FIFA eClub World Cup 2020 kick offs this Friday, February 7, in Milan, Italy and it will mark the fourth iteration of the event in the FIFA eSports history. The tournament will feature 24 of the best FIFA teams in the world, who will compete for the largest slice of US$100,000 prize pool and Global Series points on the road to the FIFA eWorld Cup 2020.
Entering the group stage will be 24 teams from Europe, North America, South America, Middle East & Africa, and Asia & Oceania region. European regions will have 16 representatives, while the remaining four regions have two teams each. All teams are composed of two FIFA players - one who plays on PlayStation player and one who uses Xbox as his preferred console.
The participants have been divided into four groups of six, where all of the teams play each other in a Team Match-Up format, meaning there will be three matches. Match one will put the PlayStation players against each other, match two will be contested by the Xbox players, while match three will see PlayStation and Xbox players team up to compete against the opposing side. The winners of the match get awarded three points, losers no points, while a stalemate awards each side with a point.
Top two teams from each group will advance into the playoffs, where teams will compete in a single-elimination format. Unlike in the group stage, however, the first two games will be grouped together as a single tie, whereas game three will only get played should game one and two end in a draw.
With the basics covered, let's take a look at the main favourites to win FIFA eClub World Cup 2020, what they bring to the table and which team has what it takes to take home gold. All betting odds are taken from dedicated eSports betting site Skrilla.
NEO ($17.00) and Borussia M'gladbach E-Sports ($12.00) are entering the tournament as a pack of teams which are above the weakest teams of the event, yet still fall short of competing with the top six. Out of the three, however, it's team NEO which stands out.
Representing NEO will be Tom "Stokes" Stokes and Spencer "Gorilla" Ealing. Gorilla is a former Epsilon and FaZe member who has seen immense success during FIFA 15, 16 and 17. He has won numerous tournaments, yet his most noteworthy achievement came in August 2017 when he won FIWC 2017. He later also finished third-fourth at FIFA Global Series 2018 and fifth-eight at 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup. His teammate Stokes on the other side made waves in July 2019, when he won FIFA Global Series 2019 - Xbox One, when he defeated Donovan "Tekkz" Hunt.
eSports bookmakers seem to not give NEO duo enough credit, as they have proven numerous times before they can compete with the best. However, we have some doubts about them, namely because Gorilla has not played FIFA since 2018, so there is no way of telling how will he fare with FIFA 20. Nonetheless, if Gorilla and Stokes can find their rhythm, they should cause some serious damage at this tournament and we would not be surprised if they can make a deep run.
Hashtag United ($11.00), FC Basel ($9.00) and FaZe ($21.00), are priced as sixth, fifth and ninth favourites to go the distance and hoist the trophy and we believe the betting odds here are fair.
Hashtag United fields Harry "Harry" Hesketh who is a very experienced FIFA player having been in the scene since May 2016. Throughout his career, he has proven to be a very consistent player, with several top 10 finishes at major tournaments. In November he finished top four at FUT 20 Champions Cup Stage II - PlayStation and pocketed a fifth-eighth place finish at FUT 20 Champions Cup Stage II, where he narrowly lost to his teammate and eventual finalist Thomas "Tom" Leese.
Joining Harry will be Alex "Shawrey" Shaw as the only Xbox player in Hashtag, who has failed to reach any notable success this season. He finished fifth-eighth at DraftStory Cup II and 33rd-64th at FUT 20 Champions Cup Stage 3. If this team can achieve anything it will be because of Harry and we can't trust a team that must rely on one player to deliver.
FaZe are in a similar position, fielding 2017 Ultimate Team European Champion Tassal "Tass" Rushan, who finished third-fourth at 2019 FIFA eClub World Cup. Joining him is Mino, who is a fairly new and unproven player in the FIFA eSports scene. For that reason, we don't find FaZe a team that is worth a bet, as we have no way of knowing how good Mino is. That said, if he can somehow impress and prove he is the next big thing, FaZe might reach a very solid finish.
FC Basel on the other side are entering the tournament with FIFA superstar Nicolas "nicolas99fc" Villalba, who has joined forces with Florian "CodyDerFinisher" Müller. The latter has had an iffy season in 2019, considering he has not won a single event. His best result came at FIFA Global Series 2019 Playoffs where he finished 17th-32nd. Although he finished second at FIWC 2017, it seems like his glory days are well behind him. While we believe that with nicolas99fc alone, Basel can easily make it into the playoffs, we have some serious doubts whether CodyDerFinisher will be able to step up in the playoffs and help his team contest the gold.
It should not come off as a surprise that Manchester City ($7.50), Team QLASH ($6.00) and Fnatic ($3.00) are entering this event as the main favourites, simply due to the immense quality these teams possess.
Man City field Ryan "Ryan" Pessoa and Shaun "Shellzz" Springette, who are both great players. While neither of them is considered as one of the best in the world, they consistently finish among the top 10 in each tournament they play in and consistency alone makes Man City a great candidate for a deep run. Is that enough for the duo to take home gold? It's possible, but not plausible, as we have a hard time believing they can defeat the likes of QLASH and Fnatic, the latter being head and shoulders above Man City.
Representing QLASH are two rising talents in Diego "CRAZY" Campagnani and Ivan "night watch" Churov, both of whom have seen a lot of success during FIFA 19. Nightwatch pocketed gold at eChampions League group stage, where he defeated Tekkz and finished second in the main event, after an unfortunate loss to Christopher "Chris" Holly. He also finished fifth-eighth at PGL Masters Bucharest 2019 after he narrowly lost to the eventual champion Tekkz (3-4) in the quarter-finals.
CRAZY on the other side has seen a lot of success in Tier 2 events this year, including a third-fourth place finish at FUT 20 Champions Cup Stage I, second place in Stage II Finals and first place in Stage II. Earlier in 2019, he also claimed the fourth spot at Virtual LaLiga eSports 2019 - Finals.
The final team and the undisputed favourites to win the tournament are Fnatic, which should not shock anyone. The Swedish eSports organization are entering the tournament with two of the best FIFA players in the scene - Tekkz and Tom, who have joined forces to create what is arguably the strongest FIFA team in the world.
Tekkz needs a special introduction as he has won more tournaments than we could count, including the 2019 FIFA eClub World Cup. Tom on the other side has not seen as much success as Tekkz, however, he has been climbing the ranks with some great performances in 2019, which made him one of the most promising FIFA players in the world and earned him a spot in the team alongside one of the FIFA legends. Tom has also pocketed silver at FUT 20 Champions Cup Stage III - PlayStation 4 earlier in January and if he can show the same fire at eClub World Cup, Fnatic will be nearly unbeatable in Milan.
All in all, it's hard to side with any other team than Fnatic to win here. With Tekkz alone on the team, Fnatic are set to make it at least into the final four and while there is always a chance the duo might drop the ball, there are only a few teams that can challenge them. Side with the favourites to win here and take advantage of the generous odds.
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