By Todd Bell, USA Football
KAWASAKI, JAPAN — After two weeks of stateside training camp and three workouts in Tokyo, USA Football’s senior national team will make its debut at the 2007 World Championship of American Football on Tuesday night when it takes the field against Korea in Kawasaki, Japan.
This year’s tournament, the third staged by the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), will be the first to feature the country that invented the sport. Host Japan won the previous two championships in 1999 and 2003.
The U.S. will face a Korea team that is also making its first appearance in the World Championship. Team Korea fell to Germany, 32-2, in its first game on Sunday. The undersized Korean squad was overwhelmed by a German team that controlled the line of scrimmage from the first play of the game.
Offensively, quarterback Adam Austin of Arizona was selected by his teammates as one of Team USA’s two captains for the tournament. Austin is excited to finally be on the field after three weeks of practice.
“We really want to help spread football around the world and this is way to get it started. It’s a privilege and an honor to be a part of this team.”
Defensively, Northwestern linebacker Demetrius Eaton captains a unit that will have a significant size and speed advantage over Korea.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this first game,” Eaton said. “I’m ready to get on the field and see what we can do as a team.”
Tuesday’s game will kick off at 7:10 p.m. Japan time, 6:10 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time in the United States.
KOREA REVIEW: Team Korea opened the 2007 World Championship of American Football with a 32-2 loss to Germany on Sunday evening. Korea was limited to just 25 total yards on 28 offensive plays against Germany while its defense surrendered 379 yards on 57 snaps to Germany and only forced one punt on the evening, which resulted in Korea’s only points when the ball was snapped over the punter’s head.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Korea defeated Australia, 22-13, in the Asia/Oceania qualifier earlier this year in Sydney. The victory was the first for Korea in national team competition.
KOREA PLAYERS TO WATCH: Quarterback Kim Kyoung Min played collegiately in Japan at Kyoto University, traditionally one of Japan’s top collegiate programs. He now plays professionally for the Tokyo Bullseyes in Japan’s X-League. Min completed four of nine passes for 41 yards against Germany. Min ran for one touchdown and threw for another in Korea’s qualifier victory over Australia in January. Linebackers In Su Jung and Tae Bum Kim both recorded a team-high eight tackles against Germany.
USA GAME CAPTAINS: In addition to Austin and Eaton, the Team USA coaching staff will select two game captains for each USA contest. Harvard linebacker Ryan Tully and Gardner-Webb center Kris King earned that honor for the Korea game.
OTHER TOURNAMENT ACTION: Japan defeated France, 48-0, in the opening game of the 2007 World Championship of American Football on Saturday evening. France meets Sweden on Tuesday afternoon in its final pool play game. A Sweden victory would relegate France to the 5th place game on July 14. Tuesday’s game will be the first for Sweden in the tournament. They will face Japan on July 12.
INTERNATIONAL RULES: All World Championship games are played under 2006 NCAA rules with two exceptions. Quarters will be 12 minutes in length and there will be no use of instant replay.