Azerbaijan (FIH World Ranking: 19) continued their terrific form by powering to a 5-0 win over Dominican Republic (WR: 52), with team captain Khatira Aliyeva and Lyubov Druzhinina both netting doubles to seal their place in the tournament semis. Their opponents in the final four will be Italy (WR: 17), who were convincing 3-0 winners against Trinidad & Tobago (WR: 29) thanks to goals from Macarena Ronsisvalli (2) and Martina Lecchini.
The meeting between Azerbaijan and Italy, the two highest ranked teams in the tournament, on Saturday (21st February) has the potential to be an absolutely fascinating contest, with the winner not just taking a place in the competition final but also sealing a safe passage through to Hockey World League Semi-Finals (Round 3). Both of the tournament finalists in Montevideo are assured of a place in the next phase of the competition, where coveted berths at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are up for grabs.
The second semi-final, which also takes place on Saturday, will be contested between Pan-American rivals Uruguay (WR: 31) and Mexico (WR: 28), two sides that have made a huge impression on the event in Montevideo. Home favourites Uruguay thrilled their army of loyal supporters with a 3-0 win over Kenya (WR: 37), with Florencia Norbis bagging a double in the triumph. Mexico needed a shoot-out to edge past France (WR: 24) after normal time finished with the scores locked together at 1-1. Mexican keeper Jesus Castillo was unquestionably the hero of the shoot-out, keeping a clean sheet as her side emerged 2-0 winners against their higher-ranked opponents.
Friday’s action from Montevideo will feature the 5-8 classification matches, with Kenya taking on France at 1730 (local time – UTC / GMT -2) before Trinidad & Tobago play Dominican Republic at 2000. On Saturday, Italy’s semi-final against Azerbaijan gets underway at 1730, immediately followed at 2000 by Uruguay’s mouthwatering Pan-American derby match against Mexico. To see all tournament fixtures and results.
You can keep track of all of the action from Montevideo on the official tournament microsite.