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"Yerba Mate": Argentina's Energy Drink at the World Cup in Qatar

This is Why Argentina Qualified for the World Cup Final

  • Publish date: Friday، 16 December 2022
"Yerba Mate": Argentina's Energy Drink at the World Cup in Qatar

A popular beverage in Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, and some Arab countries like Lebanon and Syria, yerba mate is a potent and frequently bitter herbal infusion made from the leaves of a South American native plant.

"Yerba Mate": Argentina's Energy Drink at the World Cup in Qatar

That beverage is consumed by some of the top soccer players in the world, and they have spread it around the world through their club teams. So with World Cup being hosted in Qatar, there were significant logistical and supply issues arose, not the least of which was where would yerba mate devotees acquire the herb in the Gulf.

So they arrived ready. According to a team spokesman, the Brazilian national squad, which includes a few mate drinkers, carried 26 pounds of mate to Qatar. The Uruguayan team carried over 530 pounds. However, Argentina beat them all. Argentina's team transported a massive 1,100 pounds of yerba mate to Qatar to make sure that the roughly 75 members of its traveling party — players, coaches, trainers, and the rest — would have a constant supply of a beverage they deem crucial.

The Argentine midfielder, Alexis Mac Allister, described the presence of caffeine as the reason for his excessive use of the beverage, which others have compared to a stronger green tea. "But I drink it more than anything else to unite us."

"Yerba Mate": Argentina's Energy Drink at the World Cup in Qatar

Nicolás Novello, a spokesman for Argentina's national team, said the group brought a variety to meet everyone's preferences, including yerba mate with stems (a softer flavor), without stems (a stronger, more bitter flavor), and with herbs (for other flavors). The team's devotion to the beverage was evident every time it unloaded its team bus, and following matches, a few players would carry out the customary mate essentials: a cup made of a hollow gourd, its accompanying straw, and a thermos of hot water. Observers claimed that almost everyone was drinking it, including the team's star, Lionel Messi.

Particularly among the Argentine and Uruguayan teams, drinking mate is so popular that the latter designated the thermos, known as Botija in Spanish, as its official mascot. Even in Qatar, where it had difficulty passing through the turnstiles of the Doha metro system, a large blue mascot costume had made it.

Sebastián Driussi, a midfielder for Austin F.C. in Major League Soccer, recalled that a nutritionist told him that mate hydrates you when he was playing soccer in Argentina. Driussi spent three years with the well-known Argentine team River Plate and represented Argentina internationally as a young player. "I'm not sure, but to us, it's like water. Everyone in the locker room is constantly drinking it prior to a game. No timetable or undesirable time exists for mating. In Argentina, we believe that friendships are made via mates."

Every drinker prefers somewhat different varieties, from sweet to bitter, hot to cold, according to Juan José Szychowski, president of the National Institute of Yerba Mate in Argentina.

Szychowski asserted in an interview that once you start drinking mate, you won't quit. It goes beyond mere custom. We say to guests, "You should have some mate," when they arrive. It's a communal activity that promotes sharing and wellness.