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Mate's moment at the Copa

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

OK, changing gears - if you are even a casual soccer fan, you know that two major championships are underway right now - the Euros and the Copa America.

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

In the Copa, the U.S. has sadly flamed out, but that is a story for another day.

KELLY: Indeed. Now, if you are following closely, you might have noticed something, something that unifies two of the remaining favorites in that tournament, Uruguay and Argentina.

SUMMERS: I'm thinking. I'm thinking. OK, I give up. Tell me.

KELLY: Yeah, I wouldn't have guessed, either. But they are two nations with a shared love for a particular drink - yerba mate.

SUMMERS: OK, so if I've got this right, yerba mate is not quite a tea. It's an infusion, and it's made out of herbs. And it's traditionally prepared in a gourd and sipped through a metal straw.

KELLY: Yep, you got it. And players at the Copa America have been spotted exiting their team buses with their mates, which kind of makes sense because it's not like, you know, a drive-thru coffee. Part of the whole point of the yerba mate is that it is communal. It's meant to be shared with - I don't know - like, 10 of your best friends after a match.

SUMMERS: Now, if the 2010 World Cup gave the world the vuvuzela...

(SOUNDBITE OF VUVUZELAS DRONING)

SUMMERS: ...That noisemaker that sounds like an elephant with the air horn, maybe the 2024 Copa America will make more fans out of the more soothing yerba mate.

(SOUNDBITE OF KOFFEE AND KANDEE SONG, "LOTS OF FUN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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