The gap growing between some of the world’s top teams and the rest? Not on the evidence of the Pan American Games and African Road to Paris finals at the weekend as more Olympic tickets were booked.
In Santiago, Argentina’s Los Leones edged past Chile 3-1 in front a partisan crowd.
Lucas Martínez, Tomás Domene and Agustín Bugallo scored for Argentina. But it was Bugallo’s goal which provided the biggest talking point with two minutes left.
After the breakaway goal and team celebration, Chile’s Juan Amoroso rushed over and seemed to push one of the Argentinians, with four falling in unison, while the umpire suggested a head butt on one of the players. The officials had been kept busy with six green and two late yellow cards in the final.
Watch Argentina goal and red card from 1:32:31
Chile had made their first Pan American Games final with a 3-2 shoot-out win over Canada. It was the first time since 1971 that the men’s Pan American final had not featured Canada and Argentina.
Meanwhile, Argentina women won their eighth gold medal with a 2-1 win over USA in another tight finale.
The USA pulled their goalie with three minutes to go and even earned two late PCS but could not find a way to tie the game. Chile defeated Canada 2-0 to take the bronze and both teams will contest the Olympic qualifiers.
Meanwhile in the African confederation championships, it was a tale of two finals.
South Africa women were easy winners over Nigeria 9-0, while the men edged past Egypt 2-1.
Ryan Julius scored with nine minutes remaining to settle matters but the Egyptians rallied and had a goal disallowed in the final minute on video referral.
Even then South African fans had to survive anxious late moments in the final minute when Egypt had a goal disallowed on video referral.