Day one of FUT Champions Cup Manchester was filled with drama and excitement, but it was nothing compared to day two. With elimination eventually at stake for every player in the tournament, nearly every match sent a player through to the next round...and their opponent to an early exit. The day started with the final two group stage rounds, which decided the final bracket for the knockout stage and matched up the round of 32, followed by the round of 16. Only 16 players remained at the end of the day, and their quarterfinal matchups will begin at 12:00 p.m. BST on Sunday. Watch as they battle for a spot in the Grand Final, which begins at 8:00 p.m. BST.
Four players were still undefeated at the beginning of the day: ARES Janoz and Falcon Msdosary went 5-0 in the Xbox bracket, while MCFC deto and TM NICOLAS99FC were 5-0 on PS4. The Swiss format dictated that these four players would be paired up in the sixth round, so the group of four was cut in half quickly. TM NICOLAS99FC and ARES Janoz won their respective matches, and both stayed undefeated by winning their round seven matches.
Achieving a 7-0 unbeaten run through the group stage is a significant achievement on its own, but even more remarkable is that both players are based in South America. In a sport heavily dominated by Europeans right now, successful players from any other continent tend to be outliers. NICOLAS99FC, the PS4 finalist at the FUT Champions Cup Barcelona, is from Argentina; Janoz hails from Colombia. Both represented their countries and continent well in the group stage, and neither stopped there. They continued to dominate into the knockout rounds; NICOLAS99FC easily knocked off Joksan in the round of 32 and came from behind to get the one against powerhouse RBL Cihan. Janoz narrowly defeated RebordRedinho in his round of 32 matchup before finally breaking down against Megabit, who ended the Colombian's unbeaten run with a 3-2 win.
Reigning Barcelona champion F2Tekkz looked like he might repeat his fairytale story again on Friday as he dominated most of his competition; he even played well in his lone loss to kurt0411. He finished the group stage strong with wins over FUTWIZ Dubzje and Megabit that secured him a 6-1 record going into the bracket. Though he didn't have much trouble with his round of 32 matchup, in which he beat MCR JParky 6-1, every fairytale must come to an end.
The bracket placed F2Tekkz in the round of 16 with newcomer RemiMartinn, the Los Angeles-based competitor who turned heads in the previous round when he decisively defeated FaZe Tass. The match was entertaining and mostly even, but RemiMartinn pulled ahead in the end to produce a 6-4 upset and send F2Tekkz packing before the final day of the tournament. He will face Falcon Msdosary in the Xbox quarterfinals on Sunday.
The group stage eliminated more high-profile players in rounds six and seven, including NYC_Chris, Hashtag Boras, and TimoX. But as tough as it was to make it out of the groups, the knockout stage made it even more difficult for competitors to progress because they only had one chance to go through — or be eliminated. Even the most high-profile of players that triumphantly marched into the bracket faced its swift reality. FaZe Tass' loss to RemiMartinn sent shockwaves through the room, warning fellow professionals that no player was to be overlooked. The shocking round of 32 results continued as M Herozia knocked out Hashtag Ryan, FUTWIZ Honey Badger buried Hashtag Agge, and reigning Virtual Bundesliga champion FCB TheStrxnger fell to FIFAustun. The shocking eliminations of F2Tekkz and Janoz, were not the only round of 16 upsets and heartbreaks. Unilad Gorilla lost an incredibly tight match to GoalMachine21 and kurt0411 was decisively defeated by M Herozia.
But as more and more recognizable names get eliminated, new stories are being written by newcomers and lesser-known competitors as the tournament continues. RemiMartinn defeated two of the best FIFA players in the world on his way to a quarterfinals berth, while GoalMachine21's win over Gorilla showed why it's important to never stop fighting and pushing for goals in this tournament. The NICOLAS99FC redemption tour continues to blaze forward on schedule, and he heads into the quarterfinals as the only undefeated player left in the competition. Some traditional narratives may have crumbled on Saturday, but don't be surprised if even better stories rise from the rubble as FUT Champions Cup comes to a close on Sunday.
Tune in on Sunday, April 15 for more FUT Champions Cup Manchester action on Twitch at 12:00 p.m. BST/7:00 a.m. EDT/4:00 a.m. PDT.
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