France Tops Austria for European American Football Title


France RB Jason Aguemon led the French ground game

Just a month fresh of France winning the World Cup in the world’s most popular version of football, France’s American Football all-stars won another title, although probably not as celebrated as the World Cup, when they came back from an early deficit to defeat Austria 28-14.  France claimed their first International Federation of American Football (IFAF) title in Vantaa, Finland on Saturday.

Trailing 14-7 at the half, France staged an outstanding second half offensive display while the defense shut down the vaunted Austrian running game. France opened the scoring though in a first half that resembled a chess match between the two head coaches France’s Patrick Esume and Shuan Fatah from Austria.

French quarterback Paul Durand, who was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, connected with Andrew James in the first quarter to give France a 7-0 lead.  Austria responded as the Austrian offensive line started opening up huge holes and running back Sandro Platzgummer who had played brilliantly all tournament long, found a gap and raced 41 yards to tie the game up at 7-7. The Austrian defense continued to dominate while quarterback Alexander Thury caught France in one on one coverage against huge wide receiver Bernhard Seikovits throwing it to him in the corner of the end zone to give Austria a 14-7 lead.

France set the tone on their opening drive of the second half driving to the Austrian 44 yard line and then Durand handed the ball off the running back Jason Aguemon on a draw play who got outside and scampered down the sideline to score the tying touchdown with three minutes gone in the third quarter.

With Austria unable to move the ball, France took over again on their own 37 yard line with just over seven minutes left in the quarter. Durand mixed up his play calling driving France down to t Austria’s one yard line and found Jerome Valbon all alone for the go ahead touchdown.

The France defense kept playing brilliant football and France took over again, at the 10 minute mark of the fourth quarter. Durand engineered a 75 yard, clock-eating, five minute long drive capping it with a beautiful 20 yard touchdown pass to Jefferson Alexandre to extend the lead to 28-14.

Austria’s offense simply could not move the ball after that. Despite two possessions in the final five minutes, including getting the ball with a minute and a half after an interception, Austria’s offense was unable to find the end zone. A final incompletion with a minute left from Thury to Adrian Platzgummer sealed the historic win for France.

Click here to watch highlights from the game.

Here are the scores from the IFAF European Tournament:

  • First Round
    • Israel 28, Spain 20
    • Switzerland 21, Slovakia 0
    • Russia 20, Norway 0
    • Serbia 56, Hungary 0
    • Czech Republic 14, Poland 7
    • Netherlands 17, Belgium 3
  • Second Round
    • Italy 40, Israel 10
    • Serbia 17, Switzerland 0
    • Great Britain 30, Russia 3
    • Czech Republic 20, Netherlands 13
  • Third Round
    • Italy 17, Serbia 14
    • Great Britain 38, Czech Republic 13
  • Group Round
    • Group A
      • Austria (2-0)
      • Sweden (1-1)
      • Denmark (0-2)
    • Group B
      • France (2-0)
      • Finland (1-1)
      • Great Britain (0-2)
  • Bronze Medal Game:  Finland 35, Sweden 21

Thanks to the American Football International website for the game reports and highlights.  If you want to know more about American Football being played around the world, you really need to visit their site and subscribe.

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