The men’s quarter-final fixtures in goalball at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games have been decided following the last day of group play on Tuesday (27 August) in Peru.
Of the eight teams competing in the Peruvian capital, seven are aiming for gold which will also deliver a ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. World champions and defending title-holders Brazil are the only team in the competition to have qualified.
The US men head into their quarter-final against Guatemala on Wednesday (28 August) unbeaten following their third win of the tournament.
They took on hosts Peru on Tuesday, winning with a ten goal margin of 13-3 to end the match early. Their goals were shared across four players. Calahan Young and Matthew Simpson led the scoring, managing to find the back of the net five times each.
Darryl Walker also made his return to the US squad, proving himself to be a useful asset with two of his own goals.
“It felt really great to finally be able to get onto the court, to be with my teammates out there and playing against this wonderful country of Peru,” Walker reflected. “To be able to play against the home team was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed myself being out there. Sure we made some little minor mistakes here and there but we rallied together as a team and fought back with a strong victory.”
The USA will face Guatemala in the quarter-finals, a developing team that have struggled in Peru having lost 14-4 to Brazil in their final group game on Tuesday.
Brazil, going for their latest Parapan American title, will take on Peru.
An intriguing tie will take place between Canada and Argentina on Wednesday.
Canada are the more established team with 10 Paralympic Games under their belts, whilst Argentina are going for the debut.
Argentina finished second in their group with two wins, including a tense final 14-9 victory over Mexico.
Mexico were the first to score courtesy of Alexis Gonzalez but shortly after Argentina drew level when Fernando Rodriguez hit the back of the Mexican net. Argentina then seemed to have the edge, scoring the majority of goals, but two more each from Gonzalez and David Trejo bought the score to 6-5 at half-time.
Gonzalez placed his team on an even-footing once again at the start of the second half but Argentina’s Hernan Almada was waiting to strike. And strike he did – a further five goals came for Almada as well as Matias Briez and Fernando Rodrigues who helped bring their total to 14.
Mexico struggled to reply with four second-half goals compared to Argentina’s eight.
Canada meanwhile played Venezuela in the closest match of the day.
With a three goal lead at half time the Canadians were taken by surprise by Venezuela’s Wilmer Jesus Zambrano. Zambrano bought his team to within one goal of his opponents in the first two minutes of the second half.
Bruno Hache and Aron Ghebreyohanes tried to halt Zambrano’s run but he was relentless in his attack. He managed to score three goals in one minute to hand his team the lead at 9-8, and added another two minutes later. Carlos Enrique Linarez joined the party before Zambrano extended the lead to four goals.
Canada then enjoyed a surge when Blair Nesbitt netted three goals to bring his team right back into the game. With the score now at 12-11 to Venezuela, Ferraro Ferrer and Jhonathan Revas added a further two goals.
Nesbitt and Hache bagged another two for Canada without reply but there was not enough time left on the clock and the match ended 14-13 to Venezuela.
Venezuela will now play Mexico for a semi-final place.
In the women’s, where group play will continue until Thursday, four of the six teams are competing for a place in Tokyo.
The USA and Brazil can enjoy a slightly more relaxed time in Peru having both already secured their places. They played each other on Tuesday with the Rio 2016 bronze medallists beating their south American rivals 4-2 to maintain their unbeaten run.
Canada are second in the round-robin standings thanks to their latest win - a 10-0 win victory over Costa Rica. Mexico also beat Peru 10-3 on Tuesday.
All medal matches will be contested on Saturday (31 August). Full results from Lima can be found at the official website, as well as live coverage of the sports.