Team Belgium takes on Israel on the road in Jerusalem Sunday, October 6 in the opening round of the IFAF 2020 Men’s European Championship Group B qualifications.
This is the second game in Group B which also includes Turkey, Hungary, Belgium and Spain.
Israel is coming off a 27-22 victory over Team Turkey in their first game of the five team Group tournament.
The last time Israel played before this tournament was against Switzerland in an IFAF European Championship Qualifying Tournament in 2016. The Swiss overwhelmed Team Israel 51-0.
Team Belgium lost to Ireland 7-6 in an international friendly in September. Since 2014, the Barbarians have had one of the most crowded schedules of any national team in Europe playing between two and four games a year. Late last year, Belgium earned a historic win when they defeated Team Holland for the first time ever, beating them 14-7. Belgium had dropped a 20-19 decision to a surprisingly tough Team Ireland squad. The Belgians played two international exhibition games in 2017 defeating Team Spain 18-16 in a controversial thriller, and then downing the Russian national team 7-2 in a tight defensive battle. They beat both Spain and Hungary in 2016 and in 2015, they played four games including a tough loss to Holland in a European qualifier in front of almost 5,000 roaring Dutch fans.
Israeli head coach Jay Hoffman emphasizes the importance of the game in Israel:
“I cannot overstate how important this game is for moving football up the ladder in this country. With a victory against another International opponent in Israel will cause people to notice and have the patience to learn how football can play an important role in society.”
Spencer Wood, head coach of Team Belgium:
“We are just tremendously excited for the opportunity we have to travel to the Holy City to play Team Israel. Growing up in the States, I never thought American football would one day take me to Jerusalem but here we are. It’s such a beautifully intense sport and we are so fired up to represent Belgium on the international stage.”