Europe's greatest rivalry of American football was led an end for now, until the next European Championship in 2009.
Marcel Duft returned a punt for 85 yards for the game’s only touchdown with 2:26 remaining in the third quarter and Germany defeated Sweden 7-0 to win the bronze medal of the third IFAF World Championship on Saturday at Kawasaki Stadium. Sweden finished in fourth place.
"It was a tough game especially in the first half," German defensive coordinator Walter Rohlfing said. "Our defense played patiently and waited for Sweden to make mistakes, but Sweden did not commit many. We scored on the special team in the second half and we played very conservatively to keep our goal line clean."
"It was hard for the offense to get into the game because of the rain," Duft said. "I was just lucky to find a right hole to return the punt. Every blocker had the assigned man. It was lucky for me."
The third-place playoff turned out to be the matchup of the Swedish passing attack versus the German ground attack. Despite the typhoon-affect heavy rain and the slippery ball, Sweden aggressively attacked in the air while German went for a conservative running game.
Sweden completed 11 of 30 attempts, 21 more than Germany, for 94 yards, but the slippery ball caused some dropped passes. Germany gained 78 yards on the ground, but failed to show its explosion because of the conservative play call.
Both teams struggled in the first half. Sweden had some drives going with aggressive passing attack, but failed to keep the drives thanks to some dropped passes or unsuccessful running plays. Germany, on the other hand, did not get the first down in five first-half possessions.
In the second half, the German rushing attack started to fire. On the first play of the third quarter, Patrick Geiger rushed for 49 yards to the Sweden 29 yards. After three plays, Germany had a chance for the leadoff score with 9:40 left in that period, but a 42-yard field goal attempt by Sfeffen Doelger went wide left to keep the game scoreless.
Germany had another scoring chance slipped away when it lost a possession, which was earned by an interception by Oliver Flemming, to a fumble at the Sweden 22-yard line with three minutes to play.
Germany tried to run out the clock with Geiger’s rush in its final possession , but was forced a punt. Punter Doelger failed to catch a snap and Sweden had the final possession at the Germany 27 with 0:11 remaining. Sweden quarterback Carl-Johan Haraldson threw two passes into the end zone, but neither completed and the clock ran out.
``Our goal was to come here and win the championship because I believe Sweden is in the place to aim for it,’’ Sweden head coach B.D. Kenney said. `` We’ve established ourselves as a nation to be able to compete in American football.’’