Whether you call it football or soccer, you can’t understand it without understanding the modern world — and you can’t understand the modern world without understanding its most popular sport. Join host David Goldblatt for conversations about politics, culture, economics, immigration, religion, cinema — and of course, some all-time favorite goals.
To the Victor Goes the Umbrella
France took home the trophy, but we all know who really won the World Cup: Vladimir Putin (who somehow ended up with the only umbrella in Moscow). In their Season 2 adieu, David, Tony, and Kanishk share their top moments from one of the most memorable tournaments in ages — before duking it out over where Raja should pledge his football allegiance.
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Three Lions and a Funeral
All right… maybe we jinxed it. But now that he’s ripped off the Band-Aid, David’s ready to take a hard look at England’s last game (and anyway, his money is on France). Misery loves company, so he calls up journalist Marcela Mora y Araujo to talk about what’s next for Argentina. And the whole crew looks ahead to the final in our new and improved edition of What to Watch.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Havelange
England is divided, but in the midst of political upheaval at home comes a moment of destiny on the pitch. David’s a mess, Kanishk Tharoor is back to try and jinx England, and Tony’s Skyping in from a car in South Africa to wind them both up. Plus IKEA hooligans, a poorly-timed baptism, and a visit from the ghost of João Havelange.
Shhhh … Don’t Jinx It
David goes to the mat for England as he dares to dream of a World Cup victory for the Three Lions; meanwhile, his guest, writer Kanishk Tharoor, hopes they lose — call it payback for a couple centuries of empire. With the quarterfinals upon us, it’s time to seriously consider what each team is made of, whether that’s argyle, chain-mail, or rootless cosmopolitans. Plus: the Totally Football Show’s Iain Macintosh leaves his own World Cup bunker to meditate on Neymar’s tears, and our hosts take bets on which team will leave Russia with the ultimate prize.
From Russia With Pride
Are penalty kicks any way to decide a match? David and Tony disagree — but we know how Russia feels. And as fans chant freely in stadiums from St. Petersburg to Sochi, some waving rainbow-colored flags, Piara Powar of FARE joins David to talk about the anti-discrimination group’s efforts to make sure Russia’s newfound attitude of tolerance lasts well beyond the tournament’s end. Plus, peak tiki-taka rubbish and what makes a World Cup match truly great.
On the verge of packing their bags for home, Mexico got a reprieve when South Korea beat Germany in a stunning upset. Now the country’s fans are riding high…straight to the polls this weekend. Can a football victory — or defeat — change the course of history? David takes a look back to the 1970 World Cup, which he watched on two TVs in his dad’s living room, and plays out some what-ifs about football, elections, and the future of global politics. And he looks ahead to another politics-and-football showdown between two “masters of the dark arts” — Sergio Ramos and Vladimir Putin.