(Photo: © Yan Huckendubler)

Cuba - Netherlands Antilles: 0 - 0

Cuba needed a win to overtake the Netherlands Antilles and grab the last berth for the semi-finals. The game was an opposition of style, Cuba using long ball and trying to take advantage of their speed while the Dutch Antilles patiently build up their plays with passes.

But both teams seemed to have misplaced their basic skills though, and a lot of passes went astray or were not trapped properly. With time ticking down, the Cubans became more and more anxious to create scoring opportunities, but the Dutch Antilles kept an efficient defensive structure to prevent clean scoring chances. The Cubans had a couple penalty-corners late in the game but failed to generate dangerous shots from them.

The Netherlands Antilles qualify for the semi-final of the Pan American Games after two uninspiring games, benefiting from their last second win against Canada two days ago.

USA - Canada: 6 - 0

The result of this game was meaningless for both teams: after the draw in the previous game, the USA would finish on top and Canada at the bottom of pool B.

Canada nevertheless tried to create some offensive, and was dangerous mostly with the fast runs of Tiffany Michaluk, but there was little they could do to unsettle the much more experienced US team. The American players scored three goals in the first period with some ease and pushed up the score to 6-0, with two field goals from their captain Kate Barber.

Uruguay - Brazil: 8 - 0

This match was played again in front of an enthusiastic crowd that might not know the finer points of the game of hockey but faithfully cheered the local team, even when the goals accumulated against them. They could see that the Brazilian girls, despite their lack of international experience, were fighting hard in defense and desperately trying to build a decent attack when they had a chance.

Uruguay steadily increased their lead, reaching half time with 5 goals (3 penalty corners) then adding 3 more penalty-corners in second period, with a personal hat-trick for Virginia Casaro.

It should be noted that the Pan Am Games are in mourning for three days due to the plane accident in Sao Paulo, and that a minute of silence is observed in all disciplines in which Brazilian athletes take part.

Argentina - Chile: 2 - 1

The last match of pool play opposed two teams already qualified. It could have been a formality for Argentina, but the Chileans were not decided to simply bow to “Las Leonas”.

The first half was fairly evenly matched and quite pleasant to watch, although not played at a high tempo. Chile obtained a penalty-corner in the 24th minute and didn’t miss the opportunity to open the scoring. Argentina tried to react but the Chileans contained them well and half-time was reached on the score of 0-1, an unusual situation for the Argentineans against a Pan American opponent.

Argentina forced a few penalty-corners early in the second period, but could not beat a tenacious Chilean defense. With time passing, the Argentineans showed more urgency in their purpose, but mostly managed to pepper around and above the goal, while Constanza Abud in the Chilean goal took care of the shots on target.

It finally took a decisive run by Luciana Aymar to penetrate deep in the circle and tie the game on a rebound from the goalkeeper. Nevertheless, the Chilean girls still fancied their chances and kept playing to score but they could not penetrate any more the Argentinean defensive structure. It was Aymar again who broke the deadlock with a world class run and shot that brought back some jump in the singing of the relieved fans.

The women’s semi-finals will therefore pit Argentina against the Netherlands Antilles, and USA against Chile.