This weekend, Sept. 21-23, is the final group stage for the Overwatch World Cup. Paris, France plays host for this stage. The teams playing for the last two spots at Blizzcon include France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. Of these teams, France and the United Kingdom are expected to be progressing. Let’s talk about what you should be looking out for in Paris this weekend.
France vs. UK
Much like the Los Angeles group stage, the best is saved for last. France plays the UK in the final match of the weekend, Sunday Sept. 23, at 10:00 AM PDT. These two teams are the only in the group that have Overwatch League players on their roster. The United Kingdom only have one, Isaac “Boombox” Charles, of the Philadelphia Fusion. France boasts four different players who played in the first season of the Overwatch League. These include Terence “SoOn” Tarlier of the LA Valient, Dylan “aKm” Bignet and Benjamin “uNKOE” Chevasson of the Dallas Fuel, and Gael “Poko” Gouzerch of the Philadelphia Fusion. These teams are the ones expected to be finishing the top of the group, and if it is similar to the LA group stage, the top spot may come down to the wire.
France will be looking for revenge this Blizzcon after falling to eventual winners South Korea in the semifinals and losing out in the third place game to Sweden. They will hope that the experience that the Overwatch League brought to some of their players will help them push through past the semifinals this year at the Overwatch World Cup.
The UK doesn’t come into this group stage without experience though. They approach this group stage with players from teams that played in both the North America Contenders, as well as the European Union Contenders. Finley “Kyb” Adisi and Michael “MikeyA” Adams from the British Hurricane, the academy team for the London Spitfire. Kai “KSP” Collins plays for Young and Beautiful, Eoghan “Smex” O’Neill plays for NRG Esports, and Harrison “Kruise” Pond plays for Toronto Esports, who are the Contenders partner of the Boston Uprising. The UK’s competitive experience should give them the edge over most of the teams in the group.
Italy’s Samsung Connection
Three of the players for Italy’s team at this year’s Overwatch World Cup group stage all play together on the Samsung Morning Stars Blue. Off-tank Edmondo “DragonEddy” Cerini, main-tank Aris “LUFT” Galli, and support Federico “Nisa” Portolani have been playing together on the Morning Stars Blue for the EU Contenders trials.
While they did not finish well, placing seventh of the eight teams with a 2-5 record, Italy will look towards the bond between these players to help them during this group stage. While they are not expected to do well at this tournament, this is their best shot to prove the world wrong.
Who is the Dark Horse of This Group Stage?
Unlike the Bangkok group stage, where the competition was fierce and three teams finished 3-2, this group stage looks to be more set in stone. However, could there be a dark horse for this group stage? If there is, many believe that the Netherlands would be that team. While it is unlikely that they will take games against France or the UK, if either team drops points, they will be there to pounce. France and the UK cannot go into this stage messing around. If they do, the Netherlands have the opportunity to swipe the remaining Blizzcon spot.
Germany and Poland will be looking to simply show up, represent their countries well, and hopefully have some exposure at the highest level. The Overwatch World Cup is a great place for unknown or young talents to make a name for themselves. Both teams are hoping that they will not go 0-5. They will fight their hardest to win and showcase some of their countries’ brightest talents.
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Featured Image Courtesy of The Overwatch World Cup
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