Expectsporting (Brøndby IF) and OL Rafsou (Olympique Lyonnais) win final seats at Grand Final
** Two Former world champions among players knocked out in intense and electric day of gaming
First 19 professional football clubs to enter eSports well represented at first-ever Interactive Club World Cup
“If you’ve got to this point you’re among the best players in the world” were host Spencer Owen's words as he introduced fans to the first matches of the day at the first ever FIFA Interactive Club World Cup.
Twenty-four players, all currently signed to the eSports divisions of professional football teams, gathered at Sky Studios in London for an intense and long day of competitive gaming on EA SPORTS™ FIFA 17. The entire day was streamed live to a global audience.
Surviving the Group Stage A Playstation division and an Xbox division - comprising two groups each - made up the four tournament groups. With six players in each group, the challenge was to play five matches and secure a top two finish in the group to qualify for the next round. The field of players included two former FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) champions and one FIWC silver medalist. Games were tense, difficult and combative in the early stages, but eventually opened up as the goals began to flow.
AFC Ajax Dani and AFC Ajax Koen both enjoyed success in the group stage making Ajax Amsterdam the only team to have two players qualify for the knockout stage.
Qualified players for knockout stage
*(PlayStation):* AFC Ajax Dani (Ajax Amsterdam), PSG Aggie (Paris Saint-Germain), Expectsporting (Brøndby IF), NYC_Chris (New York City FC)
*(Xbox):* Vinch (FC Nantes), OL Rafsou (Olympique Lyonnais),AFC Ajax Koen (Ajax Amsterdam), S04 Tim Latka (Schalke 04)
PS4 Semi-finals The knockout stage for each division switched to a two-legged match format and made for some incredible meetings. A newcomer to the FIWC circuit, NYC_Chris defeated favourite AFC Ajax Dani. In the other PS4 semifinal Expectsporting completely overwhelmed 2014 FIWC champion PSG Aggie to secure a place in the divisional final.
PSG Aggie - Expectsporting (First Leg 0-5; Second Leg: 2-1) AFC Ajax Dani - NYC_Chris (First Leg 0-1; Second Leg: 3-3)
Xbox Semi-finals Rafsou (Olympique Lyonnais) clawed back late into the second half of his second leg against Vinch (FC Nantes) to steal victory and with it a place in the Xbox Final. S04 Tim Latka, meanwhile, won both legs to defeat Ajax’s last remaining player in the knockout stage.
Vinch - OL Rafsou (First Leg 2-1; Second Leg: 2-4) AFC Ajax Koen - S04 Tim Latka (First Leg 1-2; Second Leg: 0-1)
Divisional Finals The stakes were high in the divisional finals, where each winner would secure a qualification seat at the Grand Final. NYC_Chris was in shock after losing the PS4 final. The American had come so close to the Grand Final in 2017, having played in a qualification final on three occasions (Vancouver, Los Angeles, London), but the Grand Final has eluded him for the 2017 edition. Expectsporting, meanwhile, will be in London as a Grand Finalist, ensuring Denmark once again have representation at the Interactive World Cup.
In the Xbox Final, OL Rafsou trailed throughout the two legs only to take his first lead late into the second half of the second leg. The Frenchman's late rally led to victory and with it the final seat at the Grand Final. "I’m not the guy you saw lose in Munich. I came to win,” said OL Rafsou shortly after the win.
PS4: NYC_Chris - Expectsporting (First Leg: 1-3; Second Leg: 1-1) Xbox: OL Rafsou - S04 Tim Latka (First Leg: 2-3; Second Leg: 2-0)
The Final Despite both being qualified for the Grand Final, there was still a matter of USD 10,000 to play for in the Final of the FIFA Interactive Club World Cup Final. After a strong first leg in OL Rafsou was still in command at the half-time break in the second leg. And then Expectsporting tapped into the zone, scoring goal after relentless goal to dominate and finish the match 8-5 on aggregate.
Participating Clubs Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands); AS Roma (Italy); Brøndby IF (Denmark); FC Nantes (France); Feyenoord (Netherlands); Heracles Almelo (Netherlands); Manchester City (England); New York City FC (USA); Olympique Lyonnais (France); Paris Saint-Germain (France); PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands); River Plate (Argentina); Schalke 04 (Germany); Sampdoria (Italy); Sporting CP (Portugal); Valencia (Spain); VfB Stuttgart (Germany); VfL Wolfsburg (Germany); West Ham United (England)