LIVESTREAM: 2018 IFAF European Championships – Team Finland v. Team France, August 2, 8p (7p CEST, 1p EST)

Team France (1-0) will battle the host team, Team Finland (1-0) in the third round of the 2018 IFAF European Championships, August 2 at Vantaa, Finland.

Both France and Finland defeated Great Britain in their opening round games of the tournament and so the winner of this game will advance to the gold medal final on August 4.

The last time these two teams met was in the bronze medal game at the 2014 IFAF European Championships when France came away with the win, 35-21.

Finland has a proud history in the European Championships. The Finns have won the title a record five times and have four silver medals to go along with the five golds. They have won the bronze medal twice and finished fourth once. They won an unprecedented four straight titles – 1993, 1995, 1997 and 2000 – but the last time they reached the championship final was in 2001 when they lost to Germany.

In the win over Great Britain, the Finns outgained the Lions by a wide margin in the first 24 minutes of play with 284 yards of offense compared to 38 for Britain. The Finnish running backs rushed for 203 of those yards while Great Britain was held to -3.  Finnish running back Karri Pajarinen had 10 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown to lead all rushers while teammate Hanri Jussila rushed for 82 yards on 10 carries. Quarterback Janne Lehtinen threw for 113 yards. Other touchdown scorers for Finland were Veikka Lehtonen and Tuukka Lehtonen as well as Joonas Raatikainen on a fumble recovery in the end zone.

Team Finland RB Karri Pajarinen Photo: Samppa Toivonen

However, the French defense presents a much different proposition than Britain’s did. This game will be decided on the line of scrimmage.

Team Finland head coach Tuomas Heikkinen:

“It’ll be about the lines play. Defensively, I have a good feeling about some of the potential one on one’s for pass rush and we obviously need to be gap sound and hold our ground to limit their talented running backs space/options and to get our linebackers on them. We will open our offense for this game, we have a lot installed that we did not show in the first game. Balance is the key, we like to run but need to establish pass, too, and against (like you said) a mobile defense like theirs we need to be able to take what they give us.”

France won the bronze in the 2014 European Championships, defeating Team Finland in the medal round, 35-21. In 2010, the French reached the gold medal game but were defeated by Team Germany 26-10. Team France has finished fourth three times since the tournament started in 1983.

 

Team France RB Stephen Yepmo Photo: Jari Turunen

France racked up 556 yards of offense in a dazzling display against Great Britain who were only able to muster 201. The French ran out to a 28-6 lead at halftime and continued the pressure in the second  half.

French quarterback Paul Durand was outstanding completing 17 of 24 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns with Nelson Tsimi catching six passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns andAndrew James catching two passes for 68 yards and another two touchdowns. Running backStephen Yepmo had 16 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown while Jason Aguemon had 56 yards rushing while scoring a touchdown. Jason Boufunda carried the ball four times for 63 yards.

Patrick Esume, head coach of Team France, realizes he will be facing a totally different team in the Finnish national squad than he did against Britain. And they are playing at home:

“Obviously Finland is going to be tough because they are the host of the European Championships. Playing against the host is always different because I know that there is going to be people in the stadium. Finland is going to play with certain kind of energy because they play at home.”

According to Esume as well, this game will be decided on the line of scrimmage:

“They are big, physical well coached team. We will have our hands full. We have to stop the run, obviously that’s critical. They do run the ball very well. Offensively we want to stay balanced like we were against Great Britain. And we have to eliminate the mistakes that we made in the first game.”

Watch the game live presented by American Football International in partnership with Mobile-TV and YareTV. The stream is geo-blocked in Austria and Germany, but available on-line to the rest of our worldwide audience.

2018 IFAF European Championships: Team France v. Great Britain, July 31, 8p (7p CEST, 1p EST, 11 a PDT)

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