The World Cup Week 2 Review - AFR Voice

It still feels like it’s only just started, and yet half of it has gone already - but my word what a World Cup it has been so far. After fully submerging themselves in Brazil 2014 for another week, the pod take a moment to come up for some air and look at what has happened so far, and what could happen as the groups comes to their conclusions.

In the wake of Luis Suarez getting up to his old tricks and Italy joining the ever-growing list of European casualties at this tournament, it’s the South and Central American teams who seem to be making it their own. We also take a look at Brazil’s stuttering start, potentially the end of an era for Spain, and of course the subject of everyone’s favourite Vine, Mexico boss Miguel Herrera.

With England packing their suitcases after a delightful week-long stay in Rio, the gents from the pod were in need of new allegiances - and where better to find in a traditional British boozer. Boosted by their thrilling opening-game victory, the newly formed London chapter of the American Outlaws were in fine voice for the crunch Group G clash with Portugal, and the pod caught up with a few of their members to hear tales of the joy of beating Ghana, and sharing beers with Jürgen Klinsmann in Bosnian hotel bars.

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First Aid Football - AFR Voice Ep. 35

This week, we look at some of the most important medical matters in the game. Ben gets to grips with first aid training specifically for the football environment, and interviews the professional instructor behind a course aimed at grass-roots player. We also report on the latest study that reveals the significant problem of depression and alcohol abuse that torments an increasing proportion of football players, both current and recently retired.

On the pitch itself, we lick our lips at some very enticing Champions League quarter-final ties, asking whether Manchester United’s ‘backs-against-the-wall’ approach plays to David Moyes’ managerial strengths, how Chelsea can replicate their 2012 heroics to stage another miracle recovery, and why two thirds of the pod fancy Atlético Madrid to just edge out Barcelona at the Calderón.

In the domestic leagues we cast our eye over the latest Premier League sacking – that of Chris Hughton at Norwich City. Is the late change fully justified or is simply closing the stable door after the horse has bolted? Meanwhile across the Atlantic, we gawp and gasp at an incredible first instalment of this season’s Cascadia Cup – a chance to admire Clint Dempsey’s goal splurge and - thanks to Eric Beard's #whereisfootball Instagram snap - inadvertently discover some sensational Portland Timbers merch.

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Anfield of Dreams - AFR Voice Ep. 34

The clocks have gone forward in Europe and it can only mean one thing – in leagues across the continent, it’s business time. In England, the surprise package of the season Liverpool are now riding high at the top of the league with goals flying in from all angles, while in Spain Atletico Madrid find themselves in the peculiar position of being third favourites to take the crown despite currently being a point clear at the top of the table.

Elsewhere, MLS is now in full swing. The Honeymoon might just be over for Toronto FC, but it just keeps on going for the Columbus Crew, and there’s also a new franchise owner who’s been trying to lure a certain Brazilian across the pond via a contract clause and… social media.

If you thought things were warming up in Europe, then they’re about to hit boiling point in Australia where the play-offs are almost upon us. We’ll be discussing the possibility of a shootout between two A-League heavyweights – Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Heskey, as well as looking at the career of Harry Kewell, who’s just hung up his boots.

And then there’s the small matter of a brand new European international tournament to fill the void that often appears during a year that ends in an odd number. Could UEFA’s League of Nations be a masterstroke by Michel Platini, or a very complicated way to expel the meaningless friendly from the international arena?

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Are Barça Broken? - AFR Voice Ep. 31

Barça suffered a domestic shock to the system at the weekend — coming up short against lowly Valladolid. With the La Liga title looking increasingly out of their reach, and their performances levels stalling, we question whether their footballing empire is crumbling. 

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Jersey? Sure. - AFR Voice Ep. 30

With Jersey Week in MLS now in full swing, this week’s podcast is getting into the spirit of things by delving into the delights of the highest footballing fashion that 2014 has had to offer so far. We’re talking Portland’s exquisite third kit, San Jose’s 40th anniversary rebrand, as well as the finest kits that will be gracing this summer’s World Cup. And once again, the Dutch have not let us down.

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Aimar Footballer, Get Me Out of Here - AFR Voice Ep.29

We may still be a few months away from the World Cup in Brazil, but the draw for the tournament that will see Europe’s finest pit themselves against each other in two years’ time has already been made. On this week’s show, we’ll be trying to get out heads around the new-look Euro 2016 draw, complete with France playing in a qualification group despite hosting the tournament itself, match schedules that club managers will lose sleep over, and new boys Gibraltar making their debut in competitive international football.

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Rosell Resigns - AFR Voice Ep.25

In this week’s pod we’ll be taking a look at the rather strange goings on in Barcelona - they may now have one of the world’s brightest young players on their books, but their President has paid for it with his job. Listen to us squirm as we get lost in a pool of hidden payments, sign-on fees and third party ownership deals that we still think nobody (including Neymar himself) really understands.

Away from the mess of Catalan invoices and contract law, it’s nearly the end of January which can only mean one thing – the transfer window is about to SLAM SHUT. We’ll be taking a look at the big transfer news in Europe, Diego Forlan’s rather unexpected move from Brazil to the Far East, as well as indulging in some transfer window cliché bingo.

With Europe’s top leagues now back in full swing after the winter break we’ll also be discussing Dortmund’s latest woes as Bayern pick up where they left off in the Bundesliga, and take a peek at the top of Ligue 1 where a team actually bought a French player from Newcastle (which makes a nice change).

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In a week that has seen the first candidate throw his hat into the ring to become the next President of Fifa, we’ll be chatting to sports reporter and writer for worldfootballinsider.com, Christian Radnedge - who was at the launch of Jerome Champagne’s election campaign, to find out more about the man other than just his excellent name.

We’ll also be taking a look at Chelsea’s latest import from the Portuguese top flight, and see how the top teams there have become masters of unearthing elite players from across the world, before selling them off for mind-boggling profits on a consistent basis.

One of those money spinning sales was of course Radamel Falcao, who is experiencing a bit of a dry spell by his high standards in Ligue 1 at the moment. We’ll be discussing if everything is as it seems on the French Riviera, or if he could soon be trading in that salmon pink blazer for a Parka jacket and a portion of fish and chips by the Thames.

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Santa’s Sack - AFR Voice Ep. 19

This week’s show sees us a man down - and before you ask, no we haven’t sacked Ben for overseeing a series of poor pod performances (he’ll be back next week), but we will be discussing the goings on of a weekend of boardroom-based carnage in the Premier League. Where did it all go wrong for Andre Villas-Boas and Steve Clarke? Will they be stuck on the managerial merry-go-round for long? And with the January transfer window fast approaching, who’s next to join them?

Then it’s off to Europe’s top table, where we’ll be taking a look at the Champions League draw – the tasty looking match against Man City that Barcelona didn’t want, the prospect of two home games for Didier Drogba, and an Arsenal team looking to make sure we don’t get a sixth straight final that includes either Pep Guardiola or Bayern Munich.

We’re also stopping off in La Liga, where Atletico Madrid are doing everything they can to disrupt the established balance of power, Barcelona have broken yet another record, and Cristiano Ronaldo has now got something that not many players in world football can boast – his own museum.

This week’s feature interview sees us chat to journalist, broadcaster and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague about his new book, simply titled “Messi”. We’ll be talking about how he went about writing a book on the world’s best player, how he managed to speak to Messi’s friends, family and coaches to build a true picture of the man, and what makes the Argentine arguably the greatest player of all time.

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