this piece for ESPNFC in an attempt to explain some of the discussions around the fracas and the subsequent CONMEBOL decision to expel Boca from this year’s Copa Libertadores.

No week in Argentine football would be complete, of course, without a Hand Of Pod recording, and this week I was joined by Peter Coates for a special early recording on Monday, to discuss the debacle with the benefit of a few days’ hindsight.

And finally, I was a guest on World Soccer Talk Radio right after that HOP recording, talking their listeners through the incident, the sanctions and the reaction to all of it here in Buenos Aires.

Posted in Barra brava, Boca Juniors, Copa Libertadores, La Doce, Other football sites, River Plate, Superclásico | Tagged , , , , ,

CONMEBOL ruling: Boca Juniors out of 2015 Copa Libertadores


They took their sweet time announcing it, but CONMEBOL finally tweeted the above photograph on Saturday night, confirming that Boca Juniors have been disqualified from this year’s Copa Libertadores after the acid spray attack on River Plate’s team prior to the second half of Thursday night’s last sixteen second leg. As well as the expulsion (which Boca can’t appeal), they will have to play their next four continental home games behind closed doors, and won’t be allowed to take away fans to their next four continental away games; a US$200,000 fine has also been levied. These latter three points will all be appealed by the club, who have also voiced their disagreement with the decision to expel them from the competition. There will be an article by me on ESPNFC shortly.

Posted in Boca Juniors, Copa Libertadores, River Plate, Superclásico | Tagged , , , , ,

Boca Juniors v River Plate suspended – trying to make a bit of sense of it

I can’t quite work out how to start here, so let’s just dive in, as I don’t plan on this being a long post. It’s been a bad day for Argentine football; on Thursday morning, Banfield youngster Emiliano Ortega died from a head injury he’d picked up last week playing on loan for lower division side San Martín de Burzaco. This weekend’s Primera División fixtures, along with every other domestic match in Argentina, have been called off as a mark of respect.

And then the second leg of the Copa Libertadores last sixteen tie between Boca Juniors and River Plate at La Bombonera was suspended on Thursday night before kick off of the second half, after River players were attacked by pepper spray (was it just pepper spray?), seemingly sprayed on them by a ‘fan’ who’d damaged the inflatable tunnel they were coming out of onto the pitch.

That’s about all we know for certain so far. Fox Sports commentators at the match said they’d received a message from a friend who recognised the ‘fan’ apparently using a blowtorch or some kind of controlled flare – I’m assured by Twitter followers this would be possible depending on the kind of flare – cutting through the chainlink fence at the side of the pitch (who was shown on the TV cameras). It was claimed that he had received a banning order from the club 45 days before, so shouldn’t have even been at the match. If true, that doesn’t speak very highly of entrance checks, but national Security Secretary Sergio Berni said afterwards that, ‘the security operation was a success.’ The match was suspended. Boca want to arrange for the second half to be played in a few days’ time (in a neutral venue, and it should go without saying, behind closed doors), whilst River are understandably more reticent.

CONMEBOL regulations would appear to be clear – if ‘fans’ of one team cause a match to be called off, the other team are awarded the match. Without needing to worry about a scoreline, that in this case would result in River advancing to the quarter-finals, since they already won last week’s first leg 1-0 (tonight’s match was 0-0 when it was called off). But will CONMEBOL apply that regulation? There are rumours that the mixture sprayed on the players contained more than just pepper spray – acid from a phosphorescent flare was mentioned on Radio Mitre. And there was talk on ESPN’s South American broadcast (which was covering the aftermath but didn’t broadcast the game – the tournament rights are held by Fox Sports) of Boca having La Bombonera suspended for continental competitions for as much as two years. But right now, it’s all just talk. For the moment, we don’t know which of these teams will be in the quarter-finals, or what punishment will be handed down to Boca, and Leonardo Ponzio, Sebastián Driussi, Ramiro Funes Mori and Matías Kranevitter will be spending the night in a burns unit.

Racing got through their own last sixteen tie by beating Montevideo Wanderers 2-1 in El Cilindro for a 3-2 aggregate win, by the way. Well done, Racing.

Posted in Boca Juniors, Copa Libertadores, Football security, River Plate, Superclásico | Tagged , , ,

Some tips for watching Boca Juniors v River Plate (14th May 2015) live in the Copa Libertadores last 16

Unlike last week’s first leg, TV Pública have realised before kick off that they’re not allowed to broadcast outside Argentina for the second leg of this Copa Libertadores last sixteen tie between Boca Juniors and River Plate (River have a 1-0 advantage from the first leg), so your options for a stream this evening are betting websites, if you have an account, or perhaps checking whether local TV stations to you are showing it. Definitely don’t set a VPN to Argentina and visit this page, because that would be very naughty. And don’t try Roja Directa or similar sites either. I can’t emphasise this enough.

If you’re lucky enough to be watching, or insist on ignoring my advice above, you can also listen to me providing live commentary of my own for the match over on RabbleTV. Come and join the fun!

Posted in Boca Juniors, Copa Libertadores, River Plate, Superclásico | Tagged , , , , , , ,