The Israeli men and women’s teams left it all on the field but failed to medal as both squads reached the medal round but lost their semifinal and bronze medal matches. Both teams lost a chance for a bronze medal in nearly identical fashion, losing to Germany. The men lost 38-33 and the women were beaten 24-12.
On the bright side, Shauna Sprung, quarterback for the women’s team, was named tournament MVP.
“I would gladly exchange it for a team medal,” said Sprung.
The semifinals did not go well for either Israeli team as each fell to the reigning European champion. The men played first and were blown out by Denmark 41-8 after losing to the same team by only four points in the opening round. The women played Austria even until 30 seconds to go and lost 19-12. The women drove to within striking distance but the game ended with Israel on the 20-yard line. It was a statement game for the Israeli women who were blown out by Austria, which would go on to win the gold medal on opening day, 54-0.
The men and women opened the final day with wins in the quarterfinal as the men beat Italy 40-34 and the women knocked of Denmark 19-6. It was the first time Israel beat Italy in international competition and it was a major accomplishment against the world’s number three.
The men finished the opening round 3-2 losing close games to Denmark, the eventual champion, and France while beating Switzerland, Holland and Spain. The women had a weak opening day record of 2-3 but roared back on day two with three wins to finish the group stage with a record of 5-3.