“What is driving Argentina to the World Cup? 1,100 lbs of Yerba Mate”, headlined the New York Times the day after the victory of the national team against the Netherlands at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
As expected, the presence of mate in Qatar has not gone unnoticed by some international media. Teams from Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil landed in the host country to a greater and lesser extent with large rations of weed in the luggage.
In a note on mate in the world of football, focused precisely on Qatar, the American outlet highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the South American infusion.
An export infusion
Those who try to explain it, clarifies the Times, claim that it is”like a green tea, but stronger”.
Journalist James Wagner He listed the amount of weed that came to Qatar from Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. The first carried almost 12 kilos, the second 240 and Argentina nothing more and nothing less than 500! (£1100) for a team of 75.
The spokesman of the Argentine national team, Niccolo Novellocontributed that the selection “has brought different types for all tastes: yerba mate with stem (a more delicate flavour), without stem (a stronger and more bitter flavour) and with herbs (for other flavours).”
For the Times, the binding power of mate is very important. In reality, those who highlight it are the voices selected to defend the drink.
One of them is the Juan José Szychowski, president of the National Yerba Mate Institute in Argentina; another, that of the Argentinian striker of Austin FC Sebastian Driussi.
New Yorkers describe mate as a beverage consisting of “a cup made with a hollow gourd, its accompanying straw, and a thermos of hot water” that can be taken “from sweet to bitter and from hot to cold.”
Among its international ambassadors – those convinced by an Argentine or Uruguayan who crossed the street – are two notable French footballers: Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba.
How the detractors appear Walker Zimmermannof the United States national team, and the Mexican Louis Hernandez. Both were unable to “adjust their palates” to the experience.
“Some have called it too bitter, too herbaceous, too earthy,” Wagner noted.
The words of the Argentine defender Lysander Lopez They served to highlight the strangeness many foreigners feel when they see someone holding a thermos and mate on the public streets.
“Many times, and I lived in Lisbon for four years, I would go to a square to drink mate and people would look at me strangely, as if I was on drugs or something,” commented the former Benfica defender.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.