Germany on top of Europe after eight years

Category: - published 2008-07-20 by

Playing in their sixth consecutive EJC final, Germany edged out Sweden 9-6 in a thrilling game to become European Champions for the first time since 2000. The championship is third for the German junior team, which lost the past three finals.
As both teams had played extremely tough defense in the group games of the EJC, the final went on as expected.

For the first three quarters both teams had big difficulties in moving the ball, and the punters had a big role in the battle for field position. Both punters were able to boom huge punts deep into the opponents territory.

Germany relied more on its running game, and completed a pass for the first time only at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Swedish offense put the ball in the air a bit more, but it also had a tough time against the German defense which allowed only two touchdowns in its first three games. Neither team was able to make big plays, but both also played errorfree football.

So it is fitting that maybe the most important play became after a botched punt snap at the start of the fourth quarter. The ball sailed over the head of German punter Paco Varol, but he managed to dodge the Swedish defenders, and rushed from twenty yards behind the line of scrimmage to get the 11 yards Germany needed for the first down. On the same drive Germany was the first team in the game to get within scoring distance, and kicked a 36 yard field goal with 6.36 left in the game.
After the field goal, the German team once again stopped the Swedish offence. With only 2.27 left in the clock, German running back Randall Pane broke a few tackles, and sprinted to the Swedish end zone.

“I didn’t think I would make it. But the fullback made the perfect block, and the linebacker maybe underestimated me a little because of my size”, Pane said about the game winning touchdown. He was awarded the final MVP trophy.

But Sweden would still make it a thrilling finish. With 1.36 left, Arnat Jobe caught Anders Hermodsson´s pass to make the score 9-6. The Swedes managed to recover the onside kick, but the German defense held its ground, and with the Swedish offense not able to convert a pass on 4th and 4 at midfield, the German celebrations began.

“This was a defensive battle, and our defense won the game for us, as the offense struggled. We did have luck with the broken play on the punt”, German Director of the National Team Program, Peter Springwald admitted.
“I think we were a stronger and a deeper team”.

Swedish head coach Jan Jenmert described the game as a tough loss.
“Our players had great respect regarding the final, and with respect comes nervousness. The Germans had been to the final before. Our defense played a heck of a game, but offense made some mistakes. This was devastating for the kids, an emotionally and physically tough game.” The silver medal was second for the Swedish junior national team.

In addition with Pane being the final MVP, German team’s MVP went to Paco Varol. The Swedish team MVP was Philip Wiederström, who grabbed the game’s only interception. Swedish running back Hampus Hellermark was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

The all-star selections will be published on the EFAF website on Monday.

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