As we are heading towards a new era of football video games with EA SPORTS FC, FIFA 23 just concluded one of its biggest esports tournaments ever, the FIFAe World Cup 2023.
The stakes in this tournament were fairly high with a prize pool of $1,000,000 and a whopping $300,000 cut going to the winner. During the tournament, there were lots of exciting games, however many will remember this tournament for the drama and unexpected results, as well as the significant controversy in the Grand Finals.
The FIFAe World Cup Playoffs Provided Quite The Punch
The group stages of the FIFAe World Cup kicked off with 24 players divided into 4 groups where the top 4 players of each group would advance to the playoffs. Each game in the playoff round was a do-or-die situation due to the single elimination system with two-legged affairs.
The playoffs of this tournament proved to be an exhilarating and astounding spectacle. The event featured players from different corners of the globe, setting the stage for captivating match-ups. One such unforgettable encounter was a thrilling 12-goal contest, showcasing talents like ManuBachoore and AboMakkah, who hailed from Saudi Arabia—the host country, making AboMakkah an instant local favorite.
One of the most astonishing moments came during the Round of 16, where the showdown between Tekkz and PHzin resulted in one of the competition’s most significant upsets.
Mark11 unleashes the tekkers 🥶🇦🇺
— FIFAe (@FIFAe) July 18, 2023
The match between EmreYilmaz and Mark11 delivered a surprising outcome as well. Despite a close and intense contest, Mark11 emerged victorious with a narrow 6:5 win, propelling him to the quarterfinals.
This set the stage for an exciting grand final showdown between Mark11 and ManuBachoore, renowned as one of the world’s top players. ManuBachoore had demonstrated his prowess earlier in the year by reaching the final of the FIFAe Nations Cup, and securing the 2023 eDivisie title with SBV Vitesse.
On the other hand, Mark11 began the tournament as an underdog, representing the Oceania region as an Australian player. Despite being one of the smaller regions, the FIFA franchise boasts a passionate community of players in Oceania, and Mark11 is a testament to that group.
The Grand Finals Didn’t Disappoint
The FIFAe World Cup Grand Final began on an exciting note, witnessing Mark11 make an early impact with Mbappé, scoring a remarkable goal in the 7th minute. The goal was an extraordinary long-range shot from inside the penalty area, becoming an instant highlight. Despite the achievement, Mark11’s demeanour remained composed and focused.
The first half continued to thrill the audience with Mark11’s impressive performance, netting a second goal in the 15th minute with the assistance of R9 Ronaldo. As the match progressed, ManuBachoore recognized the significance of the game and initiated an aggressive press during the second half. This strategy paid off as ManuBachoore skilfully spotted Hakimi’s run and delivered an excellent through pass to Pele, resulting in a goal in the 64th minute.
With tension building up, it was ManuBachoore once again who stepped up to the occasion, using Mbappe’s step-over skill move to secure a second goal in the 81st minute.
ManuBachoore the goal machine ⚽️🤖
— FIFAe (@FIFAe) July 19, 2023
At the conclusion of the first leg, the score stood at 2-2, and the entire FIFA esports scene anticipated an intensely competitive second leg, expecting it to be one of the tightest games in FIFA esports history. As expected, ManuBachoore carried his momentum from the previous leg and swiftly scored the opening goal in the second leg. Meanwhile, Mark11 found himself under immense pressure, experiencing an unfamiliar situation of not being in the lead.
The pressure continued to escalate, with both players opting to employ the team press tactic more frequently to gain an advantage. In the 82nd minute, Mark11 managed to level the score with a goal from R9 Ronaldo, leading the game into extra time. Despite the extra minutes, neither player could find the elusive goal needed to secure the lead, resulting in the Grand Finals being decided by a nerve-wracking penalty shootout. The outcome of the shootout would determine the ultimate champion of the FIFAe World Cup Grand Final.
𝗪𝗛𝗔𝗧 𝗔 𝗦𝗘𝗔𝗦𝗢𝗡! ❤️
All thanks to our amazing players and staff.
GG's & see you all next year! 👊 pic.twitter.com/Hr3BJI9Y2q
— Team Gullit (@TheTeamGullit) July 19, 2023
The Biggest Controversy In FIFA Esports Ever?
This penalty shootout led to one of the most controversial moments in FIFA esports history. A contentious incident arose when Mark11’s virtual joystick was inadvertently displayed on the main stage screen during the live broadcast. This unintentional exposure allowed spectators in the arena to see the direction he was aiming and saving, giving him an unfair advantage over his opponent. Although ManuBachoore and his team never viewed the screen, the Dutch pro player won the penalty shootout and claimed the 2023 FIFAe World Cup champion title.
FIFAe World Cup and the controller overlay from @Marrkk11_ is on…
He raised his hand and notified the admins multiple times what was happening but they didn't take immediate action.
You cannot ask for this to be retaken, but we can ask ourselves why the shoutout continued. pic.twitter.com/u1Pec8eMSo
— MrDoorey (@_MrDoorey) July 19, 2023
Despite the issue being raised by Mark11 during the replay, the administrators stated that they were unable to rectify the situation. This decision sparked a wave of outrage on social media, with numerous calls for a replay of the penalty shootout. FIFAe later released a statement addressing the matter, asserting that after reviewing the footage, they found no evidence of any player receiving a competitive advantage, as both teams were only watching their own screens.
After thorough review of the footage, we can also confirm that no player received a competitive advantage as the opposite team only watched their own screen. pic.twitter.com/cdnFGWl7Xw
— FIFAe (@FIFAe) July 19, 2023
As the administrators did not detect any deliberate cheating, the outcome of the match remained unchanged, and ManuBachoore was declared the winner of the 2023 FIFAe World Cup. However, the controversy surrounding the penalty shootout had a significant impact on the reputation of both the tournament organizers and the FIFA esports community. It also dampened the excitement leading up to the final event of the FIFA 23 cycle.
Looking ahead, with the imminent launch of EA SPORTS FC 24, many are hopeful that new rules and measures will be implemented to prevent a similar situation from occurring again. The incident served as a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining fair play and integrity in competitive gaming, and it is expected that steps will be taken to safeguard against such incidents in future tournaments.