Finland meets Russia, Sweden challenges Canada
by Christian Bellinger/Alexander Maier
In the semi-finals of the 2020 IIHF Esports Fan Championship, the four leading nations of the World Ranking will compete on Friday: Russia, Finland, Canada and Sweden are the Final Four!
Russia and Finland will kick off the preliminary round on Friday at 6pm EEST/MSK. The reigning 2019 World Champion Finns will meet Russia, who last year took home bronze at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. Both nations have already proven in the course of the tournament that they can also play on the virtual ice of EA SPORTS™' NHL™ in the concert of the big ones: The Finnish Erik 'Tilantekija' Tammenpää - winner of NHL™ Gaming World Championship 2018 - has not had to accept defeat in international comparison so far and dominates his competitors on Xbox One. His teammate Joel 'rottadee' Myllymäki lost 2-3 to German Tim 'Timasy' Hess in the last single match of the quarter-finals, but still has a remarkable record of 15-6 in the playoffs.
The Finnish duo will face off against Sergei 'Serg1vratar_vH' Filippov (PS4) and Maksim 'mahoney88' Krinitsyn (Xbox). The Red Machine duo have so far defeated Norway (15-11) and Kazakhstan (24-8) in the play-offs, but will go into this matchup against Finland as underdogs.
The second semi-final match is between Sweden and Canada, with puck drop at 9pm CEST/12pm PDT/3pm EDT. With Joshua 'Joshfearless13' D'Eri and Karl 'hswertha23' Caslib, Canada is represented by two of the world's best NHL 20™ players. The double did not leave a strong Slovakian team any chance in the quarter-finals and outclassed the Eastern Europeans 19-8. In the previous round, Canada met the big North American competitor from the USA and despite two defeats in the first legs against John 'johnwayne90' Casagranda and Tyler 'Daddy Padre' Stewart - they finally won 17-12.
The Swedish duo Sebastian 'SebbeLarsen86' Larsen on the PlayStation 4 and Henrik 'eken45jr' Eklund on the Xbox One managed to beat the Czech Republic (15-12) in the quarter-finals. After 43 play-off goals, the two 20-year-olds will need to keep their offence humming in order to topple the favorites adn book a spot in the Grand Final.
The semi-finals will be played in the familiar mode: The four individual results - two games each on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 - will be added up to form a final result, the goals scored will be the deciding factor. The two victorious nations will finally meet on Sunday at 7pm UTC in the Grand Final of the IIHF Esports Fan Championship 2020.
You can find more information here.