Rebel Stokes wins the FIFA 19 Global Series Xbox Play-offs and four other highlights

EA Sports

64 have become 16 following an intense three days of competitive FIFA which saw upsets and close calls give us the first list of players heading to the eWorld Cup finals.

It was a strong event with impressive showings from the heavy favourites Donovan "F2Tekkz" Hunt and Mossad "MSDossary" Aldossary, despite neither of them finishing the competition as champions. Elsewhere, with qualification possibly coming down to a few Global Series points and a $250,000 (£200,000) prize pool on the line, nobody wanted to give their rivals any advantage. With so much on the line, these were the highlights. 

Rebel Stokes defeats F2Tekkz in the final

A few months ago, Rebel FC's Tom "Rebel Stokes" Stokes was knocked out in the semi-finals of a qualifier by F2Tekkz and was bitterly disappointed despite securing his FIFA eWorld Cup place, stating: "I'm getting close to the level that I know I can be at." Stokes has been one of the most consistent players this season but he hadn't been able to convert that form into trophies - until now.

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Stokes took his revenge on F2Tekkz in the Play-offs final, winning 5-3 to take home 1,800 FIFA Global Series Points and a staggering $75,000 (£60,000) in winnings. Stokes has hit his peak form at the perfect time and will now be a competitor everyone will have their eyes on at the FIFA eWorld Cup.

FIFA 19 Xbox Play-offs Rebel Stokes Interview

Kurt comes close

Another player who had a very strong performance was Kurt Fenech. After being suspended for a lot of the season, Fenech came into the tournament as the 35th seed and had no choice but to win the entire thing if he wanted to qualify for the FIFA eWorld Cup.

Having come runner-up in the Xbox final of the eWorld Cup last year, there was no doubt that the Maltese pro was capable of going all the way. After dispatching Michael "MegaBit" Bittner and Kai "Hensoo" Hense, it looked like Kurt was back to his best but a quarter-final clash with F2Tekkz would be the true decider.

It was the one match that everybody had their eyes on and it proved to be a classic. The first leg went the way of F2Tekkz as the 18-year-old found a late goal to make it 2-1. That last goal would prove to be crucial as the second leg was even closer but Kurt couldn't do enough, losing 5-4 on aggregate and ending his season.

FIFA 19 Xbox Play-offs Kurt

Derby day

Kurt vs Tekkz wasn't the only exciting quarter-final either as there were two derbies going on at the same time. Youtuber Callum "Calfreezy" Leighton Airey, who started out by making FIFA videos, must have been frustrated as his two Rebel FC pros Stokes and Tom Painter were drawn against each other. Stokes was the favourite and came out on top with a hard-fought 9-6 win to advance to the semi-finals, though he described the victory as "bittersweet".

Meanwhile, there was also a Rogue derby as Niklas "NRaseck" Raseck had to take on reigning FIFA eWorld Cup champion MSDossary. The latter was the obvious favourite but NRaseck was in fine form after defeating Dylan 'DullenMike' Neuhausen in the previous round. NRaseck eventually crashed out of the tournament at the hands of F2Tekkz but can still be proud of reaching sixth in the Xbox Global Series rankings. Rogue will also be delighted as those two and Nawid "Goal Machine" Noorzai have all qualified for the FIFA eWorld Cup, all three finishing in the top 10.

Big names miss out 

With only 16 places available, there were always going to be some big names failing to make the cut and, of those who failed to qualify, it was Hashtag United's Ryan Pessoa who came closest to making it. The Englishman made it through to the knockout stages only to be thrashed 8-1 by Team Vitality's Fouad “Rafsou” Fares.

Earlier in the year, Ryan admitted to Goal that he had struggled to maintain a calm mentality during games and it cost him dearly as he finished 17th - just 55 more FIFA Global Series points would have seen him qualify for the FIFA eWorld Cup.

Still, Ryan was humble in defeat and is ready for FIFA 20, taking to Twitter to say: "Seasons over and deservedly so too. I’m just not a great FIFA 19 player if I’m completely honest. Struggled to adapt consistently and just mentally gave up too often. On to the next year."

Other experienced pros not going to the final include Joey "Ajax Joey" Calabro who finished 19th, Spencer "Gorilla" Ealing who placed 26th and Harry "Hashtag Harry" Hesketh who finished his season in 29th place. Ivan "Dr Knightwatch" Churov, who eliminated F2Tekkz in the eChampions League earlier this season finished the campaign in 21st in the Global Series rankings.

Tass overcomes suspension

While Kurt's suspension cost him dearly, FaZe Clan's Tassal "Tass" Rushan didn't suffer the same fate. One of the most experienced players on the scene, Tass has had an extremely tough season after being hit with a suspension that saw him miss two qualifiers.

However, the Englishman has performed admirably this season with consistent high finishes at tournaments. He was eliminated from the Play-offs in the Round of 32 after an 89th-minute loss to Xbox number three  Lucas "DaXe" Cuillerieris. Still, Tass did enough to qualify for the FIFA eWorld Cup after finishing 13th in the standings.

It's an achievement that Tass has described as the favourite of his career, fighting through not only the suspension but also being called washed up and personally feeling like the playstyle of FIFA goes against his own philosophy of football. It was certainly a remarkable recovery so anything else at this point for Tass is a bonus, nobody in the FIFA eWorld Cup will want to underestimate him.

FIFA 19 Xbox Play-offs Faze Tass