Friday, July 15, 2011

Going for Gold in Austria

When Adriano Belli left Canada he made a stop in at the Prime Time Sports studio, guesting for a segment on Bob McCown's afternoon talk show based out of Toronto.

The topic for Belli's drop in was the then upcoming International Federation of American Football championships, set to take place in Austria, a fairly little known week of "American style football", that featured players mostly in their twenties from a wide range of countries from Europe to Japan, Australia and the USA.

A tournament which began in 1999 and takes place every four years.  One which Canada was entering for the first time this year and to which Belli would be returning to the field for his curtain call after his recent retirement from the CFL.

As a parting remark, Belli told McCown to save a place in the studio for the trophy as he intended on bringing it back to Canada along with the title champions, fast forward a couple of weeks and depending on how things go on Saturday in Austria, Belli may be about to deliver.

The Canadian squad is made up mainly of current and former CIS and NCAA players and those currently playing in Europe, with a smattering of former CFLers such as Belli , Brian Guebert, Sammy Okpro and Sherko Haji-Rasouli.

The seven man coaching staff is led by Larry Haylor formerly of Western University, along with Blake Nill of the University of Calgary who serves as his defensive co-ordinator and Greg Marshall, the former Hamilton Tiger Cat head coach and now head coach of Western, Marshall is handling the offensive coordinators duties in Austria.

Canada has had a pretty spectacular debut in the now twelve year old championship, going undefeated in its round robin session and serving notice that in the world of Senior Men's football there may be a new power in the mix.

On the way to Saturday's championship game, Canada defeated France 45-10 and topped Austria by a score of 36-14,  the Canadians moved on to the final round after a 31-27 victory over Japan on Wednesday and now are set to take the field tomorrow to play the defending champion USA.

Saturday's final takes place in Vienna, with a game time of 7 PM in Vienna, (1 PM ET, 10 AM PT).

For a glimpse in to see how Canada is doing up against it's long time North American rival, there are plans to have a live stream available through the IFAF website.

While the Canadians are confident they won't want to put too much stock into a recent poll on that IFAF website that by Friday night had them as the favourite of 60 percent of respondents, a sampling that is predicting Canada to come out on top at the end of Saturday's game.

When it comes to competition, Canada usually digs down deep when it comes to match up with their southern neighbours, and well, when it comes to football we imagine there is just a little bit more effort ready to be applied.

Canada, more than anyone else probably know that it takes a full sixty minute effort on the field to claim a title, but with growing confidence through the week, a lot of hard work and yes, a little bit of luck, there's a pretty good chance that when Adriano gets back from his European vacation, he is going to have some pretty impressive things to show Mr. McCown and his audience.

Austria 2011 home page
Austria 2011 video page

IFAF website home page

Globe and Mail-- Canada earns berth in senior men's football final
Montreal Gazette-- Canada advances to world football title game
CJBK-- Canada to play U. S. for Gold at Football Worlds
Saskatoon Star Phoenix-- Canada to play for gold
Saskatoon Star Phoenix-- Canada undefeated in football
Globe and Mail-- Former CFL star Belli leads Canadian squad in Austria
Kingston Whig Standard-- Queens grad playing for his country
Daily Yomiuri-- Canada ends Japan's title hopes


USA 50 Canada 7
USA wins Gold Medal

Bob McCown is safe, Adriano Belli will not be returning from Europe bearing kisses and trophies, Canada which had a fairly impressive run in the preliminary and playoff rounds, came up flat and over matched in the final against a powerful US squad.

Thirty points in the second quarter by the Americans put the exclamation point on Canada's first foray in the World Football Championship, the US had a 37-7 lead at half time and never seemed to be in any danger of a Canadian comeback.

While Canada played well against the European teams and in its semi final with Japan, their efforts seemed futile at times as the Americans executed their game plan to near perfection.  There were glimmers of hope for the Canadians, who at times seemed to mount drives that never seemed to translate into points on the board.

Globe ban Mail-- US Clobbers Canada in World Senior Football Final
Washington Post-- KMic scores 2 TDs, Harry runs for 105 yards and 1 TD as US beats...
Montreal Gazette-- US thumps Canada in world football final
Saskatoon Star Phoenix-- U. S. beats Canada in football final

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