P.S CHILE WON 34-31 AGAINST CUBA AND ARE QUALIFIED FOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, TOGETHER WITH ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL; more later in separate article!
When I already predicted that Argentina-Brazil would be in the final, with Chile and Cuba fighting it out for the third slot in the World Championship, at least I thought that the semifinals would be played to their completion. This did happen in the Brazil-Chile game, where Brazil won easily with 33-21 after a 15-5 half-time lead. The Argentina-Cuba match had a very similar development with Argentina leading comfortably 17-8 in the 29th minute. BUT, that is as far as it went. Police then entered the stadium, stopping the game and ordering an evacuation due to a bomb threat!!! Apparently it turned out to be a 'false alarm', but long before that could be firmly established, an emergency decision had to be taken about what to with the continuation of the game.
With the final and bronze medal game scheduled for today Saturday, without any chance for a postponement, and with no hope of finding another handball court very late in the evening, the federation and the teams, in consultation with the IHF supervisor Manfred Prause, had to come to a decision. And it was a drastic one: the game was declared finished! One can assume that neither one of the two teams had any objection. The expected victory for Argentina already seemed confirmed by the 9-goal lead just before half-time. Not even the most optimistic Cuban could expect that result to be turned around. So it might in fact be an advantage for both teams, ahead of today's important games, to have been able to avoid playing the remaining 31 minutes…. The only inconvenience was really that players and referees had to go out into the street in the Chilean winter, with + 2 C, without being able to get hold of warm-up suits or other clothes.
By the way, the consolation games had already been played earlier in the day without any incident. Uruguay defeated the Dominican Republic with 28-24, and Greenland won the 'North American' match-up against Canada with 38-36 after double overtime. The winners play for 5th place today and the losers for 7th place. Let's hope the event finishes uneventfully both on and off the court!