Denmark and Finland open the Under-19 European Championship, when the two teams meet at Gentofte Stadion on Wednesday.
Photo: Riitta Rinta-Tassi
Blue Lions missing strong profiles from 2016
The two head coaches must be very familiar with the opponent, as the two teams have run into each other at several occasions. Last time at the Nordic Championship in 2016, where the eventual winners of the tournament from Finland, won the game 56-14.
The Danish team will seek to revenge that humiliating defeat and keep the chance of booking a world championship-ticket alive.
And the blue lions from Finland will be without some of their big profiles from that game, including quarterback Oscar Drockila who has club duty with his Czech team Ostrava Steelers and running back Karri Pajarinen. So, it is “next man up” for the Finnish head coach.
“We are above all a team,” head coach Tero Virtanen tells salj.fi. “We play two games virtually every day. That’s why it’s important for us to have 45 players in our hands, each of whom can put the ball in any situation.”
Talented linemen on both sides
The Finnish team will instead be led by quarterback Viljami Rautavuori from Helsinki Wolverines and on defense by the 1,87 meters and 140 kilos heavy defensive lineman Aleksi Olavuo also from Wolverines. Also standing out is the huge offensive lineman Mikko Rajala from Turku Trojans. The 18-year old is 1,92 tall and listed at 145 kilos.
On the other side, the Danish head coach Lars Carlsen, is also missing one of his most talented players. Middle linebacker Magnus Vöge, who is getting ready to play his senior year of high school football in Oklahoma.
The head coach must put his hopes that a talented offensive line spearheaded by Kasper Kaufmann Sørensen from AaB 89ers, can make space for running back Emil Neumann from Søllerød Gold Diggers. Wide Receiver Thomas Ashworth from Søllerød Gold Diggers will have to have a good game, if the hosts shall hope for a win.
The game kicks off at 12.00 at Gentofte Stadium, Ved Stadion 10, 2820 Gentofte.
Tickets can be purchased at daff.safeticket.dk or in the door. If you can’t get to Gentofte Stadium don’t worry, all the matches are streamed live on Zibrasport.dk/daff/live/