The Argentina national team carried around 500 kg of yerba mate, a South American herbal tea that is particularly popular among the players, with them to the World Cup.
After a terrible performance in the initial match of the 2022 World Cup against Saudi Arabia, the Argentine football team exhibited a convincing performance in the remaining series of matches, winning all of them and making it all the way to the final.
In addition to the caliber of the team and the will to compete, one of the “secrets” that could contribute to Argentina’s success is the consumption of yerba mate. Yerba mate is a medicinal herb that is native to South America and is consumed in large quantities in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil. Bitter in flavor, yerba mate can be prepared either hot or cold by brewing it like tea or sipping it as a beverage.
The Uruguayan team carried over 240 kilograms of this herb to Qatar, whereas the Brazilian team brought approximately 12 kg. However, Argentina sent 498 kilograms of yerba mate to Qatar so that the 75 people who were part of the trip would have enough tea to drink.
Almost every player for Argentina drinks yerba mate, and that includes the team’s hero, Lionel Messi. They sip this tea on the bus after the game has ended. Some of them have traditional utensils for drinking yerba mate, such as a gourd cup, a straw, and a hot water bottle.
According to Alexis MacAllister, a midfielder for the club, “I drink yerba mate more than anything else, in order to bring the team together.”
According to Sebastian Driussi, an Argentine striker who plays for Austin FC Club in the United States, nutritionists in Argentina believe that this tea can assist the body in rehydrating.
“For us, yerba mate is like water. Everyone guzzles it down in the locker room right before the game starts. You can consume it at any time of the day “he stated. “In Argentina, drinking this tea is an important part of making new friends.”
After Argentina’s semi-final match against Croatia on December 13 ended with a score of 3-0, the country will play either France or Morocco in the World Cup final on the evening of December 18 at Lusail Stadium. France or Morocco will take on Argentina.
France and Morocco do not like holding the ball in the 2022 World Cup
France and Morocco, who will face off in today’s World Cup 2022 semifinal, both play in a methodical, time-consuming manner with the ball.
England seized the initiative to hold the ball for the majority of the quarterfinal matchup with France. With the ball at their feet, they can very much do whatever they want, including plan attacks from the back, advance slowly, and actively cooperate throughout the entire field.
England’s number of completed passes is at least 100 times greater than France’s and is almost not close to the home field due to its superior ball control ratio. But he failed in the conflict.
The French had that in mind. With a 2-1 victory over Morocco, the defending world champion advanced to the semifinals by using a similar quick defensive counterattack. France performs their task flawlessly thanks to their quick attackers. Adrien Rabiot, a midfielder for France, stated of England, “We knew they wanted to hold the ball so we actively waited for the moment and kicked the counter-attack.” France is skilled at changing course when necessary.
France, who has an offensively talented team, is two victories away from the global title. They will become the first team in 60 years to win the world championship twice in a row, following Brazil in 1958 and 1962. Les Bleus, however, succeed in this mission by avoiding active possession. In this competition, they played like a “bottom door” team like Morocco, but with a completely opposite mentality, by taking cover and forcing the adversary to attack.
Morocco is forced to corner opponents in games whereas France refuses to do so with its vast talent pool.
After almost 15 years of stooping to trying to keep the ball longer than its opponents, France has undergone a full transformation. Despite having the best players in the world playing every position on the field, they opt for the humblest attitude. Olivier Giroud, the striker who had only 23 touches against England but yet scored the game-winning goal, said of the home team’s stated intentions, “We knew we would be very dangerous on the counter-attack.” “It’s still crucial to manage the game’s details correctly. We advertise our prowess across the board.”
After only five shots on goal against England, France scored twice. Their expected goal total, which represents each team’s likelihood of scoring during a game, is only 1.4. The new prospects are likewise not always readily apparent. France played in that manner the entire competition. They avoid the ball and watch for a chance to counterattack. According to statistics company Opta, the average distance between the team and the goal is only approximately 40 meters. Formation blocks for powerful offensive teams like Germany or Spain are about four meters taller.
In the 2022 World Cup, Les Bleus is also among the sides that provide their opponents the greatest above-the-heel space and passing opportunities. In this regard, they are among the top six teams, along with Australia, Costa Rica, Japan, Poland, and Ghana.
France can alter their style of play at any time, which is the key distinction between them and these teams. Each player on the team is of the highest caliber and could, if necessary, make a great passer. The majority of French players currently compete for Europe’s elite ball control teams, including Champions League champions. Just that when donning the national team jersey, under Didier Deschamps’ guidance, these players lurk like venomous snakes, waiting for the right moment to launch a lightning-fast counterattack.
France applied the same strategy in Russia four years ago. Despite leading a team with a value of over a billion dollars, coach Deschamps opted for realism. With two defensive midfielders, France deliberately retreated deep. They held possession of the ball for an average of 48% of the competition, and Deschamps came under fire for wasting the quality at his disposal by not playing under control. But by the time the competition was over, it was quite challenging to argue with him. For the second time in history, France was the world champion.
Last Saturday, Giroud stressed, “This energy reminds me of what happened in 2018.”
It’s not unexpected that Deschamps put this team together. He was a defensive midfielder who captained the France team that won the European Championship in 2000 and the World Cup in 1998. Les Bleus also have other exceptional attacking skills, but they remained stable and always guided the squad to the appropriate score. The 1998 world final, which they won 3-0 against Brazil, was the only knockout game they won by more than one goal in these two competitions.