The biggest FIFA 19 event is nearly here as the FIFA eWorld Cup 2019 kicks off on August 2 in London's O2 Arena as the world's best 32 players compete to be named world champion and take home $250,000 (£203k) in winnings.
This season has seen a dramatic increase in the number of FIFA tournaments and as a result, we have a better idea than ever before of who really are the strongest competitors in the world. As such, Goal has compiled a list of 10 favourites to take home the FIFA eWorld Cup trophy.
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The outright favourite for the tournament, nobody has come close to matching Donovan "F2Tekkz" Hunt this year. The 17-year-old was the only pro to reach the 10,000 Global Series points benchmark, finishing the season with 13,265 points after sensationally winning seven events. The Englishman made a name for himself last year when he won his first-ever FIFA tournament but then failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup. Remembering that, F2Tekkz will be desperate to go all the way this time around.
Likely the strongest player from North America, Christopher "NYC Chris" Holly consistently qualified for events this year but his big win came later in the season as he won the inaugural eChampions League, taking home $100k ($81k) in winnings. With his attacking prowess, Chris could be one to watch in this tournament.
Another British player on this list, Rebel FC's Tom Stokes has hit his peak form at just the right time. Come Spring 2019, Stokes landed a quarter-final and semi-final finish under his belt but earned the biggest win of his career just earlier this month as he defeated F2Tekkz to win the Xbox FIFA Global Series Playoffs. Riding the high of that monumental win, Stokes will be a dangerous opponent at the FIFA eWorld Cup.
One of the best players in the world, FC Basel's Nicolas "Nicolas99fc" Villalba has been just as impressive as he was last year. The Argentine has dominated the PlayStation division, finishing top with 9,770 FIFA Global Series Ranking Points and won cross-console finals for the first time in his career following a couple of Gfinity events. Nicolas has also won the FIFA eClub World Cup and the PlayStation FIFA Global Series Playoffs. Nobody will want to come up against him.
Werder Bremen's Michael "Megabit" Bittner is one of the most consistent players this year, which is why he was able to finish in the top five of the Xbox FIFA Global Series Rankings. The German took home the Virtual Bundesliga title and was the Xbox champion in the Gfinity February FIFA Series, but all of his accomplishments would be eclipsed by winning the FIFA eWorld Cup.
After finishing second in the PlayStation FIFA Global Series Rankings, everyone has begun to take notice of Team Vitality's Corentin "Maestro" Thuillier. The Frenchman took home the e-Ligue 1 and the FIFA eNations Cup trophies and was also the PlayStation champion in the April FUT Champions Cup. There's no such thing as an easy match at the FIFA eWorld Cup but on his day, Maestro can take on anyone.
Another one of the major favourites for this tournament, Rogue's Mossad "MSDossary" Aldossary is the reigning FIFA eWorld Cup champion and will be confident of winning back-to-back world titles. The Saudi Arabian told Goal he doesn't fear any opponent, which isn't surprising seeing as he's considered one of the greatest FIFA pros of all time. With former FIFA Interactive World Cup champion Spencer "Gorilla" Ealing as his coach, even F2Tekkz will struggle to stop MSDossary.
Stefano "Pinna97" Pinna sometimes slips under the radar but isn't a player you want to underestimate. The PSV man is the reigning world PlayStation champion as he was the pro who took on MSDossary in the final last year. After a few high finishes and reaching a fairly safe spot in the FIFA Global Series Rankings, Pinna took the unique decision to take a break from competing to ensure he wasn't burnt out before the FIFA eWorld Cup final. Now the Belgian is back and is ready to go one step further than his impressive showing last year.
Paris Saint-Germain's Lucas "DaXe" Cuillerier finished third in the Xbox FIFA Global Series Rankings following a pretty strong year. He won the FIFA eNations Cup alongside Maestro though he then finished second in e-Ligue 1 behind his France team-mate. DaXe is a fearsome competitor with a lot of experience - he might just step up another level in London.
Finally, we have Lev Vinken who is no longer a free agent after joining esports organisation Mkers. The Dutchman is flying after finishing second in the PlayStation FIFA Global Series Playoffs and will be looking for the first major tournament win of his career when the FIFA eWorld Cup comes around.