The U19 European Championship kicked off today when Denmark hosted Finland. And even though the final score was close, the home team was in good control of the game from start to finish.
Photo: Chris Palmgren
After the national anthems was sung and the coin toss was performed by former Indianapolis Colts player Björn Werner, Denmark started with the ball and on the first drive WR #82 Thomas Ashworth found the endzone on a short run.
Finland answered right back with a field goal, but the Danes enhanced their lead shortly after when quarterback #6 Mads Hagen Jakobsens scrambled for 44 yards.
On the next drive it was Finlands turn to get in the endzone. QB #8 Viljami Rautavirta found WR #82 Markus Haapasaari with a 21 yard pass.
In the second quarter Denmark scored twice. First RB #1 Mads Neumann-Pedersen who ran for eight yards and afterwards Mads Hagen Jakobsen found his receiver #7 Nicholas Kaplan in the corner of the endzone.
After a mostly uneventful third quarter, Denmark got another touchdown in the beginning of the fourth quarter when Mads Hagen Jakobsen found Thomas Ashworth, who scored his second touchdown and extended the Danish lead to 35-10.
The Finns tried to create a comeback late in the game and the “Blue Lions” found the endzone twice, but the Danish lead was too big.
Danes: We lost focus
After the game, the Danish Head Coach, Lars Carlsen, said he was pleased with his team’s effort, especially in the first half. But the Danes will have to play through all four quarters if they are to beat the Swedes.
“We played a really good first half, dominating the Finns, but we lost focus in the second,” he said on a press conference afterwards. “We still are a young team and have not played games on this level before, and against a really good team like Finland, you can’t take the eyes of the ball.”
He was happy with the win, but more important the second half was a good learning process for his team. “On this level you’ve to play the game to the end,” he said.
Finns: A two-sided game
Denmark was the best team in the first half but the Finns came back strong in the second, the Finnish Head Coach Tero Virtanen said after the game.
“We started slow and dug ourselves in a hole in the first half. Down 18 point we fought back. Fighting like we should’ve done in the first,” he said.
Game MVP from Denmark: RB #1 Emil Neumann-Pedersen. The Danish running back showed speed, strength and agility and his 166 yards on 24 carries and one touchdown, was important for the Danish victory.
Honorable mentions to Danish RB/KR #18 Lasse Steemann Engel who ran for 93 yards on 12 carrieres and also contributed well on special teams.
Game MVP from Finland: DB #41 Mikko Behn had a strong performance with two interceptions.
The next game for Finland is tomorrow, Thursday at 15.00, when the play their archrivals from Sweden. Denmark has a resting day before they meet Sweden on Friday at 18.00.
Both games will be played on Gentofte Stadion. The winner of the U19 European Championship will book a ticket to the IFAF World Championship.
Scoring summary: Denmark 35 – Finland 24
7-0 Touchdown #82 Thomas Ashworth (PAT good)
7-3 Field goal, # 3 K Otto Laakonen, 36 yards
14-3 Touchdown #6 Mads Hagen Jakobsen, 45 yards run (PAT good)
14-10 Touchdown #82 20 yard pass from #8 (PAT good)
21-10 Touchdown #1, run (PAT good)
28-10 Touchdown #7 Nicholas Kaplan pass from #1 Mads Hagen Jakobsen (PAT good)
35-10 Touchdown #82 Thomas Ashworth pass from #6 Mads Hagen Jakobsen (PAT good)
35-16 Touchdown #36 Onni Soininen 8 yard pass from #6 Viljami Rautavirta (Two-point conversion no good)
35-24 Touchdown, Fumble recovered in the endzone by OL #50 Tony Koskinen ((Two-point conversion good)