The U19 European Championship will definitely go to Scandinavia, but who will be crowned as champions of Europe and book a ticket to the World Championship.
Photo: Riita Rinta- Tassi
As both teams won their respective game against Finland, Denmark and Sweden will play each other for the European on Friday. Denmark won 35-24 on Wednesday and Sweden, powered by quarterback Michael Cox Jr, who had 248 rushing yards, beat the Finns by 61-30 Thursday.
Finland had no means to stop Cox and the big question for this game will be, if Denmark can find some way to contain the talented and athletic quarterback, while not lose focus on coverage downfield, because he also has a strong and – especially after European standards – a very precise arm.
Swedish size and strength
To protect him, the Swedes have a strong and heavy offensive line, with five guys who are almost 2 meters high and have combined weight of more than 600 kilos. Adding to this heavy offence is the two big Tight Ends Axel Ripa and Robin Jutwreten, who the Swedes often use together in a jumbo-package.
Last time the two teams met was at the Nordic Championship in 2016 where Sweden won a 48-13 victory, build on a run-heavy game plan, where the Swedish quarterback only attempted four passes all game. One of the stars of that game was running back Vilinthon Tengroth, who was sidelined for most of the game against Finland.
If he is ready for tomorrow he will give the Swedish offence an extra dimension and the Danish defenders even more to worry about.
Speed is the key for Denmark
If Denmark shall keep Sweden out of the endzone, finding a way to contain Cox Jr. is important, but to win the game they have to score themselves. And while the Swedes might look bigger and stronger, they lack in speed.
During the game against Finland, the Swedish defense struggled at times to keep pace with the Finnish up-tempo offence, and Denmark has to exploit that weakness.
“On defence we obviously had some problems that we need to correct before tomorrow, because the Danish team will bring some extra speed to the game. They’re quick and agile,” Swedish head coach Andreas Ehrenreich said after the game against Finland.
On the Danish team the Swedes will have to look out for running back #1 Emil Neumann-Pedersen, who ran for more than 150 yards against Finland and wide receivers #82 Thomas Ashworth and #7 Nicholas Kaplan.
The game kicks off at 18.00 at Gentofte Stadium, Ved Stadion 10, 2820 Gentofte.
Tickets can be purchased at daff.safeticket.dk or in the door. Doors open one hour before kick-off. If you can’t get to Gentofte Stadium don’t worry, all the matches are streamed live on Zibrasport.dk/daff/live/