Top seeds start strong on opening day

  • 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup gets under way in London

  • Rounds 1-5 of the group stage produce plenty of action

  • Scene is set for climax of group stage on Friday

Excitement, drama and plenty of goals – the eagerly-awaited 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup™ got under way at The O2 in London. The crème de la crème of competitive FIFA gaming, 16 stars from PlayStation and 16 from Xbox, finally locked horns as the race to become the EA Sports FIFA 18 World Champion went up several gears.

The opening day saw the completion of Rounds 1-5 of the PlayStation and Xbox groups with a staggering 160 games, teeing up a tasty Friday with the final two rounds of the group stages, the Round of 16 and the quarter-finals on the menu. reflects on an action-packed curtain-raiser in London.

Stunning set-up The players may have got a sneak peak of the striking surroundings at The O2 during the Welcome Event on Wednesday, but the opening day enabled each contestant to finally get strapped in and start their Grand Final journey.

Reminders of the huge names who have performed at the iconic London venue decorate the walls of the backstage corridors, as it now plays host to 32 of the world’s best FIFA players.

The set-up would have captured the imagination of even the most seasoned veterans of the FIFA 18 circuit, with elevated platforms for the stars’ playing stations putting them in perfect sight of an expected sizeable crowd on Saturday.

Tantalising top seeds Michael ‘Megabit’ Bittner entered the Grand Final as the Xbox top seed and was widely regarded as one of the pre-tournament favourites. The German sent out a message to the rest of the competition by recording 15 points in five games, which included an impressive victory in a thriller against Alexander ‘Alekzandur’ Betancourt in the fifth game.

PlayStation top seed Nicolas ’nicolas99fc’ Villalba also ended an impressive opening day by finishing top of Group C. Like 'Megabit', the Argentinian registered 15 points with five wins, with his final of the day coming against an experienced opponent in last year’s runner-up Kai ’deto’ Wollin.

Defending champion Last year’s winner Spencer ‘Gorilla’ Ealing occupies third spot in Group B going into the second day, but still maintains his unbeaten record. The Englishman drew his opening two matches before following up with three wins, the first of which came against FUT Champions Cup Manchester winner Mosaad ’Msdossary’ Aldossary. It is Germany’s Niklas ’Nraseck’ Raseck, however, who leads the way in the ‘Group of Death’ after some impressive opening day performances.

Danish delight Denmark duo August ‘Agge’ Rosenmeier and Marcus ’Marcuzo’ Jorgensen enjoyed a strong start to the competition, sitting first and second in Group D respectively at the end of the opening day. The PlayStation group is still rather open, though, leaving it perfectly poised ahead of Rounds 6 and 7 on Friday.

What they said Michael ‘Megabit’ Bittner: “It was my aim to get through the group stage and I’ve done it on the first day. In the other [Xbox] group, there are so many top players. It doesn’t matter whether I finish fourth or first, I will have a very strong opponent in the next round. I’m feeling confident. Even if my opponent is scoring goals, I will score more. I hope this continues and, if it does, then I could end this tournament with the title.”

Nicolas ’nicolas99fc’ Villalba: “I’m not always confident before a game, but I feel confident when I’m playing. Every game is difficult at this competition because everyone is such a good player here. The O2 is an amazing place, a great venue, and it’s a different place to play FIFA. The space for the players is good but you’re also still able to be close to your coach.”