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Adam Leventhal is joined by Daniel Taylor, Jay Harris and Dutch journalist Sjoerd Mossou for a looking into one of the most fascinating coaches to shape modern football: Louis van Gaal. Ahead of the Netherlands quarter-final tie with Argentina the panel debate and discuss the career of the 71-year-old including his time at Manchester United as well as how he has cultivated a 'loving' atmosphere within the Dutch camp. There's reflections on his personal battle with cancer in the build-up to the tournament as well as how he has brought his collection of unlikely lads, including goalkeeper Andries Noppert to the cusp of greatness on the highest stage. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Qatar has hosted the 'best group stage ever' at a World Cup. But what about all of the issues off the field of play casting a large, looming shadow over the tournament? Host Adam Leventhal is joined by The Athletic’s Deputy Editor Laura Williamson and writers Adam Crafton and Matt Slater to dissect all. We hear the tragic story of how a Filipino migrant worker died during the group stage at Saudi Arabia’s training resort in Qatar. The panel also discuss the 'Disney-fication' of the World Cup, LGBTQ+ issues, sportswashing and much, much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The cult of Lionel Messi

The cult of Lionel Messi


The Athletic's Abi Paterson is in Doha, Qatar at the World Cup and has a few burning questions regarding a player who many consider as the greatest footballer of all time: Lionel Messi. The forward has captained his Argentina side to the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup, which is widely thought to be his last ever World Cup tournament at 35 years of age. With questions ranging from; is Lionel Messi the greatest? To is he better than fellow Argentine Diego Maradona, or his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo? And has his ambassadorial role with Saudi Arabia effected him? Abi is joined by a host of guests including James Horncastle, Adam Crafton, Felipe Cardenas, Sam Lee, Michael Cox, and a number of other journalists and fans in Qatar. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Adam Leventhal is joined by James Horncastle, Raphael Honigstein & Jack Pitt-Brooke to debate and analyse the values and importance of a no.9 in international football. With the likes of Olivier Giroud, Richarlison and Harry Kane all playing prominent roles in their nations' hopes of winning the World Cup, yet playing the centre forward role in a differing way: what exactly are the hallmarks of a successful no.9? The role of a false nine, target man and wide forward converted into a striker are all evaluated as well as the evolution of the centre forward through football history along with the role academies have played in the 'decline' of no.9 production. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
As Jude Bellingham played the starring role in England's 3-0 last 16 win over Senegal join Adam Leventhal from the Al Bayt Stadium for all the reaction. Michael Cox gives his tactical breakdown on how the 19-year-old dominated on the biggest stage, David Ornstein catches up with Declan Rice and discusses his midfield partner. Plus there's reaction from England writers Jack Pitt-Brooke on Harry Kane scoring his first goal of the tournament and Oli Kay on England's next opponents France - and Charlotte Harpur reflects with Abi Paterson on a day spent with the Senegal fans and their drums! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Host Adam Leventhal is joined by The Athletic's England writers Oli Kay and Jack Pitt-Brooke to discuss England manager Gareth Southgate's starting XI to face Senegal... US soccer correspondent Sam Stejskal reflects on the many positives that USMNT can take from this World Cup and James Horncastle purrs over yet another milestone and masterclass from Leo Messi. Plus, an insight into the mindset of England's opponents from Senegalese journalist Mahmoud Gueye. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Host Adam Leventhal is joined by Athletic writers Jay Harris and Paul Tenorio to discuss the drama on the final day of the group stages and also look ahead to the USA’s huge knockout clash against Netherlands.  South Korea scored a late, late goal to beat Portugal and seal their place in the Round of 16 ahead of Uruguay, leaving Luis Suarez in tears. In the other group, Switzerland edged a five-goal thriller against Serbia to progress, while Brazil topped Group G, despite their 1-0 loss to Cameroon. We also hear from Michael Cox, who gives his thoughts on South Korea’s win, and Cameroonian journalist Francis Ajumane discusses Cameroon becoming the first African team to beat Brazil in a World Cup match. