Italy have emerged triumphant to be crowned the winners of UEFA eEURO 2020, beating Serbia in the final to clinch the inaugural eEuropean Championship.
Represented by a team of four gamers – AlonsoGrayfox, Naples17x, Nicaldan and Genoa_Npk02 – Italy were consistently impressive in the virtual final tournament, played on Konami’s efootball PES 2020 on Playstation 4. Beaten just once in qualifying, the Azzurri dispatched Israel in the quarter-finals and France in the last four to set up their showdown with Serbia.
Serbia had got past Spain and Romania in the previous rounds but were immediately on the back foot as AlonsoGrayfox saw off RoksaCzv22 at the start of the decider, a best-of-five series. Kepa_PFC then levelled the contest for Serbia against Genoa_Npk02, before Nicaldan edged RoksaCzv22 1-0 and Naples17x downed Kepa_PFC with a last-minute goal in a 2-1 victory.
“It was a great emotion,” said Italy player AlonsoGrayfox after the final. “It was incredible to have come to this point, and now we have won it. I cannot express my feelings in words. The decisive game for us was the one against France in the semi-finals. That victory gave us self-confidence. I’m proud to be Italian, and I’m proud to be Sardinian. It’s incredible, I still cannot believe we did it – it’s a dream.”
What was UEFA eEURO 2020?
The biggest ever national team efootball competition, featuring all 55 UEFA national associations. The format of the tournament was similar to the template for UEFA EURO 2020, involving a qualification phase and culminating in the final tournament. It was played exclusively on Konami’s efootball PES 2020 on Playstation 4.
ALL THE RESULTS
What happened in the knockout stage?
Serbia 1-3 Italy (best of five games)
Romania 1-2 Serbia (best of three games)
Italy 2-0 France
Netherlands 1-2 Romania (best of three games)
Spain 1-2 Serbia
Italy 2-0 Israel
France 2-0 Croatia
MEET THE LAST EIGHT
How did the finals work?
Are you sitting comfortably? The finals began with a group stage, but it was not a group stage in the usual sense, with all teams playing each other. Instead, there were two initial fixtures in each group. The two ‘winners’ then met, with the victor of that tie advancing as group winners (with a 2-0 win record); the two ‘losers’ also faced each other, with a second loss bringing elimination. The winner of the ‘losers’ fixture went into a tie-breaker with the loser from the ‘winners’ tie, the victors progressing to the quarter-finals as runners-up (with a 2-1 win record).
All the results from the group stage and a handy graphical explanation can be found here.
From then on it was much simpler, a straight knockout tournament. The four group winners were randomly drawn against a runner-up team from another group. Each match until the final was then a best-of-three series, with the final played as a best of five. Matches were contested 1-vs-1.
What happened in qualifying?
The qualifying phase ran between 9 and 30 March. A draw placed the 55 teams into ten groups of five or six, with each country playing two matches (1-vs-1) against the other countries in the same group; points from both matches were added to the group table. The ten group winners qualified directly for the final tournament.
The ten runners-up competed in a play-off tournament to determine the other six finalists. A draw placed them into two groups of five, with the top three from each advancing to the finals.
Watch selected matches here:
Finals group stage
Finals knockout stage
What prize did the winners receive?
A total of €100,000 in cash prizes was split between all the finalists, including €40,000 for the winners.