Japan demolishes American football team at IFAF U20 World Junior Championship, drawing fierce reaction

Japan demolishes American football team at IFAF U20 World Junior Championship, drawing fierce reaction

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Football fans were not pleased Wednesday night after Japan defeated the United States by 21 points in the semifinals of the IFAF U20 World Junior Championship in Canada. 

The shocking upset drew a fierce reaction from American football fans on social media that had several of them wondering what happened.

Japanese football team

Japan defeated the U.S. 41-20 to advance to the gold medal game.  (Hirobumi Kamimura)

Japan opened the first half with 27 points and managed to limit the U.S. to just seven points in the second quarter. The second half saw the U.S. put another 13 points on the scoreboard, but Japan’s offense responded with 20 to win the game 41-20. 


“The beginning of the game was good for us, but then, after that, the energy of the U.S. team gave them a chance to fight back, but we were able to answer every time they scored,” head coach Makato Ohashi said, via the IFAF website. 

The victory gave Japan its first crack at a gold medal. 

“I’ve got to give Japan a lot of credit because they won both sides of the line of scrimmage,” U.S. head coach Mike Kelly said, according to the website. “Their defensive line was better than our offensive line, and their offensive line was better than our defensive line. And that’s what it came down to.

Japan v. U.S. in football

The U.S. will play Austria Sunday for the bronze medal.  (Hirobumi Kamimura)


“I have a lot of respect for Japan and the type of program that they put together. They’ve been practicing for months, and we have about five practices, so that’s not an excuse. Japan was a better team than us interiorly today, and that was the difference in the game.”

But that explanation didn’t seem to resonate with fans on social media. 

“How does the United States FOOTBALL TEAM lose to Japan… especially BY 21 POINTS,” one user wrote on X.  “I have never seen a single game of this in my life, but fire everybody, cut everybody, and fix the roster. We should win every game by 100.” 

Another person wrote, “How TF does this happen??” 

Japan defeating the US

Japan scored 21 unanswered points in the first quarter.  (Hirobumi Kamimura)


Japan advanced to Sunday’s gold medal game, where they will face Canada. The U.S. will play Austria for the bronze. 

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