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Adam Leventhal is joined by Oli Kay and Michael Cox following another dramatic night in Qatar with two European heavyweights in Germany and Belgium exiting the World Cup. There's reaction from Japan's dramatic win over Spain which eliminated Germany and also sent Japan through as Group E winners. Raphael Honigstein gives immediate reaction to Germany heading home, while Jack Pitt-Brooke revels in Japan's joy. With Belgium also out coach Roberto Martinez confirmed the end of his time in charge with the panel assessing where and what next for the Spaniard before Carl Anka looks ahead to Uruguay v Ghana on Day 13 with a look back to their quarter-final meeting in 2010. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The Athletic's Adam Leventhal, James Horncastle and Adam Crafton react to Argentina's 2-0 win over Poland on Wednesday night that saw both teams make it through to the last 16, but it wasn't without its drama as Messi had a penalty saved by Wojciech Szczęsny and Poland came perilously close to exiting the tournament on yellow cards. If this World Cup isn't enough for you, we cast ahead to 2026 as Adam Crafton brings us news that FIFA are considering the possibility of having penalty shoot-outs pre-match in the group stages as a way of guarding against possible collusion in the expanded 48-team tournament We also hear from the Athletic's Jay Harris who witnessed Australia's triumph over a disappointing Denmark Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
That’s a wrap for Groups A and B. England sailed past Wales with a resounding 3-0 win, courtesy of a remarkable Marcus Rashford brace and goal from Phil Foden. Gareth Southgate’s side will face Group A runners-up Senegal in the last-16. USA qualify in second place in Group B after their 1-0 win over Iran, and they will go up against Group A winners, the Netherlands. That match was largely overshadowed by the political tension surrounding Iran. Joining Adam Leventhal to bring us the stories of anti-Iranian government protests and how female Iran fans fear they are being spied on whilst attending games are Athletic writers Adam Crafton and Charlotte Harpur, while Jack Pitt-Brooke and Alex Abnos dissect the football. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Ahead of the finale of Group B, Adam Leventhal is joined by David Ornstein and Matt Slater on Day 10 of the Qatar World Cup. Matt reflects on attending all four games on the final day of four separate kick-off times before Michael Cox and Dermot Corrigan reflect on Andre Onana being suspended from the Cameroon squad by coach Rigobert Song. James Horncastle reacts to Brazil's 1-0 win over Switzerland while Laura Williamson and Felipe Cardenas watched Portugal's 2-0 win over Uruguay with Bruno Fernandes scoring twice - despite Cristiano Ronaldo's best attempts to claim one. Meanwhile, ahead of England v Wales David Ornstein has the latest on the England team news before Sam Stejskal reflects on a heated press conference prior to USA v Iran. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Adam Leventhal is joined by Jack Pitt-Brooke and Oli Kay following a day of shocks in Qatar with Costa Rica and Morocco two of the noteworthy winners, while German's draw with Spain keeps their hopes of qualification alive. Abi Paterson reports from Al Bayt Stadium along with Michael Cox, Raphael Honigstein and David Ornstein, who spoke with Ilkay Gundogan post-match, on Germany's draw with Spain. Plus there's the latest from the England camp as Marcus Rashford speaks ahead of the Three Lions taking on Wales on Tuesday night. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
It's Sunday morning and host Adam Leventhal is joined by The Athletic's Felipe Cardenas and Charlotte Harpur to reflect on Lionel Messi handing Argentina a World Cup lifeline in typical style... James Horncastle offers his thoughts on Messi's moments of brilliance, was Enzo Fernandez' goal an even sweeter strike and why Mexico fans are frustrated with coach Gerardo Martino. Then, following a 'prickly' Deschamps post-match press conference - and despite France's 2-1 win over Denmark - our panel also discuss how good Mbappe is in the flesh, Tunisian fan envy, Australia's Mitchell Duke and Jurgen Klinsmann's comments about Iran and their head coach Carlos Queiroz. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Join Adam Leventhal for immediate reaction from England's goalless draw with USA in Group B from the Al Bayt Stadium. With comprehensive post-match analysis and reaction, tactics writer Michael Cox discusses where England failed to capitalise, USMNT writers Paul Tenorio and Alex Abnos dissect the US performance before heading to the mixed zone. David Ornstein and Sam Stejskal give their thoughts on the game with Abi Paterson along with hearing from Kieran Trippier, Jordan Henderson and US midfielder Yunus Musah. England writer Jack Pitt-Brooke reacts to Gareth Southgate's press conference, meanwhile elsewhere in Group B Laura Williamson watched on as Wales fell to defeat against Iran. