(7-8) Uruguay – Brazil: 8 - 0
The final day of women’s classification started under a thin and cool drizzle. Uruguay scored its first goal in the 6th minute on a deflection by Virginia Bessio, and increased their lead regularly despite another excellent performance from Lisandra Oliveira Souza in the Brazilian goal.
Half-time score was 4-0 and Uruguay scored 4 more in the second half, with a personal hat-trick for Bessio. The Brazilians tried hard but could not threaten the Uruguayan defense.
(5-6) Canada – Cuba: 3 - 2
In this revenge of pool play (3-1 win for Cuba), Cuba was quick on the scoreboard with a field-goal by Aglais Serrano. They controlled most of the play in the early stage, unsettling the Canadian defense with their fast and physical game, while Canada could mostly react by deep solitary runs by Tiffany Michaluk, but producing little threat.
The play settled down, with both teams playing uninspired hockey and unable to complete their plays. Canada reacted well at the end of the period, starting to play better and forcing a series of penalty-corners. On one of them, Tiffany Michaluk pounced on the rebound to tie the scoring at 1-1.
Cuba took the lead in the 46th minute when Yakelin Drake managed to slightly touch a hard hit in the circle, but Canada tied the game soon after with a goal similar to their first one. So it was back to square one for the two teams with only twenty minutes to go.
It took a stroke well taken by Andrea Rushton to break the deadlock. Canada controlled the end of the game, but had a scare by giving away a penalty-corner with a few seconds left on the clock. Cuba failed to convert it, so Canada finishes 5th of the competition.
(3-4) Netherlands Antilles – Chile: 2 - 1 (ot)
With the sky dark and cloudy, the Bronze Medal game had to be played under the lights, despite the afternoon hour (2:30pm). Chile started at full blast, hoping to unsettle their opponent early, but the experienced Netherlands Antilles defense held tight, well regrouped around Sophie van Noort and backed once again by a dominant Marlieke van de Pas.
The game was played at a high and entertaining tempo, both teams displaying excellent individual skills, and the Chileans using their speed while the Netherlands Antilles were circulating the ball wide from their opponent.
There were however no clear scoring opportunities and half-time was reached on a 0-0 score. The same pattern prevailed in second period, until Daniela Caram opened the scoring with an opportunistic shot from the left of the circle. This forced the Netherlands Antilles to play a more attacking style of hockey and the Chileans were pushed on their heels for a long period, but they seemed content to absorb the pressure and earn some breathing space with long balls upfield that forced the Dutch Antilles to start again their approach from further away.
With Chile running out of steam, the Dutch Antilles came closer and closer to the goal. In a matter of two minutes, they scored a goal that was denied by the umpires, forced a penalty-corner that they could not convert, and finally scored Floortje Joosten. The suspense was not over though, and Chile forced a penalty-corner with 9 seconds on the clock, but they could not covert it, pushing the game in overtime (with “Golden Goal” in effect).
Chances were equally shared in the first period of overtime, but it took less than two minutes for Juliette Plantega to hurl the ball in the goal from a goal mouth scramble, propelling her team in seventh heaven for what is the first ever team sport medal for their country.
(Final) Argentina – USA: 4 - 2
The Pan American Games Final was played in front of a large and vocal crowd, the Argentineans fans winning easily the atmosphere making contest! Argentina was immediately dangerous under the impulsion of Aymar and earned a penalty-corner, but it was well defended by the Americans.
The game went back and forth, and the first real chance was for the USA, when they found Carrie Lingo alone in the attacking zone, but she could not win her one-on-one duel with Paola Vukojicic in the Argentinean goal. The Americans were well organized in defense, regularly upsetting the Argentinean attacking waves, and defending well a series of 4 successive penalty-corners with excellent goal-keeping from Amy Tran.
The USA also fancied their chances and narrowly missed scoring on a swift counter-attack that saw the final diving deflection miss the post by an inch. Both teams seemed to throw caution to the wind at the end of the period, with some temper flaring, and Kate Barber earned a penalty corner in the 33rd minute that was skillfully converted by Tiffany Snow, stunning the Argentinean fans as well as their players, not used to play from behind against a Pan American opponent.
It didn’t take long for the Argentineans to level the score in second period, when Alejandra Gulla received the ball alone in the circle and had time to adjust a reverse-stick shot that left no chance to Amy Tran.
The Americans were well prepared for this Final, and their physical play seemed to hamper the running game of the Argentineans for a while. It took a sumptuous run by Luciana Aymar to find Rosario Luchetti at the top of the circle; she missed her first control, but managed to regain the ball and hammered a ball past Amy Tran. The Argentinean fans were singing again at full throat, and had more to celebrate soon after when Agustina Bouza added a third goal, and Claudia Burkart a forth one.
The USA pulled back a goal on a direct penalty-corner but never recovered from this burst of 3 goals in 6 minutes. “Las Leonas” finished the game still at the top of the Pan American hierarchy, although unsettled for a while by this strong American team. With the win, Argentina qualifies for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
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