PAHF: Men’s Semifinal set-up will repeat Day 5 as Argentina play USA, Canada host Chile

July 9, 2024 – Surrey, British Columbia (Canada)

The stage is set for semifinal action and it will be a repeat of Day 5 action as Brazil edged Mexico 1-0, Argentina roared past the USA 12-0, and Canada put on a hometown show winning 3-0 over Chile. The same teams will face off again tomorrow with more on the line. 

Pool Play: Brazil (1) – Mexico (0)

Pride was on the line for the Brazil versus Mexico game that wrapped up both teams’ pool play efforts. For Mexico, there were still on the hunt for their first win, while Brazil, who edged USA earlier in the week, were hoping to avoid the bottom of the pile. All that stood between the teams was a penalty corner finish from Brazil’s Luigi Lunardi. 

The game was a spirited and physical match up from start to end five yellow cards being dealt on the pitch. Brazil maintained most of the possession and attack but both team’s struggled with unforced errors. For Mexico, they spent most of the game short-handed with 25-minutes of yellow-card time being served. Despite that Ariel Vasquez and Angel Gonzalez did test Brazilian keeper Leonardo Santos on a few occasions. 

With the 1-0 win, Brazil secure six points, still shy of making the Top 4 in pool-play standings, leaving Mexico and Brazil likely to faceoff for the fifth place tournament match up and out of distance for Junior World Cup qualification. 

Pool Play: Argentina (12) – USA (0)

It was another multi-goal game for Marco Aguirre who scored four goals to bring tournament tally to 11 as Argentina powered 12-0 over the USA to warp up pool play in top spot. The usual pace setting Argentina didn’t start out that way as it took the Leoncitos 11 minutes to find the back of the USA net. Penalty corners in the opening minutes and a wide open net for Aguirre that hit the cross bar had Argentina momentarily rattled. It quickly-taken free hit led to Juan Fernandez’s game-opener that was expertly finished on the back hand. Less than 60 seconds later, Matias Rey’s interception on a pass intended for USA defender Leo Baumgardner sparked a series of give-and-go plays that was tapped in beautifully by Fernandez to double the lead. Aguirre’s back-hand blast make it 3-0 heading into the first break.

USA were slow to sort out their defensive movement and struggled to break the Argentine press. Cirilo Cippitelli and Aguirre added goals in the second. USA’s few but notable chances came late in the second quarter when Noah Mendoza had a solo run into the Argentine circle but keeper Joaquin Ruiz calmly made the save and follow up attempt. Just before half time Rory Bleeker used his size and speed to split the Argentine midfield and draw a penalty corner. The resulting flick from the top lacked pace and the Leoncitos went unphased. 

Argentina continued to pour on the pressure in the second half and USA keeper Thomas Curtis was kept busy but did well to minimize the damage. Fernadez and Aguirre each tallied their third of the game in the third quarter, while Thiago Zalazar’s drag flick paced Argentina to an 8-0 lead early in the fourth. Aguirre’s blast from a tight angle beat Curtis for the striker’s fourth of the game. Santiago Fernandez caught the USA sleeping as he received a quick free hit into the circle and blasted a back-hand for goal number 10. Two penalty strokes within the final minute gave captain Tomas Ruiz and Nicolas Rodriguez the opportunity to seal the game at 12-0. 

Pool Play: Chile (0) – Canada (3)

It was a dream finish for the home team Canadians who came out scoring first in the opening and third quarter to seal a 3-0 win over Chile. While the game had no impact on the final standings, both teams were intent on setting the pace for what would be the semifinal match a day later between the same teams. 

Robin Thind opened the scoring in the third minute of play drawing and finishing on a penalty stroke. Chile seemed on the back foot for most of the game with the usual sights of Sebastián Wolansky, Alexei De Witt, Felipe Richard and Lucas Luders almost invisible. With a lone goal in the opening half, Canada continued to show their lethality on the counter-attack. Navdip Chandi and Joshua Miranda were combining well with Robin Thind to keep the Chilean defence spinning, while Teodoro Sinning was called in to action on several attempts. 

The second half was fast paced and full of action has Thind opened the scoring again in the 31st minute scoring from an impossible baseline angle to lift Canada 2-0. The momentum continued to reside with Canada as Chile struggled to connect and were forced the corners, where Axel Stein and Bruno Acevedo were forced to smash it across the circle with only hope attached to it. Chile had a penalty corner chance but Wolansky’s shot was blocked and a Canadian counter-attack required Sinning to come sliding out on Chandi. Canada added a fan favourite goal in the 39th minute on a counter-attack that saw Thind draw three players before dishing the ball to Kirin Robinson. Robinson calmly flipped the ball past Sinning to seal the game at 3-0.

With the win Canada secures second spot in pool play and will face Chile (20:15), while Argentina will play USA (13:30). Brazil and Mexico will wrap up their tournament with the fifth-place match up at 09:00. Those games will go down on July 10 at Tamanawis Park in Surrey, Canada. 


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