On July 23, Moscow hosted the final stage of the Russian Interactive Football Cup 2023. The country’s best players in FIFA 21 in tense matches determined the champion, which was watched with pleasure by the spectators gathered at the Yota Arena. How was the Russian Interactive Football Cup 2023 – in the Cybersport.ru report.
Solid composition of participants
The FIFA 21 Championship was organized by the Russian Computer Sports Federation. Most of the FCC runs tournaments for semi-professionals. For example, at the Russian eSports championship 2023, held in May in Chelyabinsk, only two participants in the second division of the Dota Pro Circuit 2023 league took part in the Dota 2 final tournament, who, by the way, took the last, fourth place. But in the FIFA 21 Championship, the situation was completely different.
The main star of the event held in Moscow was Robert Ufenok77 Fakhretdinov, who took part in the tournament on Xbox (it so happened that almost all eminent cyber football players played on this platform). The Russian has been representing the roster of FC Lokomotiv (Moscow) – Loko eSports for many years. Fakhretdinov has long been entrenched in the status of one of the strongest players not only in the CIS: in 2015, Ufenok77 became the world champion in FIFA 15 on the Xbox. However, despite the rich experience gained in numerous international competitions, at the Russian Interactive Football Cup 2023 Fakhretdinov flew out in the first round, leaving KLENOFF ahead. In a conversation with a Cybersport.ru journalist, the titled Russian shared his thoughts on the level of his opponents in the tournament.
However, it was not the “youngest” participant of all who was destined to win the tournament. According to the results of the event, the first place went to the representative of the Russian organization forZe, Daniil Abeldos Abeldyaev, who won silver at last year’s championship. This time, the Russian took the step that he lacked a year earlier, and raised the coveted trophy above his head. But no matter how strange it may sound, a much more interesting story was presented to us by his opponent in the final, Yegor Belyakov.
Immediately after the presentation of the silver medal, Yegor Belyakov, as is customary among professional football players, demonstratively removed the award from his neck, thereby showing dissatisfaction with the final result. And if the conditional Jose Mourinho after the defeat in the UEFA Super Cup – 2017 generously presented his medal to the young fan on the podium, then Belyakov several times pretended to be ready to throw the award away. And the emotions of a young esportsman can be understood.
For Belyakov, this LAN was the first in his career. Can you imagine how a person who qualifies for an offline event for the first time feels? This is an incredible charge to win, unrealistic motivation and, obviously, excitement. Can you imagine how a person who qualifies for LAN for the first time, who will have to fight with the world champion, as well as multiple finalists of the Russian championships, feels? I think it is very, very difficult to cope with emotions in this situation.
But despite the lack of at least some experience and the formidable names of rivals, Belyakov did not flinch and showed everything he was capable of. To begin with, Egor has established himself as the best player in Russia in FIFA 21 on the PlayStation 4, beating both competitors in his category. And then he went to the final, where Abeldos gave such a fight, which he did not receive during the tournament even from seemingly more stellar rivals. In the grand final, by the way, Belyakov again indicated that PS4 is his fiefdom, on which the achievements and titles of opponents are not quoted. In a match on the Sony console, Yegor dominated his opponent in all aspects of the game, while Abeldyaev could only dream of intercepting the ball. Yes, at the full distance of the final match, Belyakov was a little lacking, and he had to be content with only second place. I say “only” solely in the context of the debutant’s emotions, but in fact silver is a great result for a beginner. Abeldos, as I wrote above, took second place last year, and this year he managed to improve the result. If Belyakov maintains his fearlessness and phenomenal level of play, then there is a suspicion that next year he will not have to remove the medal from his neck.
Esports in the era of a pandemic
Unfortunately, like 99% of modern events, the Russian Interactive Football Cup 2023 had to put up with the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the difficult situation in Moscow, the organizers were forced to limit the number of seats to 200. Of course, the absence of a full auditorium contributed to the atmosphere of the tournament. For example, in 2019, the final of the Russian Cup in FIFA 19 gathered a whole crowd of fans in Yota Arena, which Robert Ufenok77 Fakhretdinov recalled with regret.
Obviously, the lack of a full hall darkened the final impression of the tournament a little, but in 2023, such restrictions are a reality that you have to put up with. Nevertheless, the organizers have done a solid job in order to give the few fans the holiday they came for under tight conditions. The presenter on the stage was the professional journalist of Match TV and blogger Karen Adamyan, who turned on the audience with might and main. In addition, representatives of the FCC took sanitary standards quite seriously – there were practically no spectators without masks in the hall, which is very rare. Summarizing the above: the coronavirus has once again spoiled raspberries for esports fans, but the organizers tried to squeeze out the maximum, based on the current realities. Indeed, at any such championships, the level of play of its participants remains the main thing, and there were definitely no questions about this aspect.