Canada defeats USA, Sweden dominates against Italy
by Christian Bellinger/Alexander Maier
The pairings for the quarter-finals of the 2020 IIHF Esports Fan Championship have been determined. On Saturday, Canada, Germany, Sweden and the Czech Republic prevailed in the last four games of the Round of 16.
The Swedes underlined their title ambitions with a 28-10 victory over Italy. Sebastian 'SebbeLarsen86' Larsen defeated 'Mirco 'Tron1x90' 8-4 in the first game, while Henrik 'eken45jr' Eklund also did well on Xbox with a 9-2 win over Riccardo 'Tombrick 091' Tombolato. After the Swedish duo also won the return matches (5-1 and 6-3) the Scandinavian ice hockey power secured its ticket to the quarter-finals. In the round of the best eight 'SebbeLarsen86' and 'eken45jr' will meet the Czech Republic.
The Czechs Josef 'Pepcastachurcik1' Stachura and Jaroslav 'J4rincze' Rerhor used their ice hockey experience against Belarus to secure three individual victories. On PlayStation 4, both games went straight to 'Pepcastachurcik1': He defeated Aliaksandr 'Sonic_BLR' Yalasheuski 4-2 and 8-1, while the only Belarusian points were won by Dzmitry 'NEFINOR' Harbinou in a narrow 5-4 opening win over 'J4rincze'. So he still had the mathematical possibility to turn the series around in the second leg, but 'J4rincze' played much better and knocked Belarus out of the championship with a 3-1 win.
German Martin 'Venomenyce' Perenz was the only player in the round of 16 who did not concede a goal in the duel against Denmark. He outclassed 17-year-old Paw Fonnesbech 'Paw Fonnesbech Christensen' Christensen 5-0 and 3-0 on Xbox, while Tim 'Timasy' Hess had a much harder time on PS4, beating Martin 'vibholm16' Vibholm 3-2 in the first leg and losing 3-4 in the second. This changed very little in the German duo's commanding 15-6 overall victory - once again the favourite prevailed on this day. In the quarter-finals, Germany will meet the title contenders Finland, which was convincing on Friday with a 27-6 victory over Great Britain.
The most eagerly awaited match was the North American neighbourhood clash between the USA and Canada - and the duel was to live up to the high expectations. The first two first legs went to the USA: John 'johnwayne90' Casagranda beat Joshua 'Joshfearless13' D'Eri 5-1 on PlayStation 4 and Tyler 'Daddy Padre' Stewart defeated Karl 'hswertha23' Caslib 5-4. But then the two Canadian gamers stepped up. 'Joshfearless13' knocked down 'johnwayne90' 5-0 in the second game and also 'hswertha23' made it clear (7-2) which North American country belongs in the quarter-finals. With an overall result of 17-12 and a good portion of self-confidence, Canada enters the quarter-finals against Slovakia.
The kick-off for the first quarter-final duel between Russia and Norway will be on Tuesday at 18:00 CET / 19:00 MSK, followed by Finland against Germany at 21:00 CET / 22:00 EET. The last two semi-final tickets will be awarded on Wednesday: Sweden will play the Czech Republic at 18:00 CET and Canada will play Slovakia at 21:00 CET / 3pm ET / noon PT. You can find more information here.