The FUT Champions Season 2 Europe regional final took place this Saturday, 6 May in Madrid. Italian 'Prinsipe' was crowned champion, beating the Englishman 'Gorilla' in the title decider. The pair, along with two Frenchmen, two Germans and two Dutchmen also succeeded in clinching berths at the FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Championship in Berlin on 19 and 20 May, the last stop on the road to the FIWC 2017 Grand Final in London.
Qualifiers for Berlin- Daniele 'Prinsipe' Paolucci (winner of PlayStation 4 division and overall champion)
Spencer 'Gorilla' Ealing (winner of Xbox One division and beaten finalist)
Quinten 'QuintenX' van der Most
Niklas 'Nraseck' Raseck
Johann 'Maniika' Simon
Lucas 'Daxe' Cuillerier
Bob Michel 'Kingep' van Uden
Tim 'TheStrxngeR' Katnawatos
The final In a battle not fit for the faint-hearted, Spencer 'Gorilla' Ealing and Daniele 'Prinsipe' Paolucci fought tooth and nail for the crown. In the first leg, played on the Xbox One, the gung-ho Englishman sought to take the game to his opponent from the off, while the Italian once again impressed with his defensive organisation. Try as he might, 'Gorilla' struggled to land any blows, while Paolucci twice pounced against the run of play to put the favourite on the ropes. Nevertheless, Ealing was able to bounce back after the interval, levelling a highly entertaining encounter and leaving the tie tantalisingly poised.
However, the second leg, contested on the PlayStation 4, proved a somewhat one-sided affair. 'Prinsipe' came racing out of the blocks and quickly moved into a two-goal lead. Although 'Gorilla', who hardly created anything of note in the first half, pulled one back after the break, any hopes of a comeback were abruptly dashed when the Italian added two further goals. A late consolation strike meant that the match ended 4-2, with 'Prinsipe' convincingly prevailing 6-4 on aggregate.
Xbox One Lucas 'Daxe' Cuillerierput his fans through the wringer with a series of nerve-shredding displays over the course of the event. The Frenchman topped Group 1 and progressed to the knockout stage unbeaten despite having to dig deep in each of his group games. It was a similar story in the Round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals, in which the PSG star won through by one goal. Ultimately it took another heavyweight in the shape of 'Gorilla' to deny 'Daxe' in the Xbox final, courtesy of a dramatic penalty shoot-out and a tight 1-0 victory.
A special mention also goes to Quinten 'QuintenX' van der Most. After advancing as a group runner-up and duly losing his first knockout stage match, the Dutchman showed admirable resolve in the losers' bracket to book himself a ticket to Berlin.
PlayStation 4 It was an equally thrilling spectacle on the PlayStation side. Johann 'Maniika' Simonfought his way through to the last four and in the process earned himself a spot in Berlin, only to succumb to the "Prinsipe" juggernaut for the second time in the semis, having been thrashed by the Italian in the group stage. The other finalist was Germany's Tim 'TheStrxngeR' Katnawatos, who gained a second wind after losing his first knockout tie and embarked on a four-match winning run. However, he proved powerless to stop the eventual champion in the final.
Katnawatos's fellow German, Yannick 'Gotzery' de Groot, disappointingly bowed out after dominating his group. Another of the outstanding performers in the group stage, the Netherlands' Bob Michel 'Kingep' van Uden, also dropped into the losers' bracket, but picked himself up to claim a couple of crucial victories and secure his passage to the German capital.
RELIVE the Europe regional final with video highlights
The stat 29: The total goal tally notched up by Daniele 'Prinsipe' Paolucci in Madrid, more than any other player. The Italian averaged three goals a game and conceded at a rate of just one per match.
What they said"It's a fantastic feeling. I never thought I'd win this tournament, let alone against a finalist like 'Gorilla'. I'm really buzzing. Now I hope to acquit myself well in Berlin." Daniele 'Prinsipe' Paolucci, the winner of the FUT 17 Championship Season 2 Europe regional final in Madrid
— FIWC (@FIWC) 6 May 2017