There are still 13 weeks of matches left in the English Premier League’s 2018-2019 season, but EPL teams’ glory in the world of esports will be on the line this weekend in the FIFA eClub World Cup taking place in London. I hope it hurt you to see that lower case “e” as much as it hurt me to type it.
Unlike the traditional World Cup of FIFA esports, the Club tournament emphasises players’ team affiliations over their national heritage. Traditional esports organisations such as FaZe Clan will go up against players repping some of English football’s biggest names, such as Manchester City.
Of the 16 teams that will head into Saturday’s group stage, eight will progress into the quarterfinals on Sunday.
To make matters slightly more confusing, all competitions will be segregated between PS4 and Xbox One players because FIFA 19 remains on the long list of games that still don’t have cross-play between both platforms.
Instead, every matchup is subdivided into a best-of-three series where the first game is played 1 vs. 1 on PlayStation 4, the second played 1 vs. 1 on Xbox One, and the third game, if necessary, played 2 vs. 2 on the console chosen by the side with the higher differential heading into it.
Who knew the console wars would have such absurd consequences for competitive FIFA?
Whichever team wins will take home $US40,000 ($56,495), approximately what Spurs striker Harry Kane made while on a mini-holiday to the US last weekend to wait for his most recent injury to heal and also watch the Patriots win a sixth Super Bowl.
But which team seems most likely to take home the 2019 eClub World Cup? Current favourites include Brøndby IF eSport, the Danish side responsible for winning the tournament twice in previous years, despite the fact that the team will be coming into the event with one of their past champions, Fatih Üstun, now replaced by Daniel Kristensen.
Matches will start on Saturday at 9:00PM AEDT and run until 5:30AM AEDT on Sunday. Play will then resume at 8:45PM AEDT with the quarterfinals. The grand finals will take place at 1:30AM AEDT on Monday The entire tournament will be streaming live on YouTube.