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World Cup Winning Meals

With the World Cup on everyone’s mind, we started to think who is going to win the world cup? We all have our own picks for the winner of the world cup, the choices are as individual as the people who choose them. We, however, started to wonder, what is the food that makes a winner. Since we could not choose who we though would win the world cup, we decided to take a look at the national dishes of all the countries that qualified; and discuss the effect it has had on their best player at FIFA 2018!

GROUP A

Russia

FIFA 2018

Pelmeni

The host of this years’ world cup, they will have a definite advantage being that the cup is being held in their own back yard. The team will definitely be up for this game stuffed on Pelmeni; which are dumplings with a variety of fillings, from meat, vegetables, fish, etc. Along with a good helping on vodka, I think the Russians will bring the party to other teams in Group A. Fyodor Smolov and Alan Dzagoev will definitely be the guys to watch out for; if they do well and are well fed, they will impress on home soil.

Saudi Arabia

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Kabsa

Mohammad Al-Sahlawi has averaged nearly a goal a game since making his debut in 2015, he is someone who will have to do well for Saudi Arabia to have any chance to win the World Cup. That being said, I know they will be up for the challenge when fed up on some Kabsa. The easiest way to describe it is to say it is a Saudi Arabian biryani.

Egypt

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Ful Medames

After the incredibly heroic season Mo Salah has had, it is hard to believe that Egypt is one of the weaker teams at this World Cup. If he does get his Ful Medames, which are cooked fava beans, served with olive oil, cumin. This along with a mezze platter will have a very happy Mo Salah, ready to wreak havoc on defenses.

Uruguay

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Asado

The ever mercurial Luis Suarez will be hoping his personal chef is travelling with him for this world cup; so that he doesn’t get hungry and bite an opponent, again! Hoping to get a variety of Asado, which is traditional barbecue over coal of various different meats; should be enough meat to keep his mouth full and away from biting his opponents again. Unless of course, he get s a craving to eat Egyptian during the group stages.

GROUP B

Portugal

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Bolinhos de bacalhau

The country will be led by their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo once again. After winning the European Championships, the team will be on a high; the hopes of a nation rest on the broad exercised shoulders of Ronaldo. That being said his diet and most of country’s consists of seafood; boasting the highest per capita fish consumption in Europe. Salted cod,  is used to make Bolinhos de bacalhau; which are essentially croquettes of cod and potatoes.

Spain

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Paella

People may feel that the star man for Spain this time around may be in the forward, midfield or defensive lines; but I think the star man will be David De Gea. He is a one man wall in front of goal, who essentially just refuses to concede any goals. I’m sure the entire Spanish contingent will hope that he is well fed on paella for the world cup. Paella is a free style combination of meat, seafood, vegetables cooked in a bomba; which is flat rice pan over a wood fire.

Morocco

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Tagine

The Moroccan team is coming more for a party than anything else. With very few people giving them a chance to get out of the group stages; their defense needs to be up to task led by Mehdi Benatia. The extremely talented defender will have to lead his teams defense to inspire them to keep clean sheets. The team will need to show a lot of heart, luckily for them their national dish consisting of cous cous, meat and vegetables; called a Tagine is a very hearty meal in itself.

Iran

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Chelow Kebab

A celebration for Iranian football, this is the first time ever the small country has reached the world cup finals twice in a row. They have been exceptional during qualifying thanks in large part to the heroics of Sardar Azmoun who has found his scoring touch of late. Apart from that, any team well fed on Chelow Kebab has to be ready to do inspiring things. A chelow kebab is white rice served with kebab and salad.

GROUP C

France

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Croque Monsieur

The French team will boast of endless attacking talent in the shape and form of Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann. Griezmann will be  a man on a mission, looking to rectify the loss in the final of the European championships. The biggest issue the team may face is what they should eat. The country boasts of the widest culinary selection of any nation in the world. For the sake of the article, we hope the team like croque monsieur, sandwich that boasts fried ham with cheese in between a baguette. C’est magnifique!

Australia

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Kangaroo Steak

The aussie team will represent themselves in the world cup, led once again by their own evergreen player Tim Cahill. The man seems like the modern day Benjamin Button, getting younger and better every year. This will be his last world cup, so he will be hoping to help his country get out of the group and into the knockout rounds. Hopefully his private chef can muster up some kangaroo steaks and some shrimps; for the barbie, and a few bottles of some nice aussie shiraz to pair with it.

