This past qualifier came down to the final day of matches, with three teams’ hopes and dreams of Blizzcon hanging in the balance. With China, the dominant juggernaut of the group, having already secured their spot, only Sweden, Australia, and Denmark were left with a chance. While Sweden notably underperformed throughout the qualifier, most expected them to be in a position to qualify for Blizzcon. The same could be said for Australia and China, each having OWL talent and a lot of hype heading into the qualifier. That only leaves one team.
Denmark: The [Almost] Dark Horse
The Danes opened the group stage 2-0, sending shockwaves throughout the rest of the group. This was a team now officially on everyone’s radar. The second day brought a tough loss to China and a manhandling of the Aussies. After this, Denmark found themselves at 3-1 coming into the final day of games. They controlled their own destiny, with only their Nordic rival, Sweden, standing in their path.
Denmark found Sweden at just the wrong time. Sweden had struggled to find their identity all qualifier long, but they found it in a big way in their match against Denmark, winning 3-2. With this, Denmark could only hope for a Chinese sweep of the Australians. They were not so fortunate, and the small country with the biggest plays was officially knocked out of the qualifier.
Despite this unfavorable outcome, the Danes still have a lot to be proud of. After beating Australia 3-1 and going to a fifth game against China, the Danes proved they can compete with the best of the best. This experience gave players on this team the ability to play on the biggest stage and make a name for themselves – no doubt an experience they will never forget.
After such an impressive start, I decided to reach out to the members of this up and coming Danish team to ask them one simple question:
“What does playing in the World Cup mean to you?”
Nikolai “naGGa” Dereli – DPS player: It’s the first time I am representing my country, and it’s an honor. I think [The World Cup] makes it more relatable for people that aren’t that familiar with esports; they suddenly understand what it’s about because of a world cup. That is a word they know and maybe have a better understanding of – and I find that really cool.
For me, my favorite part of being part of the Danish Overwatch World Cup team is the experience and figuring out how it is traveling at big events because I am not used to that. It’s a big part of my learning process as a player and human.
Lene “Xperiana” Gaardmand – Community Lead: For me, personally being part of the OWWC is the biggest thing in my life and has been for the last two months. I haven’t thought about much else since I won Community Lead. I think and live for this team all hours of the day, and I am so proud of what the team has accomplished so far! I knew they were pretty good, but this good? It really makes me so happy to see them pop off and sometimes I just cry happy tears for them.
Professionally working with and for Blizzard is a dream come true, and I hope I can get to do that even more in the future. I love the communities Blizzard builds and I would love to join those ranks someday as an employee, and OWWC is a huge step up in that direction for me, so I take my job as CL very seriously.
Frederik “Huggos” Kragh – General Manager: It obviously means a lot for both the players and committee. Especially for the players, as they have the potential to show off their talent during the current signing period. I’m really happy and excited to be able to be part of their experience and hopefully help them get signed, or help them take their career further in any direction they like.
Danni “Ding” Rasmussen – Support: Obviously, it’s a great honor and a great opportunity to play for the world cup team. Since there are a lot of eyes on the tournament, popping off and playing well here can define a player’s career, as we have previously seen with a player like Mickie from Thailand.
This won’t be the last time for us to see these players, coaches, or other leadership staff. This performance not only caught the eye of those in the Bangkok qualifier, but it has also shown the rest of the world the quality of Danish Overwatch. Expect there to be much more Danish representation in the OWL and Contenders next season.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
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