IFAF European Championships: Team Italy QB Luke Zahradka takes first step towards 2023 title

On Sunday, Luke Zahradka, quarterback for defending champions, Team Italy, will take the field against team Great Britain in his first IFAF European Qualifiers this year.

The Milano Seamen signal caller led the team to their first European Championship win last year in a 41-14 win over Sweden

“Obviously being the reigning champs, you have that target on your back, but we’re working towards the 2023 Euro championship, and this is the first step towards that goal.”

The Italian domestic league’s July finish has done the National Team favors and allowed significant preparation time says Zahradka:

“Preparations have been going well, we’ve had two camps at the end of July, one in September and now two in October. Guys have been working hard to be ready for the game.”

On the other side of the field will be somewhat of an unknown element. The British National Team has not seen competition in three years and its domestic league is a bit of a blackhole with little to no coverage.

With this in mind, Zahradka points to a number of key areas in which the Italian team will need to win at in order to secure victory:

“I think the key areas we need to focus on are winning the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and just executing as an offense. I think one thing we did well in the final last year was execution and the results showed. We’ve been working on trying to be the best that we can be. Our defense feeds off the offense and vice versa.”

Zahradka has been the Italian National Team – as well as the flag National Team – captain for a number of years. This familiarity has played a significant part in their recent success, a success which is likely to continue on Sunday as they enter as tournament favorites.

Watch the game live here on PPV. Great Britain @ Team Italy, Oct. 30. 15:00 CET (3 pm, 9 am ET)

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.