Quarterback Joachim Ullrich threw a tournament record longest pass completion of 89 yards that receiver Niklas Romer took all the way to the end zone for German’s first lead of the game at 21-14 in the fourth quarter and France could only muster a field goal in reply.
The win was a repeat of Germany’s European Championship victory over France in 2010.
“There wasn’t much difference between the two teams,” said Germany Sport Director Marshall Happer. “It was a very close game. The only difference was the play at the end of the game; the 89 yard touchdown pass.
“The game changer was when we had the ball on the three-yard line from the punt and we got the long touchdown pass. Other than that, it was back and forth the whole game.
“Of course we wanted to win the game and show everybody there is a reason we were the European Champions last year. It was very important to us. We take a lot of pride in that.
“France played a hell of the game. They definitely improved from last year. They are going to be tough to compete with down the line. The team has a lot of young guys.”
France coach Larry Legault said: “I am very proud of our players. We progressed through camp and the tournament. The guys played 48 minutes as hard as they could.
“From my prospective, I could not be happier as far as their output, drive and desire. I just wish I could have helped them get a win today.”
Germany punted away the game’s opening possession before France moved impressively downfield, most notably through a 30-yard Paul Durand grab on a crossing pattern and good yards after the catch. But led by linebacker Scott Jasson, who drove running back Dimitri Kiernan back for a loss and ended the game with 11 tackles, France also punted the ball away.
France earned four consecutive first downs as Jeremy Rabot in the air and twice Kiernan and Laurent Marceline on battering runs up the middle plowed the ball to Germany’s 27-yard mark.
As the game moved into the second quarter Marceline took advantage of great blocking, notably from his backfield partner Kiernan, to race off left end almost untouched for a 24-yard touchdown and a 7-0 France lead after the extra point.
Germany’s immediate reply, a determined 28-yard run by Jerome Morris, was aided by a facemask and half distance to the goal penalty.
France bit on a fake handoff and gave Joachim Ulrich time to pump fake and then hit Niklas Roemer in the corner of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown and tie the game after Denis Wiehberg’s extra point.
Germany were backed up to their own six-yard line by a French punt and themselves punted from their own end zone where Pascal Maier boomed a 65-yarder to relieve the pressure.
Germany might have headed into the locker room with an unexpected lead, but an interception return by Oliver Radke was halted before the defensive back could reach paydirt.
When France threatened after the break, a Sprauel pass was deflected on third and nine to seemingly snuff out the French challenge, but instead a pass interference call took the ball to within three yards of the end zone. Game MVP Marceline punched the ball home and France led again, this time by 14-7.
Germany moved the ball confidently downfield in reply with a catch by Pascal Maier to the edging them inside the red zone. Danny Washington showcased his speed by getting to the outside earn first and goal and on the next play, Washington took the two-yard handoff for a touchdown and again the game was tied with 1:25 remaining in the third quarter.
France had no answer offensively and then German quarterback Ullrich spectacularly found a wide open Romer with an 89-yard bomb that the receiver too all the way to the end zone. Germany led for the first time with 8:58 remaining and would not relinquish the advantage, while Romer took his team’s MVP award.
“I think this was the biggest game of my career,” said Romer. “Playing in the world championship and playing against great team and being able to get stats like that. To be part of a team that is able to do such things.
“It was awesome. Today, we had a big crowd and a great atmosphere.”
Marceline gained what was now becoming a rare first down for France then after a false start call, while Spraul faced the pressure of a key third and 12 situation and responded by connecting with Steve Berton to move into German territory. Sprauel and Berton tagged on another ten yards, but on third and three, the German defense held.
France coach Larry Legault opted to take three points from a 44-yard Bruno Nekili field goal to trail by four points and challenge his defense to get the ball back with only 2:43 remaining. But the German offense powered by Ullrich and Romer kept possession and were able to run out the clock.