The three assets of the Blues to conquer European bronze against Finland
The Covid-19 not only disrupted the progress of the League of Nations (new name for the European Championship), the matches scheduled for 2020 being played this year, but it also got the better of the ambitions of the France team. In the semi-finals, the Blues, reigning European champions, should have faced Italy on August 7. But, due to positive cases within the French selection, the meeting was canceled and Italy declared qualified for the final, where they will face Sweden tomorrow.
This Saturday, France will face Finland (1 p.m.), in Vantaa, on the outskirts of Helsinki, to try to win the bronze medal. In the event of victory, it would be the fourth podium of the Blues at the Euro (with the silver of 2010 and the bronze of 2014). But beware of Finland, a major nation of American football in Europe, which has five continental titles and had finished in bronze during the last edition. The French chances of getting on the podium again depend in part on three major players.
Bertellin (27) took part this year in the first season of the European League of Football (ELF), an eight-team semi-professional Championship (six in Germany, plus Wroclaw, Poland, and Barcelona). Under the colors of the Barcelona Dragons, the French wide receiver distinguished himself with 750 yards and seven touchdowns, in just 47 receptions. What earned him to appear in the All-Star Team of the ELF. But that didn’t allow the Dragons to flare up. The Spanish franchise has in fact won only three out of ten matches.
Previously, Rémi Bertellin had discovered American football with the Météores de Fontenay-sous-Bois, in the Paris region. He then played for the prestigious Canadian university of McGill (in Montreal), known for having played one of the first matches in the history of American football, in 1874.
One of the veterans of the selection and also a real globetrotter. Trained with the Caymans of Le Mans, Courageous (30 years old) then played in Germany, Sweden and Finland. And the safety was also part of the ELF adventure, with the Wroclaw Panthers reaching the semi-finals. Courageous has been international since 2014. He was notably part of the France team which won the gold medal at the World Games in 2017.
On the other hand, he had to ignore the 2018 European Championship, where the Blues had been crowned for the first time in their history (28-14 victory over Austria in the final). The match against Finland will therefore be an opportunity for him to win a second bronze medal at the Euro after that of 2014.
Adel Bafdile is young (23 years old), but already has a rich career. The cornerback started American football at Les Molosses d’Asnières, before also heading to Canada. Bafdile played for the Faucons de Montmorency, a university team in Laval (Quebec). Under the blue jersey, he was the great architect of the qualification for the semifinals of the League of Nations against Serbia (13-7), in November 2019, with three interceptions, including one for a touchdown, and one kick return from nearly 80 yards.
After his stay in Canada, Bafdile returned to the Molossians. But the absence of the French Championship, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, sent him on an adventure. The youngster joined the Kuopio Steelers in Finland this year. There he was champion and MVP of the final. No doubt he took the opportunity to identify those who will be his opponents this afternoon.