Reigning champion France began its defense of the European Junior Championship in Sevilla with a 45-25 win over host Spain. After the first day of action, Sweden topped the Group A standings on points differential having shutout Russia 27-0 in the tournament‘ s opening game.

Group B got underway on Sunday as Austria defeated Denmark 35-7 to top the standings and Germany scored just one point less in a 34-7 victory over Finland.

Running back Steve Joacin scored France’s first points of the EJC on a 10-yard run on his country’s opening drive after Spain had punted away the game’s first possession. Spain led 10-6 at the end of the first quarter, but France recovered to earn a 22-10 halftime lead.

The hosts refused to give up hope of a dramatic recovery and began the fourth quarter with a 9-yard touchdown catch by Joan Bartra and a two-point conversion that moved them to within a score of tying the game. The defending champion almost turned the ball over when leading by only seven points, but running back Nil Chevrier recovered his own fumble to score on a 42-yard dash and Maxime Sprauel added another rushing touchdown from 15 yards away to make the game safe.

Sweden dominated the first half against Russia, but only led 6-0 at the interval, through an Anders Hermodsson touchdown pass, after a series of penalties prevented further trips into the end zone. A more disciplined third quarter produced 14 points when the dominant pair of Hermodsson and running back Hampus Hellermark scored on the ground as the Swedes eased to victory. Russia came close to putting points on the board, but fumbled away possession on fourth down with the ball at Sweden’s two-yard mark.

Samuel Shannon scored two rushing touchdowns in Germany’s 34-7 win over Finland and his team’s aggressive defense routinely flushed the opposing Finnish quarterback out of the pocket and disrupted Finland’s offense.

The clash between Austria and Denmark had been postponed until Sunday evening due to the late arrival in Spain of Austria’s equipment, but that did not seem to knock the Austrians out of their stride as they scored on the first play of the game. The teams were tied at 14-14 at halftime before Austria produced a clock-draining third quarter drive that resulted in another trip to the end zone and then scored a defensive touchdown on Denmark’s first play in reply to seal victory.

Group A action resumes on Monday when host Spain takes on Sweden (10.30am), the only team not to concede a point at the championship so far, before Russia faces France (6pm). Both games will be played at the Estadio C.A.R. Cartuja in Sevilla.

Game Schedule & Results: 2008 European Junior Championship in Sevilla, Spain (All times local / US EST +6 hours)

Saturday, July 12
Pool 1: Sweden 27 Russia 0
Pool 1: France 45 Spain 25

Sunday, July 13
Pool 2: Austria 35 Denmark 7
Pool 2: Germany 34 Finland 7

Monday, July 14
 Pool 1: Spain (A4) vs. Sweden (A2) (10.30 h)
Pool 1: Russia (A3) vs. France (A1) (18.00 h)

Tuesday, July 15
Pool 2: Finland (B4) vs. Austria (B2) (10.30 h)
Pool 2: Denmark (B3) vs. Germany (B1) (18.00 h)

Wednesday, July 16
Pool 1: Russia (A3) vs. Spain (A4) (10.30 h)
Pool 1: France (A1) vs. Sweden (A2) (18.00 h)

Thursday, July 17
Pool 2: Denmark (B3) vs. Finland (B4) (10.30 h)
Pool 2: Germany (B1) vs. Austria (B2) (18.00 h)

Saturday, July 19
Seventh Place Playoff (10.30 h)
Fifth Place Playoff (18.00 h)

Sunday, July 20
Bronze Medal Game (10.30 h)
Championship Game (17.00 h)

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