IFAF U19 EC: Austria and Sweden advance to gold medal final, Germany, Czechs also get wins

By Michael Preston

Austria and Sweden will again meet for the IFAF U19 European Championship in September after both won on home soil on Sunday.

Austria cruised past Finland 45-12 and will defend titles won in 2022 and 2019 against 2017 champions Sweden, who overcame a 10-point deficit and trailed by a single point at halftime to beat Denmark 31-17.

For Austria, the Vienna Vikings pairing of quarterback Michael Szabo and wide receiver Nils Keimel proved affective as they connected to score three touchdowns in the air. Szabo had opened the scoring with a rushing touchdown and defensive back Mato Beglarian added a pick six as Austria streaked ahead 14-0 in the first quarter. Finland’s determination paid off in the fourth quarter when quarterback Jerry Silomaa hit receiver Atte Peltola for a touchdown and Alexsi Hirvonen scored on the ground.

Austrian QB Michael Szabo Photo: AFBÖ

Swedish running back Vilgot Valeskog rushed for an impressive 264 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns including an 88-yard score and a two-point conversion to claim the MVP award in his team’s win.

Denmark had led 10-0 through a fake field goal that saw Matija Rajovic pass to Luke Washington Kinch Bennett for a touchdown. Marius Hein Barkholt Fruelund returned an interception to the end zone to make it 17-8, but Swedish linebacker Benjamin Kennedy Chaanhing returned the resulting kickoff for a touchdown to close the gap at the interval.

Swedish LB Benjamin Kennedy Chaanhing returning a kickoff for a TD Photo: Stefan Akander

Valeskog put Sweden ahead for the first time with a pounding scoring run in the third quarter, then Anton Jansson caught a game-sealing touchdown pass from Max Lambert. Fruelund’s two interceptions earned him the Denmark MVP honors.


Team Germany ball carrier battling French defenders

Finland and Denmark will meet in September to contest the bronze medal, while the fifth-place game will be played between Italy and Germany, who ran out 28-12 winners over France. Great Britain and France will meet in September to play for seventh place. The Czech Republic scored early and often in a 39-3 rout of Switzerland. With the win, the Czechs snagged ninth place.

Germany saw France cut a 14-point lead to two points before two unanswered touchdowns sealed victory for the visitors in Bordeaux. German quarterbacks Sebastian Schultz of the Berlin Adler and Lars Westphal from the Troisdorf Jets each threw and ran for a touchdown in the win.

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