cover art for The Game World Cup Preview 2018

The Game Football Podcast

The Game World Cup Preview 2018

Natalie Sawyer fronts the new World Cup podcast from The Times, publishing every night after the final whistle on every matchday. In our opening episode, Gab Marcotti, Henry Winter and James Gheerbrant join Natalie to look ahead to this summer in Russia.

The panel focus on Russia’s preparations to host the tournament and what shape England find themselves in, as they seek to end 52 years of hurt. Plus we run the rule over the contenders and pretenders looking to take home the trophy. Does the evidence suggest we should be writing off the Germans? Are Belgium under-prepared? And can Didier Deschamps drive the French Ferrari?

More episodes

View all episodes

  • Euros Daily #33: Is Eddie Howe the answer?

    You thought we were done, didn't you? No chance. Martin Samuel has returned to the office just to say hello (but mostly to get his laptop fixed). Tom Clarke takes the opportunity to get his views on the final and who comes after Southgate, if Southgate leaves. And now we're fully over England's loss (we are, promise), Tom Clarke, Tom Allnutt and Gregor Robertson look back over the tournament in full to pick their favourite moments and pick The Game's Euros XI. We really are done now, for a couple of weeks at least. Stay tuned for the new season...
  • Euros Daily #32: Heartbreak for England - immediate reaction

    So near and yet so far…for the second Euros in a row England are runners up. A team and a nation left bereft.Tom Clarke, Gregor Robertson, Alyson Rudd and Hamzah Khalique-Loonat try to make sense of where it went wrong for England. Was the captain fit, why couldn’t they retain the ball and were they always a safety-first team?  What on earth do England need to get over that final hurdle!? Spain are the first team to win every game at a Euros, so can England really complain, the best team won didn’t they? Where now for a team of world stars and a manager loved by his players but perhaps now doubted by many fans. Was getting to the final enough, or did performance and silverware matter? Many questions, but for now, few answers… just disappointment.
  • Euros Daily #31: 'I really, really want England to win'

    It's finally here: England v Spain. One more for European glory. All eyes on Berlin. Still, there's plenty of time to debate who should start at left back. Tom Clarke is joined by Martin Samuel, Gregor Robertson and Jonathan Northcroft, who's very excited, or in his words has a 'frisson of interest'. If England win, IF, could Southgate stay? If he doesn't, who is there to replace him? How do England stop this high flying Spain side? And don't worry, we'll be there for you after the game, no matter what. 
  • Euros Daily #30: What's the Spanish for 'it's coming home?'

    If it really is coming home, England will need to beat Spain. Tom Clarke is joined by Ian Hawkey, Tom Allnutt and Gregor Robertson for a Spanish deep dive in the first of two final preview shows. How much credit does Spain's manager, Luis de la Fuente, deserve for their success? Why has it seemingly clicked for Spain more than any other team in the tournament? And what are their weaknesses (good news for England fans, there are a few)?¡Está volviendo a casa!
  • Euros Daily #29: Joy, defiance and terrible eggs

    Chief sports writer Owen Slot is England’s lucky charm. He has covered the whole tournament but until the semi-final he hadn’t covered England. He turned up and they put in their best performance and won. He’s booked for the final.Tom Clarke joins Owen to discuss the atmosphere around the England team, the depth and togetherness of the squad and England manager Gareth Southgate.  Owen then gives a behind the scenes look at life on the road covering a tournament, from the sheer joy of a football festival in Europe, with thousands of fans and without covid; to the Romanian soul generation and terrible eggs. 
  • Euros Daily #28: England are in the final!

    They’ve done it, and what a way to do it! Another last minute, last gasp winner, this time from Ollie Watkins. Weston-Super-Mare to the Euros final, yes!Gregor Robertson, Jonathan Northcroft and James Gheerbrant join Tom Clarke to react to a fantastic win and – say it quietly – a good performance.Does this vindicate the approach of Gareth Southgate; another final, the first on foreign soil, surely, he gets the credit? Not so fast…Gregor doesn’t want to re write history just yet.We’ll worry about Spain tomorrow, first, let’s look at how England won and put in a performance to be proud of…dodgy penalty aside.  
  • Euros Daily #27: Bring on the penalties...

    One semi down, one to go. Tom Clarke is joined by Martin Samuel, Gregor Robertson and Hamzah Khalique-Loonat to marvel at a very impressive Spanish 16 year old(!). Whoever Spain face in the final, surely they've got to be favourites? And are we actually looking forward to a penalty shootout tonight? No, not really. But it could be England's best route to another Euros final. 
  • Euros Daily #26: France or Spain, who would England prefer?

    It is semi-final day, dare we even consider who England would prefer to play out of France and Spain? Let’s indulge ourselves; Tom Allnutt and Gregor Robertson look at the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. IF England were to beat the Netherlands, how would they fair against the irresistible force of the Spanish team, or the immovable object that are the French?Paul Joyce joins Tom Clarke and offers a glimpse inside England press conferences and the mindset that Gareth Southgate is projecting, to the press at least. As the Times reporter who covers Merseyside, he also looks at the Dutch’s main weapons – Virgil Van Dyke and Cody Gakpo.
  • Euros Daily #25: England; flamboyant or ’filthy’?

    A second look at England’s win over Switzerland. Some would call it resilient, a friend of Martin’s called it a ‘filthy’ win, but that’s football. Gregor Robertson, Martin Samuel and Tom Clarke take a detailed look at the performance and the changing narrative around Gareth Southgate. If you win, does it matter how you play? Is resilience more valuable than cohesion...? Captain Kane has drawn some criticism in the press, is that fair or a reflection of the system he is playing in? Finally, is Declan Rice the forgotten man of England? Getting better with every game, filling the gaps and front foot aggression.