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EC 2010: Team France surprised Sweden
Team France surprised in its first match during the European Championship. They beat the reign champion Sweden 14-7 and will now face Great Britain upcoming Tuesday. If they will win again, they are already qualified for the gold medal game next Saturday in Frankfurt. More than 1.100 people attended the game, which was held in Wetzlar, about 70 kilometers north of Frankfurt. EFAF officials were impressed by the atmosphere and were able to see a match with a lot of suspense.
It was tough game for both teams, who both struggled in offense and could not find any rhythm during the match. France, which was led by QB Max Sprauel, took the first lead in the middle of the first quarter after a 33-yard field goal by K Bruno Nekili. It was the only drive in the first period, where one of the two teams was able to convert on third down situations.
- I could sense the nervousness of the team, France's head coach Larry Legault said.
Sweden was able to take over the lead right before half time after a big play. QB Anders Hermodsson connected with a 51 yard pass to WR Jesper Hermodsson and brought the ball to the French 5 yard line. On his second attempt Anders Hermodsson could connect a ball to NT Johan Asker, playing at tight end in a goalline formation.
But France was not shocked by the Swedish lead and came back after half time. Again they were able to make some good decisions on offense. On their second drive veteran RB Laurent Marceline and QB Max Sprauel led their team into field goal range and K Bruno Nekili scored his 2nd field goal, this time from 29 yards.
After the French defense forced Sweden again to 3-and-out, there was again the French connection between Sprauel, Marceline and WR Marco Soumah. A decent 50 yard pass to rookie WR Jeremy Rabot brought the lone touchdown for France. RB Laurent Marceline converted the two point conversion.
From this point of the game both defense took over control and shut down the opponent offense. Team France had the chance to extend the lead by another field goal. But this time K Bruno Nekili failed from 48 yards. In the last 18 seconds Sweden was forced to throw deep passes to tie the game, but the third attempt was intercepted by DB Nuno Dos Santos.
- The game could have gone either way. The biggest thing was the missed tackle on the touchdown, Sweden's head coach Johan Björklund said about Rabot's touchdown. Quarterback Anders Hermodsson often had to carry his team's offense on hs own.
- I'm disappointed at my own play. I made too many mistakes and played sloppy.
Marc-Angelo Soumah, the president of the French federation and a wide receiver in the national team, was his teams leading receiver in catches with four.