Game of Our Lives

Al Jazeera Media Network

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.

  • 33 minutes 20 seconds
    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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    17 July 2018, 4:00 am
  • 27 minutes 47 seconds
    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.

    13 July 2018, 4:00 am
  • 28 minutes 10 seconds
    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.

    10 July 2018, 4:00 am
  • 25 minutes 12 seconds
    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.

    6 July 2018, 4:00 am
  • 25 minutes 40 seconds
    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.

    3 July 2018, 4:00 am
  • 23 minutes 1 second
    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 politics-and-football showdown between two “masters of the dark arts” — Sergio Ramos and Vladimir Putin.

    29 June 2018, 4:00 am
  • 25 minutes 16 seconds
    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.

    26 June 2018, 4:00 am
  • 25 minutes 59 seconds
    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.

    22 June 2018, 4:00 am
  • 30 minutes 37 seconds
    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.

    19 June 2018, 4:00 am
  • 34 minutes 8 seconds
    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 sore shoulder. And of course, we tell you what to watch this weekend.

    15 June 2018, 4:00 am
  • 32 minutes 45 seconds
    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.

    8 June 2018, 4:00 am
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