This year’s IFAF European Championships ended with Team France celebrating – for the first time in history. In the first half Team Austria were able to shut down the sharpest peak of the French’s offense. They had 7-point lead at the break. In the second period team France found a new dimension for their offensive play. Silver medals for Team Austria for the second time in a row. Final score 14–28 (14–7).
The first half was a trench warfare. The final started with the show of the defenses. Both teams put pressure on the offense and the game was mainly played in middle of the field.
The French offensive orchestra seemed to be out of tune – forced by Austrian defense. But, when needed most, conductor Paul Durand, French QB, found receivers with his passes. Andrew James scored the first TD of the game from Durand’s pass.
Team Austria responded in the second quarter. The offensive line made room for Sandro Platzgummer, who quickly sprinted from the midfield (41 yards) over the goal line.
The game continued as tight as it had begun until Simon Riedl forced Team France to fumble the ball. The Austrians started their drive from the 36-yard line of Team France. After a few attempts and a timeout Berhard Seikovits received Alexander Thury’s pass and scored a touchdown. Thomas Pichlmann had no problems to kick the additional points in the first half and continued his clean record in this tournament. Half time score 14–7 for Team Austria.
– We paid hard price from our fumble, so that is something to improve in the second half, capsulized the first half head coach Patrick Esume of Team France.
The final was worth all expectations – a show of tactical magic
Team France had to start its first drive of the second half from their own 19-yard line but managed to score a touchdown. Jason Aguemon rushed 49 yards.
Now Team France had its momentum. Durand continued receiving tips for each play from the head coach Patrick Esume from the side line, as in every game of the tournament. Durand’s passes were accurate. Cooperation with receivers worked well. The French took the lead after Jerobe Valbon’s touchdown, passed by Durand.
Team Austria needed to find a new way to score points. The French struggled with penalties. Therefore, it was all open before the last quarter.
But coach Esume and QB Durand knew how to shatter the defense of Team Austria. All the right moves were made, like chess masters, and Team France gained more lead to the score board.
The last minutes of the game contained two interceptions, one for each team, but no point scoring. So the final score was 14–28 and Team France ran to the field to celebrate. Durand was selected the most valuable player of the game for a third time in a row. Quarter back was also the tournaments’ MVP.
IFAF European Championships, Final Gameday:
04.08.2018 | 19:00 | MUP Stadium, Vantaa:
Team Austria – Team France 14–28 (0–7, 14–0, 0–14, 0–7)
0–7 Andrew James (Paul Durand) + 1p Jefferson Alexandre
7–7 Sandro Platzgummer + 1p Thomas Pichlmann
14–7 Berhard Seikovits (Alexandre Thury) + 1p Thomas Pichlmann
14–14 Stephen Yepmo + 1p Jefferson Alexandre
14–21 Jerome Valbon (Paul Durand) + 1p Jefferson Alexandre
14 – 28 Jefferson Alexandre (Paul Durand) + 1p Jefferson Alexandre
Pictures: Samppa Toivonen