The IFAF 2019 Women’s European Championships winds up on Saturday, August 17 at John Charles Stadium in Leeds, England with two crucial games.
Team Finland are the defending European Champions, and will face Great Britain while Sweden takes on Team Austria.
Finland and Great Britain have faced each other twice before in international tournaments. In the 2015 IFAF Women’s European Championship in Granada, Spain Finland defeated Great Britain in the title game, 50-12. Since then, Great Britain has gotten the better of the Finns, defeating them in the 2017 World Championships.
Gold medal still up for grabs with tie breakers explained
The gold medal will be decided Saturday but not easily. So far in the tournament between the three teams still with wins, Finland downed Sweden 27-20 while the Swedes defeated Great Britain which sets up an interesting scenario Saturday. Both Finland and Great Britain easily defeated the Austrian squad.
If Finland beats the host nation, they win their second straight European Championship. However, if Great Britain wins and Sweden downs Austria there will be a three-way tie for first and tie-breaking rules then kick in.
Great Britain would have the head to head over Finland, Finland would have the head to head over Sweden and Sweden would have the head to head over Great Britain. That means the points difference between the three teams (games against Austria would not be counted depending on the score) would decide the title.
Finland are +7 versus Sweden
Sweden are +3 versus Great Britain and -7 versus Finland (therefore are on -4)
Great Britain are on -3 after Sweden.
This means that if Great Britain defeats Finland by a score of 6 or higher they will be champions If Great Britain defeats Finland by 4 or less, Finland will be champions. However, if Great Britain beats Finland by 5, then the next tie breaker applies: Overall points difference which would then include the games against Austria (max. 35 points difference in a game)
Finland are +35 versus Austria and +7 versus Sweden
Great Britain are + 30 versus Austria and -3 versus Sweden
Sweden are +3 versus Great Britain and -7 versus Finland
The maximum points difference Sweden can attain is +31 (35 notional versus Austria) + 3 and then -7)
Finland would have +37 (35 + 7 and then – 5)
Great Britain would have +32 (30 + 5 and then – 3)
So in the case of a 5 point victory by Great Britain over Finland then Finland would be crowned champions. Great Britain would be second and 3rd place would be Sweden (if they beat Austria) or Austria (if the beat Sweden thereby having the head to head).
Everyone got that?
Let’s take a look at the games.
Game 1: Team Sweden vs. Team Austria, Saturday, August 17, 3 pm (1500), John Charles Stadium, Leeds.
Team Sweden enters this game after losing a heartbreaker to Finland 27-20 on Day 2 of the tournament. The Finns scored a last second touchdown to break a 20-20 tie and set themselves up for a gold medal final against Great Britain. The Swedes had edged Great Britain 9-6 to open the tournament. Sweden’s offense came alive in the second half against Finland scoring three touchdowns after only getting one in their win over Great Britain.. Karin Ullen is the key to the Swedish offense and has scored all four touchdowns in the tournament. Quarterback Linda Johansson has played with poise and could have a big day against Austria.
Austria has suffered two lopsided losses so far. They opened with a 50-0 blanking by Finland and in the second game were beaten 36-6 by Great Britain. Coach Frickey does have a couple of bright spots including the play of Corneilia Pripfl at quarterback. The Austrian’s only touchdown so far came from their defense when defensive back Teresa Müllebner picked of GB’s quarterback Sydney Green and returned the ball 90 yards early in the second half.
Game 2: Team Great Britain vs. Team Finland, Saturday, August 17, 7 pm (1900), John Charles Stadium, Leeds
This is the game that will decide the gold medal. Finland opened the tournament by routing the Austrians 50-0 and then scored a last second touchdown to defeat Team Sweden 27-20. Great Britain lost a tight 9-6 game to Sweden on the first day and had a chance to score with 30 seconds left but a last second interception by the Swedes snuffed out that opportunity. They rebounded by beating Austria 36-6.
For Finland, the running game is the bread and butter of the offense with Tytti Kuusinen carrying the bulk of the load. She will no doubt be front and center Saturday. She had two touchdowns against Sweden and four in the win over Austria. She is tough, tenacious and difficult to bring down. The Brits have their own weapon in Ruth Matta is may be a little more elusive and is extremely fast. She has scored three touchdowns so far and is the anchor of the offense. Another key of course is Britain’s quarterback Sydney Green who can throw but can also take off with the ball so the Finns will have to keep her in check.
This game is a toss up. Playing at home with a chance of winning gold, Great Britain may have the edge.