Team USA sweeps men’s and women’s gold medal finals at IFAF Flag Football World Championships

After a grueling three days of competition in Jerusalem, the IFAF Flag Football World Championships have come to an end. Over 110 games were played by the 22 competing nations as both men’s and women’s teams from around the world represented their respective countries with pride.

Yesterday, December 8th marked the last day of the competition as the highly anticipated medal games continued throughout the day.

Unsurprisingly, at the top of the podium, USA cruised to gold in both the men’s and women’s categories. The men’s team blew by Germany and Panama in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds before defeating Mexico 44-41 in a thrilling gold medal game. Under heavy winds and rain, the USA faced their toughest competition of the tournament trailing for the first time 28-23 at the half. A roller-coaster second half became a nail-biter as the US pulled off a 12-point comeback. A clutch interception followed by a 2-minute drill touchdown gave the US a razor-thin 44-41 lead with less than a minute remaining. Mexico had one last chance to win it as they drove to midfield with 43 seconds remaining yet were unable to find the endzone.

USA’s women’s team mirrored the men’s performance as they also defeated Mexico to claim gold.  After largely dominating Austria and Japan in the playoffs, the US had to earn their championship in a hard-fought 31-21 gold medal game. Receiver Sheneika Adger Comice was a force throughout their undefeated gold medal run making two clutch touchdown grabs in the second half.

Mexico claims double silver medals as both their men’s and women’s teams made it to the tournament’s pinnacle game. The Mexican men’s team had a strong tournament performance defeating Italy and Germany in the playoffs. They went on to play extremely well in the championship giving the US all they could handle until the game’s final seconds. After taking a 28-23 lead at the half, Mexico traded blows with the US and grew their lead to 35-23, before falling just short in the game’s final minute.

Also finishing with Silver, the Mexican women dominated Brazil prior to their gold medal defeat. Mexico’s women’s team also had the US on upset alert leading 21-19 at the half. However, a scoreless second half eventually did them in as the US pulled away to claim gold. Mexico’s exciting style of play created maybe the most entertaining play of the tournament as they defeated Austria:

Medal intrigue started off as the bronze medal matches kicked off the final day of the competition. Austria’s women’s team was able to claim a medal as they defeated Brazil 26-13 in a tough defensive game. Austria came out of the gates strong quickly jumping out to a 13-0 lead. From there, they were able to get some key stops from their defense, thwarting a valiant comeback effort from Brazil.

On the men’s side of bronze, Panama faced off against Italy in a back-and-forth affair. Panama’s Jofiel Rogers scored to tie the game at the half with an incredible catch and run. Italy answered quickly as quarterback Luke Zahradka found former CFL receiver Jordan Bouah deep for a touchdown. The two skilled team’s traded big plays throughout an exciting second half until a clutch last-second defensive stop from Panama sealed their place on the podium.

The three-day tournament finally ended as gold, silver, and bronze medals were handed out yesterday afternoon. Four different countries returned home with medals, including overwhelming favorites USA and Mexico claiming gold and silver respectively, while underdogs Austria, and Panama found their way to the podium claiming bronze. Overall, the tournament appeared to be a great success and advertisement for the global growth of American football. IFAF was able to double its participating teams from the 2018 tournament in Panama and build crucial momentum for future events.

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football