Yuichi Tomizawa connected with former NFL Europe receiver Masato Itai for a game-tying touchdown and linebacker Kanehito Tamai returned an interception 33 yards to give Japan the lead for good as Japan defeated Mexico 34-14 on Saturday to win the American Football World Cup in Hanau, Germany.
The victory, a rematch of the 1999 final in Italy, gave Japan back-to-back World Cup championships.
Playing before a crowd of 2,600 at Hebert Drose Stadium, the Japanese were too fast and technically too good for the Mexicans, who took a 7-0 lead on running back C. Barrera’s 4-yard run with 8:06 left in the first quarter.
But Japan responded just 53 seconds into the second quarter as Tomizawa threw a 7-yard scoring pass to Itai to even the score. Three minutes later, Tamai made it into the end zone before Makoto Koyama capped a 17-run attack on a 21-yard field goal with 3:02 remaining in the half.
Mexico closed Japan’s lead to 17-14 with J. Zamore’s 5-yard touchdown pass to J. Wong midway through the third quarter, only for Japan running back Ikunori Hanna to score on a 59-yard scoring run later in the quarter as Japan regained the momentum.
Japan added 10 points in the final quarter to seal the game.
Hanna, who rushed for 150 yards in two games during the four-nation World Cup, was named the MVP of the tournament.
In an earlier game, host Germany downed France 36-7 to take third place.
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