This Saturday, November 2, Great Britain travels to Kristianstad, Sweden to decide which country will reach the final four in the IFAF 2020 European Championships.
Sweden and Great Britain play in the IFAF 2020 European Championship Group A in Division D along with Russia. Both teams have beaten the Russian national team setting up this division final. Sweden downed Russia 34-7 in Moscow while GB defeated the same team 34-0 in a game played in London.
The format for the European Championships has changed somewhat this year. A total of 12 teams were slotted into four divisions of three teams each. The winners of each division advance to a final four that will meet in 2020. The second place teams will battle for spots 5-8 while the third place will compete for 9-12.
The last time these two teams met in the European Championship tournament was in 2010 when Sweden downed Britain 14-2. Sweden finished fourth in that tournament while the British wound up in sixth place.
For full details of the game and a link to the livestream, go to American Football International game preview.
Ahead of his last game as GB men’s head coach, before taking on his new Head of National Programme role, we asked Michael Callan for his thoughts on this crucial fixture.
The team had a great win against Russia. What aspects of your performance pleased you most, and are there any specific areas you want to improve on against Sweden?
It’s great to get the win as that is what we were there to do. However, there are always areas where we can improve. To just pick a few I think we wasted a few chances inside the redzone where we should have scored. We turned the ball over down there and too much in general. We also need to not commit as many penalties. If we turn the ball over and don’t convert trips into the redzone into points then a team like Sweden will capitalise on that.
In their matchup, Sweden beat Russia by a very similar scoreline. What are you expecting going into this game?
Sweden is a well drilled team. We’ve seen them quite a lot recently and played them back in 2017. They have the ability to beat you out on the edges and they can throw the ball well with their QB. They can also run the ball and try to physically punish you and control the clock. On defense they are stout and play disciplined. We’re looking to execute our game plan and stay on schedule. Again, we need to take our opportunities when they arise.
How’s the mood ahead of the game?
The mood of the team is good. We have a team that has mixed maturity and youth. The new guys all got a game under their belt and will know what we expect from them as a staff. Away games are always great for morale and camaraderie too.
Are there many changes to the roster following the Russia game?
We’ve made a few. We’ve done this for personnel matchups and also due to some availability options.
What happens next after Sweden?
This is quite straight forward. If we win, we’re through to the final four in Europe. This will give us a home and away game against the top sides in Europe. I don’t want to actually think about the other option, but it would be a similar setup against all the other second place pool teams, guaranteeing a home and away game.
Any thoughts on what’s happening elsewhere across the qualifying groups. Any surprises so far?
Most of the groups are playing out as we thought they would be. Italy beating Austria is a bit of a shock, but we’ve played Italy before and they’re always able to put out a good squad. In addition, it has been a few years since we’ve seen them compete, so they’ve been preparing for a day like that. Again, any team can beat you on any given Sunday!