Published on by smooks Updated on
The penultimate day of the Manchester FUT Champions Cup saw two of the biggest names in FIFA esports -- Donovan "F2TeKkz" Hunt and Spencer "Unilad Gorilla" Ealing -- succumb to North American competitors. In a field traditionally dominated by European players, these were some of the biggest upsets in recent memory.
Saturday's proceedings started with the last two rounds of the group stages, which solidified the matchups for the knockout rounds. After all seven rounds, two players, one on each console, remained undefeated.
On the Playstation side, Barcelona runner-up Nicolás “Nicolas99fc” Villalba beat FIFA Interactive World Cup runner-up Manchester City's Kai "deto" Wollin in the sixth round and took care of business against Marvin "M4RV" Hintz in the seventh to end the group stages, 7-0. Similarly, Xbox One's Javier "Janoz" Munoz Cordoba beat his fellow 5-0 record holder Mosaad "Falcon Msdossary" Aldossary in the sixth and beat Gorilla, 6-3, to match Villalba's feat.
A total of 64 players qualified for the knockout stages, and 16 remained at the end of the day. The Round of 32 saw FC Basel's Tim "FCB TheStrxngeR" Katnawatos, Hashtag United's "Hashtag Agge" Rosenmeier bow out on the Playstation side. Both competitors had established themselves as favorites after the Swiss rounds, sporting 6-1 and 5-2 records, respectively.
Hashtag's other big challenger, Ryan Pessoa, got knocked out in the Xbox Round of 32 by Nathan "M Herozia" Gil. Tassal "FaZe Tass" Rushan lost out to Martin "RemiMartinn" Oregel, a relatively unknown quantity coming into today. Oregel would, however, be one of the biggest storylines after his 6-4 defeat of reigning champion F2TeKkz.
Msdossary, despite slipping to a 5-2 record after a 5-0 start on Friday, continued to completely run over his opponents, scoring 13 goals and only conceding two in the first two rounds of the knockout stage. He will face RemiMartinn in one of the most hotly-contested quarterfinals on Sunday.
Niklas "Nraseck 7" Raseck will face Paris Saint-Germain's Lucas "PSG DaXee" Cuillerier. Raseck made it through to the quarterfinals after a tense 6-5 affair against Millenium's Samy Bakhti. Cuillerier also braved a difficult road to the quarters, fending off Schalke's Tim "S04 Tim Latka" Schwartmann, 5-4, in their Round of 16 matchup.
Possibly the biggest upset of the competition came against Unilad Gorilla, as he lost out to Nawid "GoalMachine" Noorzai, another North American to make a name for himself today. Gorilla established an early 3-0 lead in the first leg, but the reigning FIWC Champion was unable to maintain his composure and the two-leg affair ended 5-4 to GoalMachine. He will face Michael "MegaBit" Bittner in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
Kurt "Kurt0411" Fenech, an outspoken player known for touting his abilities, lost in the Round of 16 to M Herozia, after beating Sean "LP Dragon" Allen, 10-8, in a high-octane 18-goal Round of 32 match. Herozia will play Harry Hesketh, Hashtag United and the United Kingdom's only remaining competitor, in the quarterfinals.
The broadcast crew will be back Sunday morning at 7 a.m. ET for the quarterfinals of the knockout rounds. The semifinals, console finals, and the grand finals will follow. After today's events, one thing is for sure: a new player will lay claim to the FUT Champions belt.