UPDATE: August 16th, 11pm: It’s been a nightmare start for England.
Sadly FOUR homegrown players have been eliminated from the group stages today, including a shock bottom-of-the-table finish for Tass in Xbox Group 2.
Gorilla is the only Brit that remains in the competition, so Bullock’s prediction below is technically still on.
But they will be feeling the pain right now – hopefully they can come back stronger next time.
Words can’t explain how upset I am right now. Thank you all for your support and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to do you guys proud❤️
— xShellzz (@shellzz_22) August 16, 2017
I let the first loss get to me which hurt me throughout the tournament. Hopefully I’ll learn with more experience playing competitively ??️
— Ryan (@xL_Stackzz) August 16, 2017
What a year, first of all I want to say sorry 2 everyone I let down, including myself. However I am a Champion. Me/Thierry will see u on 18? pic.twitter.com/20nmrl2bOI
— Tass (@Hashtag_Tass) August 16, 2017
My FIFA 17 journey has ended today. I had high expectations but all I did was disappoint. I’ve let a lot of people down. I’m sorry
— OfficialBullock (@OffBullock) August 16, 2017
Genuinely close to tears. I really wanted to prove a point to family and friends that I could make a living out of this.
— OfficialBullock (@OffBullock) August 16, 2017
Through to tomorrow for the knockouts of @FIWC.Played some good Fifa in my last few games so hopefully can continue that form into tomorrow!
— Spencer (@Gorilla_Unilad) August 16, 2017
The 2017 FIFA Interactive World Cup finals are underway in London’s Central Hall Westminster, and England is well-represented.
There are five English players taking part, making us the second most-represented nation (behind Germany, who have six). Our players in the finals are:
- Spencer “Gorilla” Ealing (20 years old)
- Tassal “Tass” Rushan (23 years old)
- Christopher “Thee Bullock” Bullock (22 years old)
- Ryan “R_STACKZZ X” Pessoa (19 years old)
- Shaun “XSHELLZZ” Springette (18 years old)
7m players entered the competition and now we’re down to the final 32.
While Gorilla and Tass are arguably the favourites for England, we managed to speak with the three underdogs in a video interview (embedded below), and asked them about England’s chances.
Thee Bullock told Esports News UK: “This is the biggest FIFA tournament there’s ever been and there’s five English lads. I’m pretty sure that there will be an English champion by the end of Friday. I think this is the biggest chance of winning this tournament.”
Stackzz – who represents UK org Excel Esports, added: “I believe England have a massive chance. I believe all English players will advance from their groups, and we’ll see what happens from there.
“Even though there are certain names on paper, such as Gorilla, Tass and RocKy, I think everyone has an equal chance to win the competition – everyone is here on merit.
“I believe the right person who turns up on the three days will be the person who wins the tournament.”
“I believe England have a massive chance. I believe all English players will advance from their groups, and we’ll see what happens from there.”
Stackzz, Excel Esports
Shellzz, the youngest English player taking part in the World Cup at 18 years of age, has made an impact on the pro scene in the space of a year.
He said: “Two of our five English players are considered the best in the world, so I think we’ve got a good chance. Us three are up there but we’re not as high-profile as the other two, which is not a bad thing. It gives us the underdog, element of surprise role.
“Anyone can win, this is the equivalent of the World Cup but on FIFA. So anyone here can win, we just have to find out on the day.”
Friends or rivals?
How much of a rivalry is it between the five English players? Will the friendliness dissipate if they go up against each other?
Bullock said: “I think the friendship is going to always be there no matter what.
“At the end of the day, if we are matched against each other, we know we’ve got a job to do. But there’s massive respect for each other.”
“Two of our five English players are considered the best in the world, so I think we’ve got a good chance. Us three are up there but we’re not as high-profile as the other two, which is not a bad thing. It gives us the underdog, element of surprise role.”
‘Give FIFA esports a chance’
The English players urged people to get behind them, even if they’re not fans of FIFA video games.
Bullock said: “If you’re watching, just get behind us all. It does mean a lot to us and I think with support, we can go far.”
Shellzz added: “Give FIFA esports a chance. It’s like watching a real football game. If you have a favourite player and you see them concede a goal, it’s like watching your football team concede, and when they score you’re going to cheer.
“It’s like real football but playing on a game. I think people need to understand that and see it’s a big thing – and it’s only getting bigger.”
Follow live coverage of the FIFA Interactive World Cup here
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League player and WoW RPer, he has written for a range of publications including Games TM, Nintendo Official Magazine, games industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games. He currently works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association.