IFAF European Qualifiers – Italy vs Great Britain: The coaches speak out

Today, Team Great Britain will take on the reigning titlists, Team Italy, in Milan in the first round IFAF European Championship qualifying game for both teams.

The two head coaches, Italy’s Davide Giuliano and Jason Scott from Great Britain, enter the game from two totally different perspectives. Giuliano is the defending champion while Scott’s GB Lions team has not seen any action since 2019.

This week we sat down with both and asked them about their team’s first qualifier of the year starting with Giuliano.

Giuliano has been an anchor in Italian has been head coach for Team Italy since 2015 but also been coaching for over 20 years. Most recently, Giuliano has spent time with the Lazio Ducks and Milano Rhinos in the Italian Football League.

AFI: How has preparation been in the run up to the Great Britain game?

Giuliano: It’s been one year of rebuilding; we have half of the team who’s new to this type of competition but this is the fun part of it. Team GB are brand new too, new coaching staff and a new roster of players. It will be intriguing playing a team we have no info on.

AFI: In what way will home-field advantage impact the game?

Giuliano: We haven’t played in a home game for a while now. I think it makes a great difference playing with the support from your own people, we expect the whole Italian American football community to come and support our 45 players.

AFI: You’re currently reigning champions but this was the first one Italy had won in decades. Is there a weight of expectation within the Italian camp?

Giuliano: We have learned that it has to be taken one game at a time and enjoy the process. Our expectations are to work hard and do our best to win against team GB. Being the European Champs surely gives us a confidence we didn’t have in the past, I hope this won’t affect our ability to stay focused on our next task.

AFI: What will be the key to victory on Sunday?

Giuliano: Main key in every game is preparation, what you’ve been doing before the kick off usually determines the result of the game itself. We don’t know what type of offense and defense they play so, this time, it’s been a little tricky but at the end of the day team Italy is ready to step on the field on Sunday.

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

On the opposite sideline is the Great Britain head coach Jason Scott. Although new to the position, Scott has been involved with a number of successful programs domestically and abroad including Mississippi State (NCAA, DI), Endicott College (NCAA, DIII), Tamworth Phoenix (BAFA) and Nottingham University (BUAFL).

AFI: This will be your first foray into IFAF Euros as a Head Coach. How has preparation been and what are your expectations?

Scott: Our expectations are that we want to compete. We feel that we have some of the best young players in Europe, and we want to give them a platform to succeed. 35 of the 45 man squad are earning their first caps at a senior level, so we are truly putting our faith in the next generation. We as coaches are just trying to put them in a position to succeed. We have prepared as diligently as we can. We have a staff who take that aspect of the game very seriously.

AFI: I’m sure you’ve watched a ton of tape on Italy, what are your thoughts on the reigning champs?

Scott: Italy are a really strong team, you don’t get to be European Champions without being able to play. We know what to expect, which will be a fast, physical game.

AFI: How will playing in Italy impact GB’s performance?

Scott: Playing in Italy won’t affect us at all. We have spent a long time preparing for this trip; the players and coaches are ready for the challenge of playing in Milan.

AFI: What will be some key areas that you guys need to dominate to secure the win?

Scott: We need to tackle well, and we need to block well. If we do that, we’ll be fine.

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.