The continental trophy ended up in the same hands: Argentina and the United States.

March 31, 2024

The continental trophy ended up in the same hands: Argentina and the United States.

Defending a title is seeking the confirmation of reign. In 2021, the women of the United States managed to lift the Pan American Cup for the second consecutive time, and a few days ago they achieved what no one had done on the track until now: becoming three-time champions. Not once, not twice, but three times in a row. Since 2017, this North American team has been stepping onto the top step of the podium uninterruptedly. In men's, the story doesn't go that far, but almost. Argentina is the first male team to achieve consecutive gold, in 2021 and 2024. And it has a special ingredient: days before the tournament, their participation was in jeopardy. These two teams not only won gold again but also secured their place in the 2025 Indoor World Championship.

The competition took place in Calgary, Canada. It started on March 18 and ended on the 22nd. The most exciting events happened on the last day because two spots for the World Cup in Croatia next year were at stake for men, and only one for women. All of that was determined in a breathtaking manner.

The men's semifinals were two completely different matchups. On one side, Argentina confirmed the first objective after defeating Guyana 10-0. On the other, Trinidad and Tobago defeated the United States 5-4 in what was one of the most thrilling matches of the day, as this secured their first-time qualification for the World Cup. The joy of Raphael Govia's team was immeasurable.

The final had a sense of tranquility: both teams were already on the list of countries traveling to the Croatian city of Poreč next February. However, gold is gold, the ultimate glory. The fight was in the hands of the Argentinians, who repeated the title after winning the last round 5-2.

The captain of the Men's Lions, Juan Eleicegui, explained what he felt with the previous uncertainty of not knowing if they would travel due to lack of financial resources and how much this medal means now: "It means a lot to us. It reflects that we prepared for this Pan American without depending on anyone. Hopefully, we will achieve the place we deserve because we are a very professional and ambitious team that has no limits. Argentina is ready to compete with any team. With a lot of humility but dreaming big."

The player who became the Most Valuable Player of the competition also shared some secrets of success: "What makes this team very special is the human quality and their values. In addition to how self-demanding each one is to seek their best version. It is a luxury to share time with these teammates; they fill me with pride."

In women's, the fight was much stronger: four teams, one spot. Only the champions would achieve the precious ticket to the World Cup. The United States did it again. They repeated for the third consecutive time what they did in 2017 and 2021. The final was with a team that improved progressively. In the first matchup, Argentina lost to the Americans 7-1, and in the battle for the top spot, they reached a thrilling tie: 5-5. The series ended in penalties, and the effectiveness of the United States was evident. It was 3-2 for Jun Kentwell's girls.

Reese D'Ariano, the star, top scorer with 16 goals, and chosen as the Best Player of the tournament, shared what it means to belong to this team: "Being part of a winning team is amazing, but the fact that the United States has won three times is an incredible achievement. I think it speaks of the consistency of the program led by our coach and the dedication and commitment of Jun and her staff."

About the final shootout, she said: "Having to decide the game in a shootout is definitely stressful! But we had full confidence in Lizzie, our goalkeeper, and of course, in Ryleigh, Hope, and Erin (shooters). We are very excited to have the opportunity to play in the 2025 Indoor World Cup," the star concluded.

Now it's time for these teams to think about one thing: the world cup.

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