An army travels on its stomach. So, apparently, do soccer teams since the Mexican national team brought two tons of food to Russia.
“We brought a lot of food and we also brought a chef to make every dish as the player likes it,” nutritionist Beatriz Boullosa told the Associated Press. “Players ask for their quesadillas and their tacos and that really helps, psychologically, because you bring them closer to home.
“We also brought cans of beans and corn. We are super loaded.”
Boullosa has worked for Mexican national teams since 2010 and was part of the staff that won a U-17 world title in 2011 and an Olympic gold medal in 2012. Manager Miguel Herrera did not take her to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.
When Juan Carlos Osorio replaced Herrera in the fall of 2015, he brought back Boullosa and the team has been eating well ever since.
“Every player has specific needs, not just based on his position but also based on his physique and his performance in training and in games,” Boullosa told the AP. “It’s not the same for someone who played 90 minutes, to someone who stayed on the bench. We take every variable into account to make sure every player gets what they need.”
The nutritionist is also responsible for monitoring the supplements players take to guard against doping violations. She says everything in the regimen was cleared by a laboratory in Germany before the World Cup.
As another precaution, the team did not ingest any red meat from Mexico. Clenbuterol, a banned substance, is widely used by ranchers as a growth-enhancer and that led the Mexican federation to blame contaminated beef for five positive drug tests in 2011.
Mexico plays South Korea on Saturday after defeating defending champion Germany in its Group F opener.
U.S. official backed by FIFA
FIFA has cleared U.S. referee Mark Geiger of charges that he asked for a player’s jersey during Portugal’s 1-0 victory over Morocco on Wednesday.
Morocco was angry that Geiger did not call a foul on Portugal’s Pepe’s on the corner kick that led to the game’s only goal. After the game, Morocco’s Noureddine Amrabat reportedly told Dutch TV that Geiger asked for one of the Portuguese player’s shirts.
“What are we talking about? At the World Cup? It’s not a circus here,” Amrabat said.
FIFA said it was confident the story was not true.
“FIFA unequivocally condemns the allegations supposedly made by a member of the Moroccan team,” it said in a statement. “FIFA referees are under clear instructions with regards to their behavior and relationship with the teams at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and it can be confirmed that Geiger has acted in an exemplary and professional manner as an appointed match official.”
Geiger, an MLS referee, became the first American official to work a knockout-round game at the World Cup four years ago in Brazil. He and David Socha, who called one game in both 1982 and 1986, are the only U.S. officials to participate in multiple World Cups.
Coaching can be a pain
You think it’s tough on players at a World Cup? It’s the coaches that are dropping like flies in Russia.
Brazil’s Tite became the second coach to get hurt during the group stage when he pulled a muscle celebrating Brazil’s late goal against Costa Rica.
After Philippe Coutinho scored in the first minute of injury time, Tite ran onto the field from the dugout but tumbled. Replays of Tite’s fall were widely shared on social media.
“I kind of pulled a muscle, tore some fibers,” Tite said with a smile after Brazil’s 2-0 win. “I was going to celebrate with them but I had to limp back.”
Substitute goalkeeper Ederson Moraes might have been to blame for the accident because he unintentionally gave the coach a little shove in the back as he ran behind him.
England coach Gareth Southgate needed to go to the hospital two days earlier after dislocating his right shoulder while on a run.