IFAF World Championships: Australia (1-1) v. Brazil (1-1)
Australia and Brazil are both coming off of second round games in this tournament that have changed their outlooks. Australia returned to earth with a thud in being trounced by France 53-3 in their second round game on Sunday while Brazil’s 28-0 blanking of South Korea for their first win ever gave them some hope.
Team Outback received a rude awakening against France as their ground game which had been so dominant against Korea in their opening game evaporated while Team France rolled up 248 yards in rushing against the Australian defense. The French pass rush hurried Australia’s quarterback Jared Stegman all day and he had a total of only 74 yards passing. Although the Australians were able to stymie the French passing game holding Paul Durand to only 73 yards passing himself, it was the ground game that was their undoing.
Brazil on the other hand improved from nine yards rushing against France to 237 against Korea, which perhaps says more about Korea’s defense than anything else but also gave Team Brazil a renewed sense of confidence. Running back Romulo Ramos rushed for 105 yards against South Korea, while his running mate Bruno Santucci averaged a new high of 13.5 yards per carry (minimum of 7 rushes required) as he carried the ball eight times for 108 yards. The quarterback rotation system seemed to hold up but the starter against Korea was Rodrigo Dantas who threw for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Rhudson Fonseca, who rotates in, threw a touchdown pass for the second straight game.
Receiver Rodrigo Pons was the Brazilian MVP on Sunday after catching five passes for 60 yards and two touchdowns.
Australia’s punter Carlisle Jones almost set records for number of punts and punting yardage which does not bode well for the offense. The setback they suffered against France has to be forgotten.
Australia running back Conor Foley:
“The loss to France definitely hurt. We’ve studied film but we’ve just got to put that out of our heads. I think mentally we weren’t really up for the challenge and that showed physically and on the scoreboard.”
“Brazil are definitely physical. As running backs, we’ve got to trust our blockers, and as a team trust our game plan and then execute assignments. It is a world championship, so we’re ready for it. We don’t want to give up. Against France we took a pounding, but now we’re going to come together and be closer as a team. We’ve been away from home for a long time, so that has perhaps had an effect, but now we have to rely on each other and fight to the end.”
Brazil is coming off of a high, but they must regroup realizing that the game against Korea means nothing. Australia’s quarterback Jared Stegman has proven that he is smart and athletic and containing him has to be a priority. The Australian pass rush will give Brazil problems although the Brazilians fared well against France’s very physical defensive line, particularly in the second half.
All in all, this may be the first of three very good football games in the third round of the IFAF World Championships. However, in the bizarre world of a truncated IFAF schedule, the winner of this game faces the winless South Koreans for 5th and 6th place.
Australia head coach John Leijten is the head coach of the Dresden Monarchs in Germany and will begin his club season the week following the IFAF World Championship.
Brazil wide receiver Rodrigo Pons:
“For Brazil, the win was the beginning of a new step that we are taking with the national team of American football. People in Brazil are very excited and the league at home has grown so much in the last couple of years that this win will mean a lot for the kids who are going to get excited and start playing. They can see this whole new level of football that they can reach.”
“On a football level, Australia are between Korea and France, so it is going to be a good match up. I hope we win. We have to listen to the coaches and stick to the game plan. They (Australia) have more experience than us, but we will see what we can do.”
Watch the game live July 15, kickoff is at 12 Noon EDT in Canton, Ohio.