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Game of Our Lives

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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.

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.
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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. We want to hear from you! What do you want from a post-World Cup Game of Our Lives? Fill out this short survey and let us know:...


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...


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.


What If...?

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...


Operation Double Eagle

Surprise! Despite FIFA policy, political provocations abound at the World Cup. This week we talk about rumors of Mo Salah’s impending exit from Team Egypt, the hooligan-to-paramilitary pipeline, and what exactly is up with that Albanian double eagle. Plus, writer Supriya Nair calls in from Mumbai to talk about why she keeps watching teams that won’t win, and Godwin Enakhena checks in from Lagos, where Nigeria fans are perched between hope and despair — as Messi awaits.


It’s All Fun and Games Until the Nationalists Show Up

“If football nations were rappers, Brazil would be Tupac.” Guest Musa Okwonga from the New York Times blew up on Twitter last week with his arch comparisons of rappers and World Cup teams. Today, he joins David to talk about xenophobia in Europe, the basic decency of Mo Salah, and how to expand his analogy to poets — Italy as T.S. Eliot, anyone? Plus, Senegalese coaching sensation Aliou Cisse, women finally being allowed into stadiums in Tehran, and next week’s Red Sea Derby.


Iran v. Nike, Iceland Rising, and the Goal That Shook the Earth

And we’re not even a week into the World Cup. From Iceland’s unexpected draw with Argentina to Mexico’s seismic win over Germany, David & crew revel in the opening weekend’s action. Plus, Iranian journalist Mani Djazmi dials in from a train in the middle of Russia to talk about Iran’s last-minute 1-0 win against Morocco, and all the drama that’s followed the team off the pitch.


Russia’s Big Win, the NAFTA World Cup, and the Future of South American Football

It’s on! Preening pop stars, a surprise home team blowout, and a handshake seen ‘round the world. Host David Goldblatt and crew break down Russia’s rout of Saudi Arabia, dissect Vladimir Putin’s upstaging of the FIFA Congress, and talk with football journalist Tim Vickery about whether Lionel Messi and the rest of South America’s stars can restore the continent’s football glory. Finally, we hear from Shireen Ahmed about how the hopes of Toronto’s Muslim diaspora rise and fall on Mo Salah’s...


Everything You Don't Understand About Russia: World Cup 2018

Vladimir Putin: we've seen him shirtless on horseback, wielding a hockey stick, and maneuvering for global domination. But how does Putin's Russia really feel about football? Host David Goldblatt talks with Russian journalist Sasha Goryunov about what the West misunderstands about the 2018 World Cup host country. Plus, we preview the tournament, visit the CONIFA World Football Cup of unrecognized nations, and welcome two new cohosts to the show.


COMING SOON: Game of Our Lives Season 2 — World Cup

Goals, tragedies, victories, politics—and, yes, songs. Host David Goldblatt is back to guide you through football's biggest tournament! Season 2 starts June 8, 2018.


Italy: Football, Fascism, and the World Cup — with John Foot

“We have made Italy; now we have to make Italians,” Massimo d’Azeglio famously stated. Has football made Italians? And how do the country’s anxieties play out on the pitch? Goldblatt talks with historian John Foot about Italian football and its relationship to politics — from Mussolini’s use of the sport as a tool of fascism, to Silvio Berlusconi bringing Italy to the top of the football world, to current anxieties about immigration and national identity — and the failure to qualify for the...


India is In the Game — with Supriya Nair

When the World Cup begins, the absence of just two countries will mean that over a third of the global population will not be represented. India and China are not traditional football powers, but in recent years they’ve become huge and lucrative markets for the sport. In this episode, writer Supriya Nair talks about the new middle-class popularity of the Premier League in India, the clunky attempts to revamp the Indian domestic game, and her own private ritual of staying up until 3am to...


Liverpool: Rebellion and Resilience

Liverpool is a political football city like no other. It’s also swimming in just as much money as the rest of the game. This week, Goldblatt heads to watch his beloved Tottenham Hotspur take on Liverpool FC; but also visits the activists from Spirit of Shankly and Fans Supporting Foodbanks, who do their work outside the stadium, in his quest to find out what it means for him to be a fan.


After Escobar — with Juan Gabriel Vásquez

In the 1980s and 90s, Colombian football was some of the best it had ever been. The price: near-total control by the country’s drug lords. This week, Goldblatt talks with fan and novelist Juan Gabriel Vásquez about what it was like growing up in Colombia during that time, how following the sport helps him see his country’s changes, and whether there’s any such thing as a pure game.


Playing the Game, Wearing Hijab — with Shireen Ahmed

All Shireen Ahmed wanted to do was play — but college officials kept her off the pitch because she wanted to wear her headscarf, or hijab. This week, the player, advocate, and coach talks about her fight to get back on the field, what football means in the global South, and the day FIFA lifted its ban on hijab.


Mountain of Fire and Miracles — with Godwin Enakhena

One of the top teams in Nigeria is Mountain of Fire and Miracles FC, a Pentecostal club in Lagos. It’s a team that provides stability for its players within the fraught world of Nigerian domestic football — and also represents the country on the global stage. “Someone is sick, we all pray and fast,” says church sporting director Godwin Enakhena. “There is a deal that’s coming, we fast and pray about it, and say ‘God help this young man get this deal.’” This week, he and David Goldblatt...


Cinema of The Pitch — with Werner Herzog

If Werner Herzog made a football movie, what would it look like? Host David Goldblatt talks football (soccer) and cinema (movies) with the celebrated filmmaker (and reasonable center forward). Herzog talks about falling in love with the game when he watched a young Pele play in Munich, the cinematography of the TV football experience, and the football film he dreams of making.


COMING SOON: Game of Our Lives

David Goldblatt revels in the cheeky culture of English football chants. Season 1 starts March 15, 2018.