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Ahead of Day Six of the World Cup, Adam Leventhal is joined by The Athletic's England writer Jack Pitt-Brooke and Sam Stejskal to preview England v USA this evening. They discuss the historic context of the fixtures and development of the USMNT before debating where the game will be won or lost. David Ornstein speaks with Bruno Fernandes following Portugal's 3-2 win over Ghana with Abi Paterson and Michael Cox reacting to Cristiano Ronaldo becoming the first player to score in five World Cups. James Horncastle reports from Brazil's opener, having beaten Serbia 2-0 with talisman Neymar forced off through injury. Plus, Adam Crafton speaks with Piara Powar from anti-discrimination group Fare giving his take on the tournament so far. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The Athletic's Adam Leventhal joins Raphael Honigstein and James Horncastle to reflect on day four of the World Cup, a day which saw Germany lose 2-1 to Japan after a disjointed performance but they took the headlines pre-match with their show of defiance against FIFA in the ongoing armband row. We discuss both the on and off field issues from that game, plus reflect on Spain's 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica, Belgium's underwhelming win over an unlucky Canada, and we have an update from the England camp as David Ornstein brings us news on Harry Kane's ankle injury as well as updates on Kyle Walker and James Maddison. There's also a look at Brazil ahead of their tournament bow against Serbia later today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Day three of the World Cup started with Saudi Arabia beating Argentina 2-1, and ended with the news that Cristiano Ronaldo has left Manchester United, the Glazers have put Man Utd up for sale, oh and England captain Harry Kane is having a scan on his ankle ahead of Friday's game vs USA. Here to reflect on all of that is the Athletic's Adam Leventhal, who is joined by Matt Slater following his trip to the Saudi/Qatar border to look at that shock result amid the backdrop of Messi's commercial relationship with Saudi Arabia, plus Matt gives us his expert view on how things will play out at Man Utd now the Glazers have effectively announced they want to sell. We also hear from David Ornstein, Adam Crafton and Laura Williamson on Cristiano Ronaldo's second tenure at Old Trafford finally coming to an end and what it means not just for his world cup but for the rest of his career. Plus we get the latest on the Harry Kane injury situation from our England correspondent Jack Pitt-Brooke Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
As Day 3 of the World Cup dawns, Adam Leventhal is joined by The Athletic's Jack Pitt-Brooke and Oliver Kay to reflect on England's 6-2 win over Iran... They discuss Saka's joy, Kane's influence, why no one's talking about Maguire or Sterling's club form this morning, as well as, which former German international Jude Bellingham reminds Jack of. Plus, Producer Abi spoke to Iranian fan Sahir, about why she is protesting at the World Cup and USMNT writer Paul Tenorio checks in after the 1-1 draw with Wales.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Host Adam Leventhal is joined by The Athletic's Adam Crafton and Laurie Whitwell on day two of the World Cup to discuss England's World Cup opener against Iran... The panel reflect on Qatar's opening day defeat, empty seats in the stadium, choreographed support and relations between Qatar and former hosts Russia. Plus, whether England and other nations should risk punishment for their 'OneLove' armbands in support of LGBT rights, comedian Omid Djalili's message to Rashford and co, as well as, American excitement levels ahead their Group B clash with Wales. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Join us for the first of our daily World Cup podcasts throughout the tournament as Adam Leventhal brings you the latest news, views and reaction from Qatar. Ahead of the start of the tournament, Matt Slater reacts to FIFA President Gianni Infantino's speech on the eve of the tournament, before Simon Hughes shares his thoughts having returned from an eight-day trip to Nepal to hear from the migrant families and their families who have prepared Qatar for hosting the World Cup. Plus David Ornstein and Laurie Whitwell are at Portugal training with the latest on Cristiano Ronaldo and England correspondent Jack Pitt-Brooke checks in from England's training base in Al-Wakrah. Produced by Guy Clarke Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (15)


