Israel Men Ramble Into Quarterfinals in World Flag Football Championship

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Alex Swieca hurls the pigskin for Israel's men's flag football team, Grosseto, Italy, September 11, 2014. Credit: IFAF

Quarterback Alex Swieca threw the Israeli men’s team into the quarterfinals of the Flag Football World Championships in Grosseto, Italy, Thursday.

The women’s team, however, had a disappointing go of it; instead of playing for a medal, the ladies will be vying for the ninth spot out of 14 teams.

The men raced off to a fast start both Wednesday and Thursday, winning the first three games before dropping the final one each day in the group stage. Swieca’s favorite target was wide receiver Danny Eastman. Meanwhile, safeties Yair Gewirtz and Binyamin Shultz kept Israel’s opponents at bay.

On Wednesday, Israel beat Finland 34-18, thrashed South Korea 53-0 and edged Mexico 33-26 before falling to host Italy 39-26. On Thursday, the team clinched a berth in the quarterfinals by trouncing Britain 30-14, walloping Turkey 33-12 and dominating Japan 46-20. Israel dropped its closer against Austria.

The blue and white ended up in fourth place, sharing a 6-2 record with Italy. Mexico finished first, followed by Austria. Israel will start Friday’s quarterfinals against the first-place team in Group B, which will probably be Team USA.

The women’s team started off promising with a 34-20 victory over Brazil in Wednesday’s opener, but it was downhill from there. Israel dropped the rest of the day’s games — against Germany 31-21 and France 38-25. Things didn’t get any better Thursday as the ladies were swept by Panama 14-7, Team USA 33-12 and Spain 25-7.

The best player for the women’s team has been Yael Freedman.

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