Dominating first half brings France the bronze medals

Category: - published 2008-07-20 by

Playing tough defence and scoring on four of its first five drives, the French team takes home the bronze medals and the right to take part in the World Cup next year in Canton, Ohio. France beat Denmark 28-14.
After defeating Finland to advance to the medal round for the first time, the Danish could not match the speed of the defending European champions.

France rushed for a total of 244 yards, with a 6,9 average, and grabbed four interceptions, three in the first half, from Danish quarterback Jesper Johnsen.

From the beginning, it seemed that Denmark did not have the same kind of intensity as in the 46-6 victory over Finland. After a turnover by each team, the French took over. With the offensive line blocking superbly, the French running backs had huge holes to run through. On the defensive side of the ball, the French seemed to be all over the Danish ballcarriers.

Maxime Sprauel and Steven Joacin each scored rushing touchdowns, with team MVP Thomas Ruiz adding a 47 yard score at the start of the second quarter to make the score 21-0. Danish receiver Shujaa Benson scored on a 36 yard pass from Johnsen, but the French responded with Joacin hammering his second touchdown from three yards out with 2.51 left in the half. The Danes tried to race for a score before halftime, but the drive ended on Johnsen’s third interception of the day.

After halftime, the intensity level of the game dropped, and France started substituting in more of the team’s backups. Benson scored his second touchdown with a minute left in the game, but the Danes could not threaten the French lead at any point in the second half.

“We were close to beating Sweden for a place in the final, so it was difficult to focus on this. But we took this as our final, and played a good game”, French head coach Olivier Moret said. As the top three of the EJC 2008 qualify for next year’s World Cup, the bronze medals meant also that France will be taking part in the games in Canton. But Moret did not use the World Cup as a motivational tool in preparing his team for the game.

“Many of these players will be overage, so they will not go to the World Cup. So we did not say a word about it”.
Champion in the past two EJC:s, France now goes home with the bronze medals.

“I think tournament is more even than before. The gap between the best teams and the others is smaller now”, Moret said.

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