Team Denmark gets by the Netherlands in IFAF European Championship qualifier

Team Denmark faced an entirely different Dutch Lions team Saturday at Gentofte Stadium outside of Copenhagen than had played the week before against Finland, but after a heated battle downed Team Netherlands 22-19 in IFAF 2020 European Championship qualifying.

Holland had been thrashed by Team Finland a week ago 55-0, looking disorganized and confused.

What a change a week makes.

Still, Denmark prevailed and will now face Finland to decide first place and a spot in the finals in 2020.

The Danes opened well driving down to the two yard line but wide receiver Philip Tue could not hold onto the touchdown pass from Alexander Kronborg and Denmark came away empty handed. However, on the next series for the Danes, Kronborg found Kasper Eriksen in the end zone. Søren Bakbøl added the two-point conversion and Denmark took an 8-0 lead.

Team Denmark DB Kasper Johansen (28) forces a safety after a bad long snap on a punt during the EC Qualifier Team Denmark vs Team Netherlands at Gentofte Stadion, Denmark, (2019-10-19). (Photo: Mikkel Bo Rasmussen / 1st Down Photo).

The Dutch offense responded as Ashneil Wehlerman hauled in a pass from Tom Van Dujin following a Mani Blijd run to narrow the gap to 8-6. Team Holland kicked the extra point to make it 8-7.

The Danish defense trapped Holland deep in their own zone and Mads Marquad got in front of a Dutch punt, deflecting it back into the end zone. A Dutch player falls on it for a safety and Denmark moved out to a 10-7 lead.

A few minutes later, Kronborg added to the lead, connecting with Thomas Zinck to increase it to 16-7 at the half.

Kronborg marched the Danes deep into Dutch territory to open the third quarter but a fourth down throw to Thue in the end zone was ruled out.

Two possessions later, Danish running back Lasse Lykke found a seam and burst through, racing 60 yards to increase the Danish lead to 22-7 late in the third quarter. However, Kronborg suffered a shoulder injury on the two-point conversion attempt and was forced to leave the game. Joakim Peter Falk stepped in to replace him and is picked off at the end of the quarter giving the Dutch the ball.

Two minutes later, Van Dujin found the end zone himself and Holland crept closer, 22-13.

Team Netherlands WR Ashneil Wehlerman (19) catches a touchdown pass from Team Netherlands QB Tom van Duin (4) during the EC Qualifier Team Denmark vs Team Netherlands at Gentofte Stadion, Denmark, (2019-10-19). (Photo: Mikkel Bo Rasmussen / 1st Down Photo).

With the Danish offense unable to move the ball, Van Dujin engineered another drive, this time moving his team down to the 10 yard line. On the next play, Blijd tossed the ball to Wehlerman on a halfback option and suddenly Holland was threatening, 22-19.

Denmark got the ball back with just over three minutes left, and immediately went into ball control mode, eating up as much time as possible. Holland still managed to halt the Danish drive and took the ball over with just under a minute left and 65 yards from the end zone.

They did not get much further though and Denmark celebrated an important win. The Danes now head to Finland next weekend to decide the winner of Division C.

AFI
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