IFAF World Championship: Australia v Korea
As a result of the fallout from the cancellation of the World Championship in Stockholm and withdrawal of three key countries – Germany, Austria and Canada, along with Morocco and Sweden – which left a seven team IFAF World Championship tournament and a difficult schedule, Australia and Korea are meeting for a second time in this tournament (Australia won the first game 47-6) despite the fact that Korea has not won a single game.
In a strange twist of events, Brazil, who had beaten Korea in this tournament and who lost to Australia in a game which arguably could have been called the game for fifth and sixth spot, is headed home. No explanation has been given as to why Korea, instead of Brazil, is playing in this game.
Nevertheless, the game is being played and both teams are well prepared. Australia is coming off a tough win against a fast-improving Brazilian squad but will probably be primed and ready for Korea. Team Outback had a field day in their opening game against Korea just over a week ago, beating them soundly 47-6. In that game, Australia’s quarterback Jared Stegman set a tournament record for the most touchdowns (4) thrown in a single game and in fact his five TD passes so far in 2015 are one shy of the tournament record of 6, a mark held by Michael Faulds, of Canada in 2011 as well as Germay’s Joachim Ullrich also in 2011.
Team Outback running back Conor Foley rushed for 132 yards against Korea, the second best mark in World Championship history. Korea on the other hand has produced a total of 213 yards in offense while Australia has racked up 537 yards. To make matters worse, the Koreans have yet to score an offensive touchdown in the two IFAF World Championship tournaments in which they have played.
The only bright spot so far for South Korea is perhaps linebacker Yeo Bong Do who scored his nation’s first touchdown in IFAF World Championship history in the last meeting against Australia with a 36-yard interception return in the first quarter and was named his team’s game MVP.
Although the outcome of this game would seem to be a foregone conclusion, the Koreans played much better in their second game loss against Brazil and appeared to have shaken off the jitters they so obviously suffered from in their first encounter with Australia. Running back Duck Jeon started to find a rhythm and picked up 50 yards against Brazil.
This is the second time Korea has been in a battle for fifth place. In 2007, they beat France 3-0 to earn fifth place in the tournament. This time however, it will be far tougher.
Australia linebacker Brad Bennett: “I think we’ve learned a lot of lessons through the three games we’ve played, so we’ll correct those mistakes, whether its alignment or execution and we’ll play fast and hopefully get the result.”
“Their biggest threat is the running game, but I feel like our defense has enough speed to deal with any challenges they pose for us.”
In spite of the overwhelming odds against them, the Koreans are not deterred.
South Korean offensive lineman Seung Jun Oh: “We have recovered 99 percent. Some players got hurt, but most of the injured players have recovered. Mentally, we’ve fixed our mistakes. We also studied Australia’s defense and offense, but more than that we’ve covered our mistakes because we made a lot of mistakes: fumbles, bad snaps and missing their gap and man control. We’ve worked on our own assignments.”
“Australia is very fast, but if we do our assignments and our job and make no mistakes, it is possible to win.”
“We had film and enough time to study it, but before we played them the first time we hadn’t seen anything. We are ready.”
Watch the game live July 18, kickoff is at 12 Noon EDT in Canton, Ohio.