Last summer, the French national football team traveled to Russia and, after a slow start, proved themselves to be the best team in the world. France defeated Croatia 4-2 in a memorable final in Moscow to claim the title of World Cup winners for the second time.
Then, last weekend, the French duo of Maestro and DaXe earned another piece of silverware for the French Football Federation. They claimed the top prize in the inaugural FIFA eNations Cup tournament in London.
The story of how the French duo achieved their dramatic win began on the first day. It looked to be an extremely tough Group A.
eNations Cup – Day One
England led the Group A table on the first day with just one defeat, two draws, and six wins. France was second, also with 20 points. Saudi Arabia was third with 14 points but did not advance.
Then, in Group B, free-scoring Mexico led the way after the first day with 23 points. But it was a real tussle for second. Both the USA and Spain finished at 16 points with just one goal difference between the two teams. New Zealand and China rounded out the group. Spain and Mexico advanced.
In Group C, Argentina and Brazil played superbly to clinch the top two spots in the group. Germany, Sweden, and Norway could not cope with the two South American sides. Brazil topped Group C with the highest number of points of any team in the quarterfinals, 27.
Group D proved the tightest. Denmark sat atop of the group with 17 points but had to see how results in other games involving Portugal, Australia, Russia, and the Netherlands panned out. There was real drama as a late goal in the Portugal vs. Australia clash saw the Portuguese pip Denmark to top spot in the group.
eNations Cup playoff recap
The quarterfinals pitted England against Argentina, Spain taking on Portugal, France against Brazil, and Denmark vs. Mexico. Surprises ensued.
The games were played over a two-legged format. First, the two designated Xbox players squared off, followed by the PS4 players. The aggregate of the two games was used to decide the winners.
In a real shock, host nation England was ousted by Argentina. Portugal then surprised many by seeing off their Iberian rivals Spain. And Denmark produced a good display to beat Mexico. France, however, produced the best performance in the quarterfinals, beating Brazil with relative ease to move into the semis.
In the semifinal, Argentina faced Denmark and duly dispatched the Danes to earn a place in the final. There, they would take on the improving French team, who were too good for Portugal in the other semifinal winning 1-0 on PS4 and then 2-1 on the Xbox.
The final always looked likely to be a tight affair. The Xbox game was up first: Maestro and nicolas99fc produced an entertaining 1-1 draw. That set up up a winner-take-all match on the PS4 between Yago of Argentina and DaXe of France.
Midway through the first half, DaXe grabbed the opener for France. Then, four minutes into the second half, he doubled his lead. Yago pulled one back quickly, but despite late pressure, he could not find an equalizer and DaXe held on to record the win for France.
Speaking on the official FIFA website, Maestro stated:
“It feels great to win the first ever FIFA eNations Cup with my brother. It’s crazy! I want to thank the French Football Federation. Everybody worked hard for us to be in good condition and we’re grateful for that.”
Then, from DaXe:
“I’m very happy we’re able to give France their first ever FIFA eNations Cup, it’s an amazing moment to win it. ‘Yago’ is so good, he beat Tekkz earlier in the tournament. We never play a final, we win a final. We did the job. Allez Les Bleus!”
After clinching a healthy cash prize for their win of around $20,000 apiece, the two French players also bagged 1,500 FIFA Global Series points for their victory. This will move them right up the FIFA Global Series rankings and give them a real chance of competing in the Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup 2019 tournament later in the year.
Image credit: Dan Mullan – FIFA / Contributor / Getty Images