IFAF Women’s 2023/24 European Championship continues this weekend with final 4 teams all in action

The IFAF Women’s European Championship resumes this weekend with four nations in action as Finland takes on Spain on Saturday and Great Britain travels to Germany on Sunday.

The games continue as part of a round robin tournament that will decide the IFAF European Champions with the nation that finishes on top of the standings once the competition concludes in August 2024 crowned champions.

Defending champion Finland won gold in 2019, 2015 and 2011, and claimed fourth place when hosting the IFAF World Championships last year. The continent’s traditional powerhouse welcomes Spain to the Myyrmäen jalkapallostadion in Vantaa on May 27, kickoff 6pm. The visitors last entered international competition at this level in 2015, and head coach Manuel Ibáñez Rodríguez appreciates that his team makes its debut in the five-nation tournament as underdogs.

“We might be considered the least favored team among the participating nations, but this does not diminish our determination and commitment to compete at the highest level,” said coach Ibáñez Rodríguez. “Our primary objective is to show our resilience and tenacity on the field, demonstrating that we belong among the elite teams in European women’s American football.

“It is important to note that our goals extend beyond mere results. While winning is a desired outcome, we also emphasize the importance of enjoying the journey and relishing every moment of this unique experience.”

Team Finland RB Tytti Kuusinen #34 Photo: Tero Turunen

Spain will face one of the sport’s premier offensive weapons in Finland running back Tytti Kuusinen, who was named MVP during her nation’s past two European triumphs and holds all Finnish rushing records.

“We want to defend our championship, so that’s our main goal, but this time the format is very different so it will be interesting to see how our team develops and it will give us an opportunity to bring new players into the team,” said Tytti, speaking from Massachusetts where she plays her club football for the Boston Renegades. “I think we proved in the World Championship that we can compete against the best teams, after all we were leading against the US at one point, so we are confident that we can do well.”

Germany’s Nicole Manthey is the only female head coach leading a nation from the sidelines in the Euros and was appointed at the start of the year, the A-License coach having previously been competitive sports director for women at the AFVD. One of her goals is improving on a fifth-place finish at last year’s IFAF World Championships.

“We scored only one touchdown and that wasn’t good enough, so we have made changes,” Coach Manthey explained. “They are small things because we haven’t had much time. I took over in January and we had very few weekends available to us in the schedule.

“We are a team under construction. We will bring the best version we have right now and then see where we are against a very good Great Britain team.”

The Lions travel to the Solingen Walder Stadium in Düsseldorf (kickoff 2pm) on the back of an impressive 40-point shutout of Sweden in the opening game of the Euros, having earned the silver medal at the IFAF World Championships in 2022. Head coach Chris Stone has a potent running game at his disposal, led by another member of the Boston Renegades Ruth Matta, but is keen to stress the importance of teamwork when it comes to the threat from his offense.

“We’ve got a great offensive line and that’s where football starts, so any time you’ve got big bodies that are able to move like that, it makes so many things possible,” said coach Stone. “When you’re able to run the football, it decimates teams.”

Team Great Britain QB Ruth Matta Photo: Jari Turunen

Germany hopes that home field advantage will play a part against Great Britain, and captain Claudia Heddergott, a staple on the offensive line says:

“They did a great job last year and against Sweden as well, so you could say we should be scared, but we’re not. We’re optimistic.

“We all work hard through the season and the offseason. We’re all good football players as well, even though we haven’t played together as long as Great Britain. We are on our way, and we can get there as well, so we will work them hard to play against us and I’m excited just to be here. We want to win of course, otherwise we wouldn’t play football. I’m excited to see how far we can take it.”

The round robin tournament continues in August 2023 and in April, May and August of 2024. Full schedule below.

IFAF Women’s European Championships 2023/24
(All times local)

Saturday, April 15

Great Britain 40 Sweden 0
Worcester, England
Sixways Stadium

Saturday, May 27, 6pm

Finland vs Spain
Vantaa, Finland
Myyrmäen jalkapallostadion

Sunday, May 28, 2pm

Germany vs Great Britain
Düsseldorf, Germany
Solingen Walder Stadium

Saturday, August 26, 6pm

Spain vs Germany
Calatayud, Spain

Saturday, August 26, 1pm

Sweden vs Finland
Stockholm, Sweden
Bergshamra IP

12-14 April 2024

Spain vs Great Britain

24-26 May 2024

Finland vs Germany
Sweden vs Spain

16-18 August 2024

Germany vs Sweden
Great Britain vs Finland

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