Who is the favorite to win the 2017 World Games American football tourney?
American football is set to be one of four invitational sports at the 2017 World Games in Wrocław, Poland this coming July.
The tournament will feature teams from four countries — Poland, Germany, France and the United States.
While the United States has yet to confirm who will play on its team, they still have to be considered early favorites given their international track record and the fact the sport is native to America.
The last time the world got together to compete in American football was the 2015 IFAF World Championship. The United States, through the USA Football governing body, used a team of former college players who maintained their amateur status to absolutely dominate the rest of the international field.
The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, but issues with the local organizing committee forced its move to Canton, Ohio. That meant teams from Germany and Austria, who had proven themselves to be among Europe’s top contenders in the sport, backed out due to financial constraints caused by the late changes. The United States team, coached by former Boise State, Colorado, and current UC Davis head football coach Dan Hawkins, ultimately went on to win its third consecutive IFAF World Championship, trouncing the team from Japan in the final game.
Germany will be represented this time around at the 2017 World Games in Poland. The last time American football was included as an invitational sport at the World Games was in 2005 when Duisburg, Germany played host and the home team won it all. Germany beat Sweden 20–6 in the final game while France took third place, beating Australia 14–0 in the consolation final. The United States was not represented at the event.
German club teams absolutely dominated the European American football scene last year. While the German national team can’t exactly be ranked ahead of the Americans just yet, they will almost certainly be a favorite against the other two teams heading into the World Games this summer.
In 2016, the New Yorker Lions from Braunschweig, Germany won the second of back-to-back Eurobowls. Plus, the rival Frankfurt Universe became European Football League (EFL) champions.
The German national team is already in preparation for the World Games and plans to host a training camp in Cologne, Germany on March 25. A second camp has also been scheduled for May 25 ahead of the World Games. Defensive coordinator Dogan Özdincer and offensive coordinator Robert Cruse are looking to be more prepared than the team from the United States to make up for the German players’ lack of experience and talent.
It remains to be seen whether preparation will make a difference when the teams take the field.
Despite the clear cut favorites, handicappers should have their work cut out for them picking the winners at the 2017 World Games. Those who think they know who has the edge, or like the favorites in the United States and Germany, should still remember American football obviously differs greatly from football on this side of the pond.