The third major competitive event of the FIFA 19 calendar, the FUT Champions Cup January, kicked off in Bucharest, Romania on Friday, January 25. At the beginning of the tournament, 64 of the top FIFA 19 competitive pros began their quest to become the next FUT Champions Cup champion.
The key number to punch a ticket into Saturday's knockout stage was three. After five rounds of Swiss play, players who earned three wins would advance while three losses meant automatic elimination from the competition.
Here are some of the biggest stories from Day 1:
Some of the tournament favorites lived up to their billing, delivered quality results and secured their spot in the knockout stages on Saturday.
Donovan “F2TekkZ” Hunt continued the dominance that he has exhibited when playing on Romanian soil. The British wunderkind demonstrated once again why he is the number 1 Xbox player in the Global Series rankings by finishing the day with a 5-0. The F2 pro defeated some heavy hitters like PSG Daxe and Ajax Dani and will be ready to get his hands on the FUT Champions Cup trophy for a record third time.
Mossad “MSDossary” Aldossary battled a severe case of the flu on the first day of competition and still managed to win his first three matches to secure his berth on the knockout stages. After conferring with his team, the Saudi Arabian decided to forfeit his last two rounds and returned to his hotel to rest up and get better before facing day 2 of the tournament. Will MSDossary be able to defeat other pros and the flu to win his third FUT Champions Cup? We shall find out tomorrow.
Stefano “StefanoPinna” Pinna started the tournament as the highest ranked PlayStation 4 player competing and it showed. The Belgian finished the day with a 4-1 record only dropping his duel against FUTWIZ Marko. The PSV eSports pro is looking become the number one player in the world and only a win in Bucharest will make that possible.
Tim “TheStrxnger” Katnawatos is a perennial performer at live events. The German finished the day with a 4-1 record, defeating elite players like Cihan and NYC Chris in the process. With the top 2 PlayStation pros not competing in Bucharest, TheStrxnger has been earmarked as one of the heavy favourites to win it all. The German community has been waiting for one of their pros to win a major tournament this season and TheStrxnger has a great opportunity to deliver.
Agge “North Agge” Rosenmeier saw his second grouping in as many weeks, with the Dane struggling to find his feet in Bucharest. A loss against Argentinian diegog1996 saw the final nail in his coffin being hammered in, and he goes home after Day 1 licking his wounds and hoping to bounce back at future events. All is not lost for the veteran FIFA player however, as he has some vital Global Series Points to work with, ranking seventh on the PlayStation 4 leaderboard heading into this event.
Lev “xLevVinken” Vinken was looking to continue his fantastic form from the Gfinity FIFA Series January and the eClub World Cup Qualification. Unfortunately some tight losses to FUTWIZ Marko and B04's M4RV saw him fall right back to earth. His last match against Marcuzo was a stomp, and he crashed out of the tournament with a whimper. The ex-Ajax man won't be too torn up, however, with the FIFA eClub World Cup with his loan team FaZe on the horizon and another opportunity to secure crucial Global Series Points.
Kai “x Hensoo” Hense again struggled to convert his qualifier form into success in a LAN environment. The 1.FC Nuremberg pro has qualified for a lot of events this season, but can't seem to adapt on the biggest stage. With match days in the Virtual Bundesliga upcoming, he'll be looking to hopefully squeeze into the EA SPORTS FIFA 19 Global Series Playoffs conversation.
Kylem “Lyricz” Edwards had a tough time on Friday, after an impressive start to the year. The new signing for Imperial esports wanted to make his club proud, but a series of games against Rogue GoalMachine and Kid M3mito saw him making a swift exit to the tournament. The UK pro has a few more event dates in his calendar, but needs to start putting in some big performances to ensure his safe passage to the EA SPORTS FIFA 19 Global Series Playoffs.
The PlayStation 4 side of the tournament saw shocking results take center stage as hasoo19 and FUTWIZ Marko stormed the competition and finished the day with 4-0 records. Then, hasoo19 beat his fellow underdog in a stunning final game to take the 5-0 record heading into knockouts.
It's a very impressive performance from FUTWIZ Marko, with the event being his first of the FIFA 19 Global Series and first in FUTWIZ colors. The Australian used to play for Sydney FC, but seems to be enjoying life with his new team, qualifying for multiple events in the second half of the year. Similarly, hasoo19's recent signing for Schanzer esports seems to have put the German's head right into the game, and no doubt his teammate AndiGube_ and club will be looking for their first high-tier finish at a Global Series event.
Meanwhile, the Xbox side of the tournament saw Hashtag Shawrey make a remarkable run to a 4-0 record in his first major tournament since signing permanently with the London-based endemic. Of particular note is his defensive record, conceding just two goals, an incredible feat, over six games of FIFA. The London-based lad will be looking to continue his stellar form into the knockouts, and bring Hashtag United's name back into the FIFA esports conversation.
The FUT Champions Cup January continues on January 26 at 12PM CET broadcasting live from Bucharest on EA SPORTS FIFA Twitch Channel, YouTube Channel, and Facebook Page.
Check out the full schedule for the event and follow the @EAFIFAesports Twitter account for the latest competitive FIFA 19 content, news, and comprehensive event coverage.
Follow the @EAFIFAesports Twitter account for the latest competitive FIFA 19 content, news, and comprehensive event coverage as the Road to the FIFA 19 eWorld Cup continues.