LIVESTREAM IFAF World Junior Championship: Team Japan vs Team USA, June 26, 20:00 CET (8 pm, 2 pm EDT)

Team Japan will take on Team USA, Wednesday, June 26 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton as the IFAF U20 World Junior Championships reaches the semifinal stage.

Japan defeated Team Australia 50-6 in the opening round while Team USA demolished Panama 86-12.

Japan and the United States have both played in each of the five previous editions of the competition but have only met twice. On both occasions, USA triumphed, winning 43-0 in 2014 and 50-20 in 2016. Both sides comfortably progressed at the weekend to meet again in the semifinals.

Japan breezed past Australia on Saturday as Shungo Goto rushed for a pair of touchdowns, and MVP Takemi Minobe and Taisei Urushibara also scored on the ground.

“Everybody has really high expectations, not only the players but the coaches too,” said Japan head coach Makoto Ohashi. “We’re really looking forward to this game and obviously the United States is the motherland of football, so we have respect for them and we’re really pleased to have this opportunity to play against USA.”

Running back Minobe added:

“I love to watch the NFL on television and obviously the United States are a really good team, but I think we have a chance. We want to play the Japanese way and do what we are good at. We want to beat them.”

Watch live. Team Japan vs Team USA, June 26, 20:00 CET (8 pm, 2 pm EDT)

The United States swept Panama aside 86-12 on Saturday to advance to the semis as quarterbacks Aliam Appler and Anthony Luna split time under center, throwing for a combined 267 yards and 24 first downs. Running back Jaedon Alston led the way on the ground, totaling 24 points from 90 yards on 13 carries.

World champions in 2009 when the inaugural competition was played in the shadow of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and winners again in 2014 in Kuwait, USA aims to return to the title game having won bronze last time out in 2018.

“This is the federation of American football, and we don’t want to put any more pressure on ourselves than what’s already there but we’re here to win it all,” said head coach Mike Kelly. “They didn’t take me off the beach in Florida to come up here and finish second and there’s a lot of motivation there.

“I’m proud of where we are right now. We’ve got a long way to go and we’re not taking anything for granted. The guys have the idea now that they can score every time we have the ball. So, our guys have confidence and that’s the main thing.”

Watch live. Team Japan vs Team USA, June 26, 20:00 CET (8 pm, 2 pm EDT)

Michael Preston (@PRMikePreston) is currently working with IFAF in a PR capacity. He recently covered Super Bowl LVII as a member of the NFL PR team as he has done for 20+ years. He has held communications positions with NFL Europe, the North