When Team France and the host nation Poland take the field Saturday evening in the 2017 World Games, it will mark the first ever meeting between these two countries in American football.
Expect a packed crowd at the Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw with plenty of support for Team Poland against the French team that finished fourth at the 2015 World Championships in Canton, Ohio.
This is the second of two American football games featured at the 2017 World Games, in Wroclaw, Poland on the second day of competition.
The last time American football was included as an invitational sport at the World Games was in 2005 when Duisburg, Germany played host and the home team won it all. Germany beat Sweden 20–6 in the final game while France took third place, beating Australia 14–0 in the consolation final. The United States was not represented at the event.
The last time the world got together to compete in American football was the 2015 IFAF World Championship. The United States, through the USA Football governing body, used a team of former college players who maintained their amateur status to absolutely dominate the rest of the international field.
Poland has been busy on the international scene playing four games in 2016. Poland lost to Denmark 37-35 in a game they were leading at halftime and then dropped another close decision to Sweden 28-21 a month later. Against Team Sweden, Poland had a chance to tie the game late in the contest. Poland suffered a surprising 23-22 loss to Hungary. Finally, the Poles downed the Dutch Lions, or Team Holland late in the year 42-14.
Poland’s coaching staff is led by head coach is Brad Arbon who is also offensive coordinator. He is the former German National Team offensive coordinator, former Boise State Broncos player and Utah Utes coach. Defensive coordinator is Sebastian Tuch, former NFL Europe player. Olaf Werner who is former GFL player and current PLFA coach, will handle the special teams.
The French national team coaching staff is headed up by head coach Patrick Esume who is no stranger to playoff football. As head coach of the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes he won the German championship in 2010 and qualified for the German finals two straight years after that. He was named coach of the year in Germany in 2010 and with Kiel won the EFL (European Football League) title in 2014. He arrived in Kiel after a highly successful year as head coach of La Courneuve Flash winning the French championship in 2009.
Expect a top French team including Paul Durand at quarterback and Stephen Yepmo at running back. Durand led the La Courneuve Flash to the French title this year while Yepmo is a two-time winning French champion and rushing leader.
Esume is expecting a battle:
“This will be a tough game. Poland has improved a lot in the past two to three years and they will be playing in front of a huge home crowd.”
The gold medal final and battle for bronze will be played Monday July 24.