Lionel Messi’s favorite herbal drink helps fuel Argentina’s World Cup push

  • If Messi leads Argentina to the World Cup, it will be a long-awaited win for the soccer icon.
  • It could also be a win for yerba mate, a plant-based drink enjoyed by “almost everyone” in the Argentina squad.
  • Argentina loves mate so much that they brought 1,100 pounds of it with them to Qatar.

Attack wins games, defense wins championships, and mate – a herbal drink beloved by the Argentina national soccer team – just might help them win the World Cup.

Argentina have slayed in the renowned quadrennial football tournament, with Messi alone contributing five goals and three assists in six appearances so far in Qatar.

Although they suffered a shock loss to Saudi Arabia in their opening game last month, the team have since bounced back with victories against Mexico, Poland, Australia, the Netherlands and Croatia.

On December 18, Argentina will face the semi-final winner of France and Morocco for the right to hold the World Cup trophy and reign as champions until at least 2026.

One of the secrets to his success could be the way the team hydrates.

The New York Times reports, for example, that the Argentine team loves the drink, man, so much that they brought 1,100 pounds of it with them to the Middle East.

Mate, popular in parts of South America, is a caffeine-rich drink made from the dried leaves of yerba mate. It can be drunk hot or cold, as an infusion, or even as a soft drink.

The Brazil team brought 26 pounds of the drink to Qatar, while the Uruguay team brought 530. Not to be outdone, however, Argentina traveled with more than double what Uruguay had.

The New York Times said that ‘almost everyone’ in the Argentina squad drinks it, including Messi. They drank it after games, and even on the team bus. It’s a ritual.

“It’s like water for us”

Two Argentinian players have a drink during a World Cup match.

Two Argentinian players have a drink during a World Cup match.

Photo by Getty Images

Argentina midfielder Alexis MacAllister, who is in the country’s World Cup squad but has yet to take part in the tournament, told The Times: “I drink it more than anything to bring us together.”

26-year-old Argentine striker Sebastian Driussi, who represented his country at youth level and currently plays club soccer at Austin FC in MLS, says his country’s nutritionists say it “keeps you hydrated”.

Driussi told The Times: “It’s like water for us. Before a game, in the locker room, everyone drinks it all the time.

“We in Argentina say that mate makes friends.”

Should Messi lead Argentina to a tournament victory against France or Morocco on Sunday, it would be a long-awaited win for a player who has won virtually everything but the World Cup.

The taste of the ultimate victory would be sweet for Messi, although it also turns out to be quite bitter.

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