IFAF World Championship Bronze Medal Game: Mexico v France
This may well be the game of the 2015 tournament. Both teams have faced and been trounced by the USA. Mexico lost 30-6 while France suffered an embarrassing 82-0 shellacking at the hands of the Americans. France won its opener beating Brazil 31-6 and then thrashed Australia 53-3 while Mexico lost its only other game to Japan 35-7.
France enters the game yearning for revenge after being humiliated by Team USA in a game they thought they had a chance to win. This game has all kinds of meaning for the French.
France head coach Patrick Esume:
“There has never been a European team that has beaten Japan, Canada, Mexico or the U.S. Never, ever has it been done, so for us to be in the hunt and have a chance to do it, that’s already big. Mexico plays college football, and they have scholarship and guys playing up to seven years in college. It’s a high level, like Division II here in the U.S. In Europe, we play club sport. Guys go to work and then they show up for practice twice a week, so there’s the difference.
“For us to get a chance to compete against the teams that you shouldn’t beat and have a chance to do it, that’s great. We’re going to play not to just be there, but to win.”
France’s starting quarterback, Paul Durand, was hurt early in the game against Team USA and his replacement Perez Mattison, did not have an easy day. He was sacked three times, giving up a fumble on one of the sacks, and had time to complete only nine of 20 passes for a total of 85 yards. Durand’s passing totals have not been astronomical in the other two more or less lopsided victories but he has not had to throw with the running game having been as strong as it was for two games. The team recorded 384 yards rushing against Brazil and Australia. However, Mexcio will be watching the film from France’s game against Team USA where France had a collective total of -21 yards rushing.
Anthony Dable who was spectacular in the two games against Brazil and Australia returning three kick0ffs for a total of 258 yards and one touchdown, was a non factor against the USA. He had five returns totaling 93 yards.
Although Mexico has lost both games they have played losing to Japan 35-7 and the United States 30-6, they have shown some flashes of the squad that performed so well in 2011 and has been to two gold final games. However, quarterback Isaias Arroyo has to settle down. Against Japan he threw a tournament record four interceptions against. His backup – Raul Mateos San Roman – stepped in and completed 5-of-10 pass attempts for 59 yards, led the team in rushing with 12 carries for 66 yards and caught two passes for 36 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass. His versatility could be what will be needed against France.
Mexico’s running game was impressive against Japan after a poor showing against the Americans. With San Roman leading the way Mexico recorded 133 yards on the ground.
Mexico head coach Raùl Rivera Sànchez:
“Now our focus is on France, and as much as they want to win that medal, we want it also.”
“We have to make improvements and play to the potential we know this team has and get the win and the bronze medal.”
This is the first time Mexico and France will meet in the IFAF World Championship. Mexico is looking to halt a four-game losing streak stretching back to 2011. This will be the second time Mexico has been in the bronze medal game after winning the silver on two occasions. France’s best finish was fourth place in 2003. French running back Nicholas Khandar’s 88-yard scoring run against Australia on July 12 is the longest run from scrimmage and the longest touchdown rush in tournament history.
Watch the game live July 18, kickoff is at 3:30 PM EDT in Canton, Ohio.