Switzerland defeats Slovakia, Qualifies for IFAF Europe Group B

Team Switzerland is the second team to qualify for the IFAF Europe Group B tournament in 2016 after defeating the visiting Team Slovakia 21-0 in Basel, Switzerland. Israel had already qualified by beating Spain a month ago.

In a game in which neither team could mount much offense. Switzerland’s starting quarterback Marcel Niklaus performed well but suffered a broken arm in the first quarter after completing four of six passes. His two replacements struggled after that and Switzerland could only muster 60 yards passing as defenses ruled the day. But Switzerland’s running game led by Moritz Stein and Tino Muggwyler rolled up 123 yards rushing to help maintain possession of the ball and control the game.

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Vincent Cottier heading into the end zone after recovering a blocked FG

Quarterback Marcel Niklaus threw to Adrian Sunderhaf for one touchdown, while Stein scored another and Vincent Cottier picked up a blocked field goal attempt and took it 83 yards for the score. Cottier also picked off Slovakia’s quarterback Boris Butora to set up the first touchdown.

The Swiss defense played with a vengeance at times led by Dominic Liechti’s two sacks and six tackles. Allan Golay also added two sacks while Michael Wilhelmi and Gael Jimenez recorded one each.

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Switzerland’s front seven had Boris Butora in trouble all game

Slovakian quarterback Butora completed 15 of 28 passes for 131 yards and two interceptions, and found himself in trouble much of the night without time to find his receivers. The Swiss front seven held Slovakia to 34 yards total on the ground.

Swiss head coach Chris Winter sees this as a step forward for the team:

“It was another step in the right direction. The most satisfying aspect besides the win is knowing we have lots of areas in which we can improve which means we as coaches can still considerably influence the team’s future performance.”

Slovakian head coach Greg Anderson was not unhappy with his team:

“They battled throughout the game. Switzerland has a very good team and I think my players were overcome by the importance of the game. This was a big game for them and I think they were too aware of it. This is a young program and we will continue to improve.”

Photo credit: Gerd Gruendl

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.