Argentina and Brazil will face off in the highly expected men's handball final © Getty Images

Men's handball has been one of the standout events at the 2023 Panam Games in Santiago, Chile. The timing coincides with a break in club competitions in Europe, allowing for international team matches.

Argentina's squad boasts stars like goalkeeper Leo Maciel (Sporting, Portugal), center Diego Simonet (Montpellier, France), and his brother Pablo (Cuenca, Spain), as well as wingers Nico Bonnano (Anaitasuna, Spain) and Fede Pizarro (Cuenca), and pivot Gastón Mouriño (Constanța, Romania). 

Guillermo Milano's team faced a tough challenge in Friday's semifinals against host nation Chile, featuring the Salinas brothers (Rodrigo and Esteban) and the Feuchtmann brothers (Erwin and Emil). 


However, Argentina started strong and by the 20th minute, they were leading 14-9, with five goals from Santiago Baronetto, the right winger from Argentina's Dorrego Handball. The first half ended 17-13, and Chile never got closer than six goals after Argentina led 19-13 in the 32nd minute. 

With seven goals from the 'brain' Diego Simonet (Montpellier, France) and eight from the top scorer Fede Pizarro (REBI Cuenca, Spain), Argentina emerged victorious with a final score of 33-26. Erwin Feuchtmann (Toulouse, France) shone for Chile with nine goals. 

The first semifinal was much more one-sided, with Brazil dominating against the United States (40-27). The outcome was all but decided by halftime with Brazil leading 23-13, thanks to an outstanding performance by Rudolph Hackbarth, the right winger from Spanish team REBI Cuenca, who scored seven flawless goals. 


The second half was equally smooth, allowing the Brazilian coach to give his key players some rest. Jean-Pierre Dupoix, the experienced left winger from French team Tremblay, scored five goals in the second half, which ended with the aforementioned 40-27 scoreline. 

Argentina defeated Brazil in the final of the last Pan American Championship in 2018 (29-24), so there's unfinished business between the two South American rivals. 

In other matches, Uruguay defeated the Dominican Republic 33-29 and will compete for fifth place on Saturday at 12:30 PM against Cuba, who beat Mexico 22-25. The final will be at 8:00 PM, and the bronze medal match at 5:00 PM (local Chilean time).