- eClub World Cup winning duo reflect on title win
- KiNG eSports pair revel in team triumph
- ‘Tekkz’ and ‘nicolas99fc’ set sights on back-to-back triumphs
Manchester City, Juventus, Bayern Munich. Title-winning proof last season that, most of the time, favourites are favourites for a reason.
At the FIFA eClub World Cup 2019, KiNG eSports proved a similar point. Having arrived in London with many pundits insisting the title belonged to ‘Tekkz’ and ‘nicolas99fc’, the duo didn’t disappoint.
The hype was well-founded, with them sat atop both the Xbox and PlayStation FIFA Global Series Rankings standings – ‘Tekkz’ having accrued more than double the points of his closest challenger – having been ever-presents on the scene so far this year.
The 17-year-old Englishman is in fact the only player to have qualified for every Global Series event of FIFA 19 season, though his Argentinian counterpart had been no slouch, with just the PGL FIFA 19 Cup in Bucharest missing from his collection.
But with expectations come pressure. So, having come out on top with $40,000 and a biggest-ever haul of ranking points in hand, there was some relief sewed into the joys of victory. “It feels good,” ‘Tekkz’ – otherwise known as Donovan Hunt – told FIFA.com following their defeat of Dijon FCO in the final.
“Individually in the last few tournaments I haven’t played very well – well, I’ve got to the semi-final but I haven’t won. With Nicolas by my side I’ve managed to.”
With so much of their lives being dominated by having a controller in their hands, it’s perhaps no surprise to hear such high standards for success being applied on themselves. But even with a target on their back as the number one favourites, Nicolas Villalba – a FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Finalist last year – was certain where the most intense scrutiny of his game came from.
“There was more pressure from the people outside of the game, but for me every tournament is the same. I always want to win and the pressure from myself is the main thing, rather than it coming from the fact I’m No1."
Never was that clearer when the teenage duo had to dig deep in the knockout rounds. After a couple of missteps at the start of day one, they were unstoppable, winning six from their last six. On day two things weren’t so easy.
A one-on-one defeat for ‘Tekkz’ forced an initial tense two v two decider in the quarter-finals, while a thumping semi-final defeat for ‘nicolas99fc’ saw him bury his head in his shirt for the entirety of the next game, praying for help from his team-mate.
“I know if I lose he’s going to win. That’s why I’m happy to have Nicolas as my team-mate,” explained ‘Tekkz’.
“He saved me in that moment,” ‘nicolas99fc’ added. “I saved him in that moment, then in the two v twos we did really well.”
You cannot argue with that. A new format for the tournament – they were unbeatable when in tandem. “The one v one is more nerve-wracking, but the two v two is just funny,” the two-time FUT Champions Cup winner 'Tekkz' explained. ”I just think we work really well. We communicated well and we just know how to play together.”
The South American concurred, despite still getting comfortable with his English and ‘Tekkz’ cracking jokes about his absent Spanish. Even so, their differing styles of play melded perfectly to return four wins and a draw.
With play-off places well and truly in the bag, eyes are beginning to drift towards the big one later in the year – the Grand Final. But having seen the his partner up close and personal, ‘Tekkz’ is certain of one thing should he go all the way to the last match of the season: “Hopefully if I get there I’m not playing Nicolas!”
Should their camaraderie survive a potential clash of the titans at the end of the season, we could find them paired again in a year’s time to defend the title. ‘Tekkz’ is certainly keen. “Why not?!” replied ‘nicolas99fc’.
The rest of the FIFA eSports scene intent on claiming the crown in 2020 will be hoping there’s an answer to that question.