Brazil demonstrated its continental powers in handball by sweeping both handball tournaments at the Pan American Games. The highest ranked nation, excluding hosts Brazil from each tournament qualifies to the Olympics. The Pan America Games are currently being held in Toronto, Canada from July 7th to July 26th 2015. The handball events were held from July 16th to July 25th 2015.
In the women’s tournament Group A went as expected as Brazil dominated their opponents, finishing with a goal differential of 120-52; Mexico finished second and also advanced to the semifinals. Group B however was far from expected. Firstly Chile lost all three of its matches, finishing last in the group then Argentina, Cuba and Uruguay all finished equal on points thus needed goal differential to decide who advances. Unlucky for Cuba it was Argentina and Uruguay whom finished first and second respectively.
The semi-finals were two easy matches as Brazil and Argentina defeated Uruguay and Mexico 40-22 and 27-16 respectively which sets up a final between two fierce rivals. Since Brazil is the host of the 2016 Olympics Argentina automatically qualifies to the Olympics regardless of the final result. In the final it was a tight game as both teams finished 12-12 by the end of the half. Brazil however was able to create a lead in the second half and ultimately won the gold medal with a score of 25-20. Uruguay defeated Mexico 29-21 to win the bronze medal.
The men’s tournament had an eerily similar performance by Brazil in Group A as they also dominated their three opponents and finished with a goal differential of 120-53; Uruguay finished second to advance to the semifinals alongside Brazil. Group B featured a 31-31 tie between Cuba and Chile which ultimately left them tied for points for the second semi-final spot alongside Argentina. Like in the women’s tournament Cuba was again unlucky as Chile had a higher goal differential and thus advanced to the semifinals.
With a South American quartet the status quo remained in the semifinals as Brazil and Argentina defeated Chile and Uruguay 34-24 and 20-12 respectively thus setting up the same final as seen in the women’s tournament. Likewise with the women the Argentinian men’s team automatically qualifies to the Olympics since Brazil has already qualified as hosts. The final was quite close as Argentina took an 11-9 lead by the half, but Brazil kept it close and by the final whistle it was 24-24 and extra time was needed. Brazil was able to get the final two shots in extra time to win the gold medal by a score of 29-27. Chile won the bronze medal by defeating Uruguay 23-17.
All is not over for Chile’s men and Uruguay’s women teams as both nations have qualified to the final qualification tournament to be held in 2016. Mexico’s women team could also participate in the final qualification tournament, but it will require a Pan American nation to finish as one of the top two continents at the Women’s World Championships to be held later this year.
Men’s Tournament Rankings
- Puerto Rico
- Dominican Republic
Women’s Tournament Rankings
- Puerto Rico
Pan Am Handball. Juegos Panamericanos – Toronto 2015 – Panamerican Games. Access on July 25 2015.