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Michael 'Vfl Megabit' Bittner defeated Fouad 'Rafsou' Fares, 7-5, in the Xbox One Global Series playoffs grand final in Amsterdam on Monday to claim the title from the sitting EA 'major' champion Aldossary 'Rogue Msdossary' Mosaad. Coming into the day, neither player that reached the grand final was tipped to mount a championship run in this competition, marking yet another FIFA eSports event where a new victor has emerged.
Megabit's win over Rafsou was a tight one, the first and second leg ended 3-2 and 4-3, respectively, to the former. Both players were level on shots in both of the legs, and ironically enough, Rafsou marginally lead in possession. This grand final was a little different in nature, since both legs were ultimately played on one console -- Xbox. In other instances, the match is played over both consoles, but since this event only fielded Xbox players, the finalists did not have to worry about switching consoles.
Rafsou's run to the final was much more notable than the eventual winner's; Fares was dubbed "the giant killer" en route to the grand final because of the high-profile competitors he had fended off. Even before Wednesday, Fares defeated Barcelona FUT Champions Cup winner Donovan 'F2TeKkz' Hunt in the Round of 32. In the Round of 16, he took care of business against the Brazilian player 'Resende,' 7-3. And then, his competition really ramped up.
In the quarterfinals, the Frenchman came up against Msdossary, the reigning winner from the Manchester FUT Champions Cup, who had been obliterating opponents left and right. In 19 matches, the Saudi Arabian scored 62 goals while only conceding 35. The only four competitors to score more goals than him in the competition had played more matches or advanced further. The first leg between the two ended 2-2, but Rafsou overpowered his opponent with four goals off seven shots in the second leg to advance, 6-4.
The semifinals did not get easier, as Rafsou came up against the 2017 FIFA Interactive World Cup champion Spencer ‘FaZe Gorilla’ Ealing. Perhaps the most exciting second leg in the entire competition, Fares took a commanding lead early only to let it slip to Gorilla in the final minutes. After holding a three-goal lead, Fares let the Brit cut it to one with just twenty minutes left to go, but a swift counter-attack finish iced the game ten minutes later. The tie ended 6-4 to Rafsou yet again.
Megabit, on the other hand, enjoyed an easy road to the final. His first match of the day was against his fellow countryman, Sakul, a German player who showed promise in competitions earlier this year. The first leg ended 5-4 to Bittner, but a stronger 3-1 performance in the second took him through. He faced Sporting Kansas City's Alekzandur next, and won 8-4.
Bittner then came up against AFC Ajax's Dani Hagebeuk, who was fresh off a 10-4 win against Kurt 'Kurt0411' Fenech. This affair was predicted to be a close one but the German accumulated a steady lead on the hometown hero in the first leg and held strong in the second to set up a grand final between France and Germany.
With this, the Xbox division of the Global Series Playoffs comes to an end. However, there's more competitive FIFA to come this week, with the PlayStation competitors getting ready for the weekend. The broadcast crew will be back in Amsterdam Friday morning at 7:40 a.m. ET (12:40 p.m. UK time) for the rest of the knockout stages, including the Xbox One grand final. For a more fleshed-out look at the entire weekend's schedule, you can go here. Extended coverage and behind-the-scenes action can be found on Twitch.