Game previews: July 7

IFAF Under-19 World Championship Medal Round contests kick off Saturday, July 7, at Burger Stadium in Austin, Texas.

Here is a look at those games:

Bronze Medal game: No. 3 Japan vs. No. 5 Austria

5 p.m.

Austria seeks a bronze medal in its first IFAF Under-19 World Championship as Japan looks to maintain repeat its previous performance, having earned the bronze in 2009 in Canton, Ohio. The tournament’s top European seed, Austria can become the first team from that continent to defeat Japan in IFAF Under-19 World Championship play as well as the first European team to earn a medal in the tournament’s history. Japan is 2-0 against Europe, having beaten Germany, 10-7, in 2009 and France, 27-6, last Saturday in Austin.

Aiming to avenge its second-round meltdown to the United States, Austria hopes to return to the form it showed against Panama when its quarterbacks combined to complete 12-of-19 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns. Japan has scored first in both of its games and has posted at least 24 points in each contest. The Japanese stayed within striking distance against Canada on Wednesday, despite throwing five interceptions.

FIRST ROUND

Japan defeated No. 6 France, 27-6.

Austria defeated No. 4 Panama, 40-0.

SECOND ROUND

Japan lost to No. 2 seed Canada, 33-24.

Austria lost to No. 1 seed United States, 70-7.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Japan  Running backs Satoshi Sagino and James Takada are featured in Japan’s two-headed running attack. In two games, the tandem has rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries. Sagino has gained 76 of those yards, while Takada has scored two of their three touchdowns. Receiver Arturo Nishimura caught six passes for 107 yards against Canada. Defensive back Shuhei Miyagawa has tallied 11 1/2 tackles in two games to lead the Japanese defense. Hard-hitting linebacker-punter Kevin Coghlan is always the around the ball and has one of Japan’s four interceptions.

Austria  Running back Andreas Hofbauer is the heart of the Austrian offense. The 6-foot, 185-pound ball carrier has 109 rushing yards on 20 carries in two games but has been held scoreless to date. Seven Austrians caught a pass in their win against Panama, led by speedy 5-7, 143-pound receiver Florian Bundschuh, who hauled in four passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Linebacker Thomas Oberdorfer has notched at least half a sack in both of Austria’s games and seven total tackles. Defensive back Thomas Meznik has recorded eight tackles, including one for a loss, an interception and a pass break-up.

Gold Medal game: No. 1 United States vs. No. 2 Canada

8 p.m.

For the second time in as many IFAF Under-19 World Championships, the United States and Canada will face off with a gold medal on the line as the North American border rivals meet Saturday night in Austin, Texas.

The United States won the 2009 Gold Medal game, 41-3, to claim the championship in Canton, Ohio.

Canada comes into Saturday’s game with the most prolific offense in the tournament, averaging 401.5 yards per game in wins over Sweden and Japan. Team USA counters with an offensive attack averaging 379.0 yards per game. The U.S. is the tournament’s only team to have never trailed in a game thus far.

Defensively, the USA is limiting opponents to 192.5 yards in total offense, while the Canadians have held foes to an average of 208.0 per contest.

The U.S. has yet to commit a turnover in its two games while Canada is plus-two in this category, bolstered by five interceptions against Japan Wednesday night.

FIRST ROUND

Canada defeated No. 7 seed Sweden, 43-0.

United States defeated No. 8 seed American Samoa, 27-6.

SECOND ROUND

Canada defeated No. 3 seed Japan, 33-24.

United States defeated No. 5 seed Austria, 70-7.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Canada  Employing an effective quarterback rotation, starter Will Finch has shown poise and accuracy, completing 12-of-17 passes in two games for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Finch’s backup, Hugo Richard, also has moved the Canadians, rushing for 71 yards and three touchdowns while passing for another 119 yards and a score. Defensively, defensive back Michael Schmidt leads Canada with 12 tackles in its two games, while linebacker John Rush has registered 11. Canada has recorded five quarterback sacks in tournament play.

United States  Quarterback Brayden Scott of Tulsa (Okla.) Tahlequah-Sequoyah High School has passed for 425 yards and four touchdowns in the Americans’ two games. He’s also rushed for a pair of scores. Running back Tarean Folston of Rockledge, Fla., and Cocoa High School has scored in both U.S. victories with two touchdowns on the ground and another in the air. Linebackers Reggie Chevis of Houston (Texas) Sharpstown High School and Eric Beisel of Fenton, Mo., and Rockwood Summit High School tie for Team USA’s top tackler with 12 apiece.

(Photos: USA Football / @CIMAGES)