Team Japan and Team Outback from Australia will square off to decide fifth place in the 2018 IFAF U19 World Championships, Sunday, July 22 at Olympic Stadium in Mexico City.
This is only the second time in five tournaments that the Japanese are not playing for a medal. Australia is appearing in the U19 World Championships for only the second time. In 2016, Team Outback finished sixth in Harbin, China.
After opening the tournament by losing to Mexico 31-14, Team Japan looked to upset the defending champion Team Canada team and came close losing 28-22, but not before driving into Canadian territory with a minute to go.
In that game, backup quarterback Ken Nozawa was outstanding throwing for 260 yards and three touchdowns. Japanese receiver Mikito Itokawa gave the Canadian secondary all kinds of problems catching eight passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. He leads the tournament with 10 receptions for 126 yards.
The Australians rely heavily on their ground game with Mitchell Crookes who led the team in rushing against Sweden gaining 93 yards on nine carries. He scored Team Outback’s only touchdown so far as well.
Team Outback enters the game with a somewhat depleted roster as the flu bug has ripped through the team to go along with injuries.
Team Outback General Manager, Michael Kerr:
“We are still not at full strength with some injuries and illness But the boys are in good spirits and prepared to fight as hard as necessary to hold their hold against a formidable Japan We also have several boys playing out of position for this game as illness has hit us hard.”