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

Team France makes their debut in the 2018 IFAF European Championships in Vantaa, Finland, July 31 when they face the Great Britain Lions in the second round of the tournament.

France qualified for this tournament after winning 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.

Since taking over as head coach of Team France in 2014, Patrick Esume has guided the French national team through two tournaments and and a number of games. Most recently, the French national team defeated Team Germany in the World Games in Poland in 2017. The win was historic as it marked the first time France had ever beaten the Germans in international competition.

In the 2015 IFAF World Championships, France reached the bronze medal game but were defeated by Team Mexico 20-7. 

France will no doubt start Paul Durand at quarterback who led La Courneuve Flash to the last two French championships. At running back, Esume has Stephen Yepmo, another veteran who has won the French championship with the Thonon Black Panthers and has been a key to Team France’s offense.

Great Britain dropped their opening game, losing 28-7 to the hosts, Team Finland, but not before a spirited second half comeback attempt. The Lions trailed Finland 28-7 at the half and reach the Finnish red zone three times without being able to score any points.

Great Britain has won the gold medal both times they have reached the final, in 1989 and 1991. The Lions have reached the bronze medal game a record four times (1987, 1997, 2001, 2005) but never won it.

The last time Great Britain took the field before Sunday’s loss was in 2017 when they were edged by Team Sweden 15-12 in Gothenburg, Sweden. To qualify for the tournament, the Lions defeated both Russia and the Czech Republic in a qualification tournament in 2016.

For Great Britain, defensive back and kick returner Josh Amis was a standout against Finland, scoring the Lions only touchdown on an 87 yard interception return and generally causing punt coverage problems for the Finns all game long. Amis was named Britain’s game MVP. A trio of quarterbacks saw action for Great Britain as starter James Slack gave way to Patrick Daley in the second half who then was relieved by Brad Thompson. None of the three were able to get their team into the end zone despite several forays into the red zone.

To have a chance against a very athletic French squad, Britain will have to establish their running game. Against Finland, Great Britain rushed for a total of 36 yards as a team.

A loss for Great Britain will relegate them to the game for fifth place. France will face Finland on Thursday, August 2.

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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