Israel Beats Spain In First International Game to Qualify for IFAF Europe’s Group B

In front of an overflowing crowd at Estadio Santo Domingo de Alcorcón Prado, Spain, in their first ever international contest, Team Israel defeated Spain 28-20  and qualified for IFAF Europe’s Group B tournament.

With just over three minutes remaining and the game tied 20-20, Israeli defensive back Dani Eastman picked off Spanish quarterback Andrew Donat and ran the ball all the way in for a touchdown and with the two point convert Israel went up 28-20. Spain could not retaliate and Israel has moved on the the B tournament.

Team Spain was their own worst enemy on this day taking too many penalties (there were 268 yards total in the game) while coughing up turnovers which Israel made them pay for.

Nevertheless, after Israel opened the scoring on a 22 yard pass from Matt Kaufman to Cameron Simmons, Spain forced an Israeli fumble in the end zone to tie the game at 7-7.

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Israel regained the lead late in the second quarter when Dani Eastman (who accounted for three touchdowns) managed to get a pass off to Benjamin Schultz who took it 65 yards untouched to the end zone giving the Israelis a 13-7 halftime lead.

After the break, Spain recorded its second interception of the game on the Israeli two yard line and one play later Donat ran in for the score drawing the Spaniards even 13-13.

However, on the ensuing kickoff, Eastman took the ball 85 yards to the end zone and Israel re-took the lead 20-13. Spanish coach Marcos Guirles dug deep into his playbook and came up with a double pass – Andrew Donat
threw to Alejandro Alvarez who in turn connected with Raul Cernuda to tie the game again 20-20.

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After Eastmen’s interception return for a touchdown, Spain was not done. They took the ensuring kickoff all the way back to Israel’s 10 yard line. However the Israeli defense dug in, keeping Spain out of the end zone and securing a spot in the Group B tournament.

Game MVP was Dani Eastman who threw for a touchdown, and returned a kickoff and interception for scores.

Spanish Head Coach Guirles:

“We battled hard and lost to a very good Team Israel. Obviously we have many things to improve, but we have laid the foundation of a team. We only had six days of preparation. But we will continue working to keep growing.”

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.