Finland secures IFAF European Championship bronze with win over France

Team Finland showed their veteran experience this weekend in the IFAF European Championship bronze medal game with a 14-6 win over a young French national team.

France had beaten Finland in the 2018 IFAF European Championship semifinals and eventually won the title that year. This time, Finland were not as obliging hosts taking an early 14-0 lead and then letting their defense do the rest.

The French squad came out with some juice as the young French players tried to make a name for themselves. Finnish quarterback Miro Kadmiry tested the French secondary early with a few deep shots on the first drive, but a strong defensive effort from the front seven made the ground game negligible and bad weather made the passing game inconsistent.

France had similar success with quarterback Joaquim Torelli as he tried to turn the edge on Finland’s defense on rollouts, but France ultimately failed to get anything going as well.

Finnish WR Alexander Wasiljeff scored Finland’s lone receiving TD Photo: Jari Turunen

The second Finnish drive proved decisively more effective though as Kadmiry hit wideout Kimi Linnainmaa once on a screen that went for 20 yards and then again on a go route down the left sideline that went for 30. Kadmiry finished the drive off with a a five-yard wheel route to Alexander Wasiljeff to get the blue and white on the board early.

After a muffed return by the French squad which left them starting inside their five, they again leaned on the run game, but again it proved to no avail – failing to even get one first down. Finland started with a short field in front of them and allowed their bruiser-back Nico Barrow to run between the tackles, picking up some tough yardage. Finland ran straight up the gut for five plays in a row, picking up all 45 yards needed to get them on the scoreboard for the second time. With 10 minutes still left to play in the second quarter, Finland were up 14-0.

France were determined not to let the score get away from them and put together a scoring drive of their own together a few moments later. From his own 43, Torelli marched his team down to the Finnish 24 yard line. Running back Phileas Pasqualini looked like he was going to cap the drive off with a touchdown, knifing straight through the middle of the Finnish front seven, but a defender leaped at him, jarring the ball loose at the five-yard line. The ball rolled into the endzone, but French wideout Jean Claude Ridaux jumped onto the ball for the touchdown, giving France their first points of the game. A missed extra point kept it at 14-6.

Despite this explosive first half the game fizzled off in the second. A strong defensive performance from Finland kept France far away from the endzone from the rest of the game as the front seven made adjustments to keep Torelli in check Рas well as causing few key turnovers. Finland leaned heavily on the ground game in the second half feeling no imminent threat from France’s offense and closed out a one score game out with what appeared to be relative ease.

Team France QB Joaquim Torelli Photo: Jari Turunen

Miro Kadmiry threw for a modest 102 yards and one touchdown with Kimi Linnainmaa as his leading target with three catches for 52 yards. Alexander Wasiljeff caught three passes for 38 yards and one touchdown. Running back Karri Pajarinen had 14 carries for 45 yards while Nico Barrow rushed eight times for 45 yards and the other Finnish touchdown.

For France, Morelli had a tough day throwing the ball, completing just five passes for 63 yards. Aymeric Nicault had three receptions for 43 yards and Reml Bertellin three for 41 yards. Pasqualini had 10 carries for 65 yards and Torelli eight for 43. Jason Aguemon had a quiet game gaining only 24 yards on nine carries as the Finnish defense front seven kept him in check.

Finland finished the game with 203 total yards of offense while France was able to put up 230 yards in total offense, but their four turnovers stopped them from getting into the endzone more than once.

This was the fourth bronze medal for Finland in the European Championships and the second in a row. Finland captured bronze in 2018 as well.

 

 

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who has worked in B2B journalism and comms in the third sector; with experience in both education and human rights. He has played football for the London Warriors for the last 15 years as well as the