Contributed by: Ian Hill
In a major upset, Germany have defeated Sweden in the first match of the Northern European Tri-Series in Berlin, to claim their first win in a test-level international. The Black Eagles led Sweden 9.8 (62) to 0.2 (2) at half time, before the Elks staged a major comeback to go down 11.11 (77) to 11.6 (72).
The Northern European Tri Series of international matches involving Denmark, Sweden and Germany got under way on the weekend with a match between Germany and Sweden in Berlin.
With the venues being reversed from last year’s series, the Germans must have fancied themselves a chance. They were competitive against Sweden in 2006 in Landskrona, so with the home ground advantage and an extra year under their belts, the Eagles were quietly optimistic.
But even they must have been shocked with a half time score-line of 9.8(62) to two behinds – a ten goal lead to the home side – not bad considering their entire output last year came to no more than 2.13.
To their credit, though, the undermanned Elks clawed their way back in to the game and in the end went down by only five points in a thriller. Nevertheless a very satisfying and surprising inaugural win on the international stage for Germany - 11.11 (77) to 11.6 (72).
The AFLG had this report of the match: "The tight, but highly-deserved win against the Swedish side is the first-ever for an all-German team in an international match. The team of coach David Mudge was in the right mindset from the start, and left the Swedes without a hope in the first half. Not until the second half could the Swedes get back in the game, avoiding a major thumping. Particularly in the third team were the guests clearly the better team, although tough team play from the Germans in the last quarter saw their lead succesfully defended.
Best players for the Germans were Phil Giessen (Rheinland) and Aaron Akrutat (Hamburg).
Full scores and goalkickers are available at the footy record, here.
The match was typical of most international games at this early stage of the sport's global development, with the travelling team being far from their best 20 players. Selection for Sweden was purely a matter of who wanted to go or who could afford it - according to the Footy Record, two of the Swedes were playing their first game of footy ever.
Swedish footy administrators will no doubt console themselves with that fact as far as on-field development is concerned. However it must also be remembered that creating the interest and enthusiasm to get your best players wanting to play such games is also part and parcel of developing the game, and that must be a concern for Swedish footy right now.
But for their part the Germans will be more than happy to take the win, as they approach their away game of the series against Denmark in Farum on July 28. It's a fixture they lost heavily last year in Bielefeld, and so they will be after every piece of encouragement they can get.
The series will complete with the Sweden v Denmark "local derby" in Landskrona on September 29 - AFL Grand Final day ... it's a fixture that may be developing into a small tradition between the Scandinavian neighbours.
World Footy News