Peru

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Ceviche

The small south American country will be making their long awaited return to the world cup after a thirty six year hiatus. The current team, led by Jefferson Farfan will be hoping to perform like a strong team and making waves in the competition. A large diet of Ceviche will do the trick, ceviche is a the national dish of Peru, consisting of raw fish and onions cooked in the natural acids of lemon juice, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Denmark

fifa 2018

Røget ål

Christian Eriksen is possibly one of the most underrated players in the world at the moment. He is the mastermind for the current resurgent Tottenham Hotspur team in the premier league. Then man boasts a winning pedigree, hopefully he can help lead his Danish team to victory, like they did in the summer of 1992 at the European championships. The team will hope that they can get their stomach full of Røget ål, a dish consisting of smoked eel and scrambled eggs, with bread.

GROUP D

Argentina

fifa 2018

The name Leo Messi is synonymous with Barcelona and Argentina. When you hear his name you also think of the most naturally talented player ever to play the beautiful game. For him we break the mould and decide that for him he needs something high in sugar to energise him to be able to outrun defenders and conduct his trickery master class on the pitch. So for Argentina we think their apt dish would be anything that contains Dulce de Leche, which literally translates to Sweets of Milk; It’s a caramel made from slowly reducing condensed milk.

Iceland

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Hakari

This small country with a population of three hundred and fifty thousand only, now boasts of having a world class football team. Just to put this in perspective, the place has less of a population than Delhi, but they have found players skilled enough to make it to the world cup. They will need to take inspiration from Icelands’ player of the year for the last six years Gylfi Sigurdsson. Hopefully they can pack in a good amount of Hakari, which is putrescent shark meat, which has been preserved. Its part of the traditional Icelandic meal.

Croatia

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Crni rizot

The Croatians have footballing pedigree in them, they have always been known to do well for themselves, but have never had the depth in roster or a world beater of a player leading the charge. Hopefully this world cup under the guidance of Luka Modric and his ability to dominate a midfield single handedly, they will be able to make a real run for the world cup. Hopefully, they will be a lot Crni Rizot, a squid ink risotto with a mélange of seafood. Word to the wise, if you see any player with blackened teeth during a match, you know what he had for lunch.

Nigeria

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Jollof Rice

The super eagles have been an ever popular national team, with the hopes of a continent resting on them a lot of the time; since they have a history of doing well in international competitions. The one man to watch for the Nigerians is Victor Moses, who has the ability to change a game in an instant, though he tends not to shine like that at club level, on the national scene he has been known to play a starring role. If he is full of Jollof rice, we reckon he will definitely make magic happen. A one pot dish consisting of rice cooked in tomato broth, served with some meat and veggies. It’s definitely something worth trying.

GROUP E

Brazil

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Feijoada

The only team to have qualified for every single world cup competition since the creation of the tournament. A lot of eyes will be on what the former champions do and how they fare in this world cup. Boasting of a team that has incredible attacking prowess and spear headed by the most expensive player in the world, Neymar. The Brazilians will surely want to put the disappointment of being thrashed 7-1 to Germany in front of their own home crowd behind them and try to regain their crown again. A good Feijoada may be the key to motivate the players into giving a championship worthy performance this time around. Feijoada is a stew consisting of pork and beans, a simple homely meal that could inspire a team to win for an entire nation.

Costa Rica

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Gallo Pinto

The goliath slayers from last times world cup will be looking to repeat their heroics. One the only unbeaten teams last world cup, before penalties; the team has gotten better and stronger since then. Bryan Ruiz will have to marshal his team to perfection in order from them to get out of one of the stronger groups in the world cup. They must all hope to wake up everyday and get a nice Gallo Pinto served to them; a dish made up of rice, black beans and a fried egg.

Switzerland

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Chocolate Fondue

A country more famous for their ability to hide illegal money, Roger Federer and chocolate; they have a lot of pride in their football team. Inspired by the diminutive Xherdan Shaquiri, the swiss will hope that they can fight above their weight and get out of the group. Maybe a good team building session with a nice chocolate fondue will help the swiss get on a sugar high and make sure they are electric on the pitch.

Serbia

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pljeskavica

The serbians will be taking a very young team to the world cup, a young team though that has the scalp of Germany whom they beat in the recent past. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will have to be in a very impressive form to help Serbia get out of the group stages. If the teams gets fed their pljeskavica which are spiced meat patties as big as your plate; I think they will be pumped to play hard and show the world that they have arrived on the world stage.

GROUP F

Germany

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Bratwurst Beer

The current world champions, will be looking to once again be crowned world cup champions. Toni Kroos must be looking to once again inspire his german compatriots towards greatness; with Joachim Low calling the shots from the sidelines, there is no doubt that they can repeat the feat. This doesn’t mean it will happen, but if they get offered enough bratwurst and beer, that would inspire even a layman to try and win the world cup for Germany.

