Sweden comes from behind to defeat Team Denmark in 2018 IFAF European championships

Team Sweden erased a 14-0 first quarter deficit and then held on in the last minute of the game to defeat Denmark 30-20 in the second round of play of the 2018 IFAF European Championships.

The Swedes fell behind but battled back to tie the game in the third quarter and then pull ahead on a pair of Danish costly mistakes, scoring a late touchdown to seal the win.

Swedish quarterback Philip Juhlin completed 17 of 36 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown with receiver Tomas Jacobsen catching five of those passes for 56 yards and Jacob Dahre five for 41 and a touchdown. Victor Toresson rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown while Emil Knutsson, the Swedish league leader in rushing, scored as well while rushing for 28 yards. Juhlin had seven carries for 38 yards.

Both Danish quarterbacks struggled at times with starter Jacob Karkov completing just three passes for 28 yards and getting picked off twice. Kasper Skyum fared a little better late in the game throwing for 57 yards and a touchdown but only completed five of 14 passes and had one interception. Running back Lasse Lykke opened the game strong scoring both Danish touchdowns while rushing for 88 yards. Michel Konate rushed for 32 yards on 10 carries.

The Danish team looked impressive in the early going with their running game effectively moving the ball on Team Sweden’s defense. A fumble by Swedish punt returner Marcus Persson gave Denmark the ball on Sweden’s 11 yard line with only a minute gone. Lykke scored one playe later and Hansen added the two point conversion and Denmark led 8-0.

Photo: Samppa Toivonen

Sweden turned the ball over again on the next drive as Juhlin was picked off on the Danish 32 yard line after  solid drive and Denmark went back to work. It took Lykke four carries including a 49 yard scamper to extend the Danish lead to 14-0 with five minutes left in the quarter.

Juhlin and the Swedish offense then marched 70 yards in 18 plays, eating up almost eight minutes with Torensson punching the ball in from the si yard line to close the gap to 14-7.

Neither team could move the ball effectively after that and the half ended 14-7 in favor in Denmark.

The second half saw Denmark begin to shows the signs perhaps of fatigue having played just two days ago. A punt snap sailed way over the head of punter Aske Kitzbull ending up in the end zone. Sweden jumped on the ball for a touchdown and suddenly the game was tied 14-14.

The problems continued for Denmark  as Karkov was picked off again on the very next possession by Marcus Persson. Taking over at Denmark’s 42 yard line, Juhlin wasted no time, engineering a four play drive and handing off the Knutsson for the go-ahead touchdown giving Sweden a 21-14 lead midway through the third quarter.

Sweden’s defense then held the Danes deep in their own zone forcing a punt from the seven yard line. With excellent field position on the Danish 38 yard line, Juhlin marched his team down to the six yard line. Dahre kicked a field goal and Sweden increased the lead to 24-14 late in the third quarter.

Skyum entered the game for Denmark, looking sharp early on but after moving the ball down to the Swedish 40 yard line, he was picked off, giving Sweden the ball back with just over seven minutes left. Sweden took over but could not move the ball and the Danes had another chance. Down by only 10 points with over six minutes left, Skyum drove Team Denmark down to the Swedish 24 yard line but stalled there. A missed field goal gave Sweden the ball with five minutes left. Starting at their own 25 yard line, Sweden marched down the field with Juhlin mixing up his play calling. He capped a 12 play 75 yard drive by hitting Dahre for a one yard touchdown and increasing the lead to 30-14, and more importantly, eating up almost five minutes.

Then Danish return man Tomas Ashworth returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards down to Sweden’s 25 yard line and Skyum found Nielsen for a touchdown closing the gap to 30-20 with 10 seconds left.

That was as close as they got as Sweden safely recovered the onside kick attempt and came away with a solid win.

Watch the highlights here.

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