Argentina and Uruguay have each brought 2,000 pounds of meat to Qatar to help the likes of Lionel Messi and Federico Valverde to feel at home during the World Cup over the next few weeks, according to reports. The two countries are among the biggest consumers of meat on the planet behind only Australia and the United States and their national teams will be thankful for their home comforts over the course of the tournament, which is set to get underway on Sunday.
Argentina’s squad touched down in Qatar on Thursday following their friendly win over the United Arab Emirates a day earlier, while Uruguay have already been training in nearby Abu Dhabi at their base for the World Cup. A deal has been struck between the Uruguay FA (AUF) and the country’s National Institute of Meat (INAC) to supply their players and staff with meat at the tournament, with AUF president Ignacio Alonso having expressed his delight at the news earlier this month.
“The national team is being accompanied by the best nourishment,” Alonso told Medios Publicos. “The AUF is a historic ambassador of our country and will take with it another ambassador, which is Uruguayan meat, the best meat in the world.”
The ‘asado’ is one of the most popular meat dishes in both countries, with Uruguay having already enjoyed their first of their World Cup campaign at the luxurious Park Hyatt hotel in Abu Dhabi. The meal consists of various cuts of meat and sausages and is usually cooked on the grill, with Uruguay team chef Aldo Cauteruccio taking charge of the barbecue on the latest occasion earlier this week.
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“The mate [special tea], the asado and football go together in Uruguay and are part of our culture,” said INAC president Conrado Ferber. “We want to convey the quality of the product, natural and sustainable, and the World Cup is the optimal time to do so.”
Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni has also highlighted the importance of the asado as a tool to bring his players together despite being thousands of miles away from their native land at the World Cup over the coming weeks.
“My favourite food is the asado, but it’s more than that,” Scaloni told reporters. “It creates an atmosphere of union and collective chemistry. It’s part of our culture, of the Argentine idiosyncrasy.
“It’s during that time that we get to talk, to laugh, relax and connect. It’s not necessarily about the meat, although we love it. It’s to be part of a group and the connection that it generates.”
Brazil, meanwhile, have not joined their South American rivals in taking meat to the World Cup in Qatar but have opted to bring their own home comforts in the form of coffee and seasonings. They have also packed around 66 pounds of cassava flour in order to cook ‘farofa’, a popular Brazilian dish, as they look to clinch football’s top prize for a record-extending sixth time.
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