Mexico

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Tacos

The strongest representative for the Northern hemisphere of America, Mexico have historically had some of the most popular players in the world. World beaters in their own right, the team can choose whether Jekyll or Hyde decide to come for the world cup party. One thing is for sure, the fiesta will be coming in from Mexico. Sombreros, siestas and the most famous dish Mexico offers will be coming to support the players. Expect tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas and chimichangas to lighten up the Mexican camp. We hope Javier Hernandez is ready to lead the charge for Mexico this time around, because the longer they stay in, the better the party gets.

Sweden

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swedish meatballs

Gone are the days of free flowing attacking football for the swedes, with some huge names now retired from the international set up, the Swedish team will have  to rely on Andreas Granqvist and his ability to be a rock in the defence. Unmovable or beatable by the common man, Sweden will hope that he’s being served some magical Swedish meatballs or pickled herring; so that he is on top form for the matches to come.

South Korea

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Kimchi

The south Koreans have a lot of hype to live up to; they haven’t been able to repeat the heroics of 2002 when they knocked Italy out of the world cup; but things may be different this time around. Led by the front by Heung-Min Son; the Tottenham forward has had a couple of very good seasons in the lead up to this World Cup. If there is some extra hot Kimchi, im sure the team will definitely be packing extra firepower. Kimchi is made from napa cabbage, radish and is fermented, and is an ideal accompaniment for your meals.

GROUP G

Belgium

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moules frites

The golden generation for Belgium, boasting incredible attacking power in the forward lines, midfield and even in defence. This team has always underperformed, is this finally the year that Eden Hazard leads his team to international glory? Much has been made of this team and their individual brilliance, but that has not always translated into a great team dynamic. They should all sit down and enjoy a portion of moules frites, which is considered the national dish of Belgium. It’s a mix of mussels and French fries, sounds like something worth trying.

England

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Fish and Chips

Possibly the team with the most hype and pressure on them to show up and make an impression this world cup. The English have never been able to match the expectations that the media and fans have heaped on them. Will this be their time? Harry Kane is the man who will have to carry a lot of that burden, captain and top English goal scorer in the last few seasons.; the world is watching the creators of the game, wondering if they will put on a show or gloriously crash and burn. The one thing you can be sure of, is that fish and chips will be there; but not with ketchup, but with vinegar, salt and pepper. Brilliant street food, hopefully we will get brilliant football as well.

Panama

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Empanadas

Bienvenidos Panama! Welcome Panama! First time in the world cup, the Panamanians are coming to party hard, no expectations are being put on them; except to enjoy and bring the party! We expect there to be empanadas for everyone and that Blas Perez will lead the charge and give them out to everyone. The guys who will come with a big heart and a lot of happiness, will definitely bring great food with them. Empanadas are pastry that is filled and fried and served! A complete party in your mouth.

Tunisia

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shakshouka

The small African nation will be back at the world cup, with shakshouka for all we hope. Our favourite morning eggs dish of all time; shakshouka is eggs poached in a chunky tomato sauce; but when a Tunisian makes it, it’s a treat for your taste buds. We have heard that Aymen Mathlouthi, when not saving goals for Tunisia, makes a fantastic version of it.

GROUP H

Poland

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Kielbasa Bagel

Robert Lewandowski is probably the worlds’ top striker at the moment, and if Poland want to qualify top of their group, they will have to rely heavily on his broad shoulders. With a hearty breakfast of kielbasa sausages and bagels, we think that the Polish team will do well in this group and should finish top.

Senegal

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Thieboudienne

Senegal will hope to be giant killers again like they were in 2002, when they beat France in the opening match of the tournament. The influential Sadio Mane will have to be on top form to push Senegal past the group stages. We know that if there is a good supply of thieboudienne; the rice of fish; fish cooked in tomato sauce with rice. The team will do well, when full bellied, ready to go out there and show that beating France 16 years ago wasn’t a fluke.

Colombia

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James Rodriguez

The Colombians have a history of footballing heroics in their blood. Even in the last world cup, they were very good, pushing Brazil to the limits. James Rodriguez, scored the best goal of the tournament, even winning the Puskas award for it and earning a transfer to Real Madrid. He will be hoping to repeat his form and help them force their way into the further rounds. If he gets his patacones, I’m sure he will definitely do it; patacones are fried plantains that accompany foods as their starch and carbohydrate.

Japan

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Sushi

One of the most diverse countries, with an equally diverse food palate; the Japanese football team has been playing together for a long time, and hence have a great understanding of the game and should give a positive and good showing of themselves. Shinji Okazaki, Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda will all have to play their best football for Japan to get past their tough group. We do hope sushi is available to the team, it may bring out their inner Captain Tsubasa; who’s destiny was to win the world cup. Hopefully the Japanese can match the anime.

There you have it, that is the teams and their foods. Now, if you are like me, you’re left wondering whether to support the football or the food.

 

CONTRIBUTED BY NIKHIL KUTTY

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