2 World Cup Soccer Teams Are Feeding 4000 Lbs Of Meat To Their Players

Grilled meat is a big deal in some parts of the world. If you've ever been to the Southern Cone of Latin America — especially to Brazil, Uruguay, or Argentina — or to a "Brazilian steakhouse" restaurant, you've seen for yourself how much they like their steak. Argentina and Uruguay even have their own version of cowboys, known as "gauchos," and a long history of cattle herding (via Britannica). Over the years, these countries have developed intense traditions around grilling and serving beef, and occupy the top spots for beef-eating per capita (via World Population Review and El País)

In Spanish-speaking countries, this grilling-centric tradition is referred to as an "asado." A typical asado is a bit like a summer barbecue with guests who linger (via Grand Cata). But since most of the grilled meat is made up of massive cuts, individual portions aren't served; instead, guests are all served slices from the same piece once it's brought to the table. While waiting for the main show, side acts of chorizo and other appetizers appear to stave off everyone's hunger until the real star appears: la "carne" (meat). While some of the cuts of meat are expensive ones, the most popular are not; instead, they are heavily marbled portions of the cow that benefit most from long, slow cooking. An asado is an event beloved by people of all social classes — including professional athletes.

4,000 pounds of team building

An "asado" is about the food, but it's also about community — which may explain why Argentina and Uruguay brought their own meat to Qatar. ESPN reports that the two teams each brought 900 kilos of meat (just under 2,000 pounds each), for a total of almost 4,000 pounds of asado meat.

Traveling to the World Cup means bringing players to a distant nation for several weeks. Playing soccer takes a lot of energy, and when players from different teams come together to play for their country, they need some team-building. Good team building requires good food and good times. Translation? Much carne (a lot of meat). 

As Argentina's head coach Lionel Scaloni told ESPN, "My favourite food is the asado, but it's more than that; it creates an atmosphere of union and collective chemistry ... It's during that time that we get to talk, to laugh, relax and connect." The President of Uruguay's soccer federation explained that the team was "being accompanied by the best nourishment" and put in a little plug for the federation and Uruguayan food, calling the federation the country's "historic ambassador" which will "take with it another ambassador, which is Uruguayan meat, the best meat in the world" (via The Daily Mail). The publication notes that the Uruguayan team has already conducted one asado during their "pre-tournament camp."

Who knows? If the teams perform well, maybe we'll start seeing asados in more places. But win or lose, there will be a couple of well-fed teams on the field, even if they can't have any beer this year