PAHF: Semifinal stage set as Uruguay to face Argentina, Chile to play USA

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

The semifinal stages are set with the Top 4 of Argentina, USA, Chile and Uruguay due to play for three guaranteed Junior World Cup berths. Argentina dropped Chile 2-0, while Uruguay shutout Mexico 11-0. The USA women beat Canada 4-1. Uruguay will return to the Top 4 since their silver medal finish in 2021.  

Pool Play: Argentina (2) – Chile (0)

Argentina capped off their pool-play run with a fifth shutout win after a 2-0 win over Chile. Argentina takes the top seed while United States, Chile, Uruguay and Canada look to secure the final three spots in the semifinal. Penalty corner goals from Argentina’s Pilar Pisthon and Malena Sabez were all that stood between the two South American sides.

Chile put on an admirable defensive performance with the experience of Francisca Irazoqui on full display. Argentina generated multiple circle entries including an early shot from Sol Guignet but Chilean keeper Montserrat Araya was dialled in. Chile did well to defend a wave of penalty corners with Laura Müller running down flick attempts from Pisthon and Araya cleaning up otherwise. The teams were scoreless for the opening 22 minutes until Pisthon’s flow flick beat Araya between the legs. Another 30 minutes would go by before Argentina could beat Araya again, this time a well-executed flick from the right side of the circle by Sabez.

Before half time, Argentina had a penalty stroke awarded for them after a physical challenge at the top of the circle. Pisthon was denied from the spot by the diving stick of Araya. While Chile defended admirably, they struggled to find connection or possession outside of their half. Their best chance came off a penalty corner call in the 55th minute but the ball was miss-trapped and sailed through the battery to spring a six versus two for Argentina in the other end. Luckily the Chilean defence was able to poke the ball back the other direction but Chile numbers could not outdo an experienced Argentine defence. 

Chile played right to the final whistle and could be proud of their work to limit quality opportunities for Argentina. The 2-0 victory puts the Leoncitas out of reach at the top of the women’s pool, while Chile will await scores from the rest of the day to determine their semifinal seeding.

Pool Play: Uruguay (11) – Mexico (0)

Uruguay put themselves in good position for semifinal action with a dominant 11-0 win over Mexico to close out pool play. A tired Mexican side gave up goals in each quarter as Uruguay were shooting just seconds in off each push back. Agustina Díaz opened the scoring in the sixth minute of play on a tight spin that beat keeper Mariel Pereida between the legs. Chaira Curcio’s sweep shot from a penalty corner made it 2-0, while Pilar Lemoine finished off a baseline run to seal the third goal in the span of two minutes. Elisa Civetta finished from the penalty stroke mark to make it 4-0 and the game continued to open up. 

The usual spark of Valeria Espinoza and Itzel Garcia was deflated and fatigued as Uruguay’s pace and composure opened up all kinds of lanes to attack. Goals kept coming as Carolina Curcia’s finish made it 5-0 before half. Four goals in the third quarter made the mountain even higher for Mexico to climb and after the break, Díaz made a run off the push back to bring the score to double digits, at 10-0. Civetta added another for a final score of 11-0 as Uruguay celebrate the return to the Top 4 since their silver medal performance in 2021. 

Pool Play: Canada (1) – USA (4)

The USA dropped Canada in a 4-1 affair to finish out the women’s pool play games. The game was a scoreless through the majority of the opening half thanks to some stalwart goalkeeping from Canada’s Robyn Goh, while Alyssa Klebasko had a lucky save as she turned her back on Mikayla Stelling in what seemed clear to be an opening Canadian goal. The USA had multiple penalty corners but Isabella Bianco, Ava Moore and Jans Croon struggled to find a way past the Canadian defence.

Seconds before the halftime whistle the USA earned a penalty corner that sparked a high rebound for Ryleigh Heck to tap in for the game’s opener.

The USA came out firing in the third quarter as Heck drew players to the right baseline and flipped the ball across for Mia Shoenbeck to smash out of the air for a 2-0 USA lead. Canada seemed to unravel a bit and Lucy Adams smashed in a third goal forcing Canada to turn a new leaf. Nicole Poulakis turned on her offensive willpower and created more attack and effective forward pressure. It paid off as a passing play lead to Stella Malinowski drawing a penalty corner for Canada. The resulting play saw Malinowski feed the ball to Laine Delmotte, whose touch towards goal was stopped on the line by a USA foot. Malinowski buried the penalty stroke to breathe life into the Canadian side. 

Canada had few chances and struggled to get out of their end but the goal was a satisfactory step in the right direction for the team who will knew their fate was already sealed for a fifth-place match up. Mia Myklebust added a fourth strike in the 40th to seal the game at 4-1 and leave the USA in second position after pool play. 

Semifinal stages on July 9 are now set with USA playing Chile (18:00) and Argentina playing Uruguay (15:45). Canada will host Mexico in their final game at 11:15.


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