the third IFAF World Championship 2007 in Kawasaki is finally set to kick off
|With much of the excitement and expectation, the third IFAF World Championship 2007 in Kawasaki is finally set to kick off.
All the six countries have arrived at the city of Kawasaki and wait for the only international tournament of American football to start on Saturday.
``One thing we know in this tournament is we’re going to have some great games,’’ said International Federation of American football president Tommy Wiking in a press conference held Friday within 24 hours before the kickoff of first game. ``For the first time, we have the United States here, which is much important, and it’s going to be the best tournament.’’
One player of each representative nation attended the press conference and spoke about the expectations of the tournament.
``It’s very important to play in this tournament for us. It’s a big deal. It’s like a playing in the Super Bowl,’’ Sweden RB Joakim Holm told. Sweden plays Japan and France in Pool 1 action.
Sweden’s European counterpart France hopes to avenge a 6-22 loss to Japan in the 2003 World Championship in Frankfurt. France is scheduled to play Japan in the opening game of the World Championship at 6:10 p.m. at Todoroki Track and Field Stadium on Saturday.
``We had a training camp in Paris and came together as a team. We also responded well to the travel,’’ TE Yoan Schnee said. ``We’re very excited to play Japan tomorrow for the revenge of 2003 World Championship.’’
Schnee told later that a big challenge for France to take on host Japan is to defend its passing attack. But he showed some confidence on defense, saying, ``Our offense can match Japan’s defense,’’ though he refused to discuss about the details.
Japan QB Kentaro Namiki vowed his excitement and responsibility as a member of the host and defending champion.
``I’m pleased to take part in the tourney as a member of Japan national team, especially when we enter as the defending champion,’’ Namiki said. ``We have the six of the strongest teams of the world here. We want make this the best World Championship ever in history.’’
Now the World Championship for the first time will see the United States, the homeland of American football, play the games in the international tournament. And the Team USA is excited to play in the world-wide competition.
``We put together as a pretty good team through the training camp in San Jose,’’ QB Adam Austin commented. ``During the two-week practice, everybody has come together and that is very important for the plays.’’
Many pick up the U.S. as the favorite of the tournament, but Austin sounded pretty moderate when he said, ``We’re not expected to win automatically just because we were born in the United States.’’
The United States plays Germany and Korea in Pool 2.
Germany held a training camp in Frankfurt before visiting Japan. ``We also came together as a good team with young player and experienced players,’’ Germany DL Dennis Engelbrecht said.
Korea is the other team to make its debut in the World Championship. Korea made the entry by defeating Australian in the Asia/Oceania qualification tournament. It was Korea’s first ever victory in an international game.
``In Korea, there is an old saying that goes `even a small red pepper is very hot.’ We’re small in the size, but want to show `we’re hot,’’’ WR Seo Chang Ho said.
The World Championship runs through July 7 to 15 with nine games being played. Most games are held at Kawasaki Stadium but he opener and final are at Todoroki Track and Field Stadium.