This world cup had many failures, like the total banning of freedom of speech. What happened during the games of the IR regime team was a shame, the Qatari guards banned people to carry any item supporting the protests in Iran for obtaining freedom. Arresting people brutally and shutting down any voice against the regime. Well, seem this world cup is just coverage of the inhuman deeds of Qatar. No one even asks about those innocent workers who lost their lives to build a one-time used stadium. Rather not to watch or support such a shameful world cup. Have anyone heard about North Korea hosting the future world cup? ;))

Dec 9th


excellent show

Dec 9th

Sepehr Baharlouei

Thanks a lot for talking about Iranian women, and Iran's protests. #MahsaAmini

Dec 4th

Linganus Roberd

The world cup in this year will be the biggest event

Nov 21st

Linganus Roberd

The world cup in this year will be great ever

Nov 21st


An apt title considering your stupid predictions about city going unbeaten in your last podcast lol.

Oct 17th

Raymond O Regan

keeps failing to download

Sep 7th

Kiat Huang

I feel that because of England Football's virtual signalling (BLM kneeling, Pride ribbons) it is no coincidence that the England football team has been mentally brittle, unintelligent and uncreative on the pitch, relying on mediocrely talented players shining, target than the whole group performing as a proper team. The virtue signalling divides the team, or even worse, brainwashes them into thinking it is best and their half-hearted, lip-service patriotism so that ultimately they have lost the ability to win repeatedly, to have that killer instinct and a do-whatever-it-takes-to-win mentality to actually win a major tournament. BLM and the LBGTQ+ are divisive, political movements. BLM is obviously, overtly r*cist and has an anti-establishment, anti-police, anti-family, pro-Marxist, pro-anarchic, financially-corrupt promotion by the leadership. LGB (unified by sexual preferences) is under toxic pressure from TQ+ (unified by gender issues). LGBTQ+ is a term, which has now been rejected by the majority of the LGB thought leaders, and hijacked by the TQ+ thought leaders.

Jun 21st


Please please please adjust the volume of the intro/outro trumpet music. It’s nowhere near in line with the speakers volume. Comes out of nowhere overly loud every time. Sort it out please.

May 21st

mark hunter

as soon as the podcast finished it started pissing down rain in junee Australia. I doesn't rain much here. it's a sign let derby county be washed down the drain. I don't care fore them.

Jan 28th

Sharad Patel

Rubbish analysis

Jun 29th

John Anderson

First time listening to your podcast, real enjoyed a reasonable discussion regarding England's game. The knee being booed is really disappointing, it's a gesture that feels like it's accomplishing nothing but to boo black players taking a peaceful protest is awful. England is about inclusiveness and shouldn't be divided by some idiots booing a peaceful protest gesture, we should be propping up our players not ridiculing them.

Jun 3rd

Rok Košir

where is the Victor Font part exactly?

Dec 23rd
Reply (1)


People's lives are MORE IMPORTANT than $$, dead people won't notice how much money they've lost. The FA should act now, but they won't because $£°

Mar 10th
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