IFAF Men’s European Flag Football Championships: Reigning champions Denmark among 6 unbeaten teams

The first of three days of IFAF European Flag Football Championships action got underway at the University of Limerick on Wednesday as a record number of 32 teams from 19 nations began their quest to win the European crowns in Ireland.

The competition continues on Saturday morning with the remaining group games to decide Sunday’s knockout bracket. Games from the two main fields will be streamed live at IFAF.TV and the American Football Ireland YouTube Channel.

In the men’s competition, six of the 19 teams remain unbeaten. Denmark, who are fighting to win a seventh straight European title, World Games runners up Italy, Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland all boast a 2-0 record.

Switzerland top Group A ahead of Finland (2-1), Ireland (1-1) and Ukraine (0-2). Proudly making their tournament debut, Ukraine stopped powerhouse Italy on their first drive with an interception, but eventually lost 40-18 in one of the day’s opening games.

“We lost but we enjoyed it and it was wonderful to have an opportunity to play with everything that is going on in our homeland,” said Oleksandr Falko. “Some guys who played with us are not with us anymore, so we are trying to play our best for them. We play with patience, and we play with heart and we will do the best that we can.”

Ireland came agonizingly close to securing a home win over Finland that would have delighted a raucous home crowd braving torrential rain that dampened the fields if not the spirits late in the afternoon. In a back-and-forth game that saw quarterback Peter Loughran target Raymond Burke for decisive plays, Ireland drew level at 26-26 but failed to score on the extra point play. With a tie looking likely and only a matter of seconds remaining, Finland had other ideas and scored the winning touchdown to claim a dramatic 32-26 victory.

France (2-0) lead Group B having beaten Great Britain (1-1) by four points and the Netherlands (1-1) 53-31. Spain also sits at 1-1 having been the day’s biggest men’s points scorers in a single game as they beat Slovakia (0-2) by a score of 66-13.

Austria (2-0) leads Group C having beaten Israel (1-1) in a shootout by a score of 48-24 and Belgium (0-1) 51-13 in a game significant for the fact the Belgians scored their first ever touchdowns in international flag football competition.

“We are really confident, and we know that if we do our things the right way, we have a great team spirit, we will do well,” said Austria defensive back Sebastian Wolf. “We’re here to play the last game on Sunday.”

Also making their debut and overcoming the challenges of traveling more than 5,000km to Ireland, Georgia faced Israel, whose 5,600km journey was the longest of all teams, and lost 57-2 in the pouring rain.

Defending champions Denmark are 2-0 in Group D alongside Germany after both beat Poland while holding them to a single touchdown. Sweden sits at 1-1 ahead of so far winless Czechia (0-2) and Poland (0-2).

Scores can be found at the official tournament website and the IFAF Game Centre.

Michael Preston (@PRMikePreston) is currently working with IFAF in a PR capacity. He recently covered Super Bowl LVII as a member of the NFL PR team as he has done for 20+ years. He has held communications positions with NFL Europe, the North