An away win at Anfield is considered one of the biggest scalps in football – and this weekend one fan will achieve that accolade and a cool $20,000 (£15,580), simply for being good at PES 2017 (opens in new tab).
Okay, ‘simply’ may be something of an understatement. The overall winner of a 16-man tournament will have to see off the best Pro Evo players from across Europe, in what essentially forms the semi-finals of PES’s worldwide eSports competition (opens in new tab). The winner scores that big 20K prize, but the top four competitors will all go on to Cardiff this June to duke it out in another 16-way tourney – and the winner of that one will be declared world champ.
Very excited to take part in the Regional Finals this week for #PESLEAGUE #PESLEAGUEUK $20k to the winner, qualifying to the WF is my aim 👊👊24 April 2017
Collectively, the UK & Ireland has two qualifiers bidding for glory on the digital turf, with Germany, Italy and Spain also supplying two players apiece. The other territories represented are Rest Of Europe (two players), Austria & Switzerland (one), Greece (one), Netherlands (one), Nordic (one), Portugal (one) and Turkey (one).
Particularly ironic given the location of the tournament are the UK representatives’ club ties: Dex Kord (AKA DexK) and Ali Sufi (AKA bad_boy_g_2011) both follow Liverpool’s arch-rivals Manchester United. Kord is considered a strong favourite for both the Anfield competition, and the finals in Wales should he get there – he’s finished third in the world three years running.
As an aside, German contender Dennis Winkler’s club allegiance is also worth pondering: he says he supports Arsenal’s 2003/04 undefeatables and Guardiola-era Barcelona, rather than any specific individual team.
Sergio cool as Falcao! #pesleague #RoadtoCardiff pic.twitter.com/YsVOGKMRKe17 April 2017
“We’re anticipating a brilliant spectacle at Anfield that brings together the very best in football and professional gaming," says senior director Jonas Lygaard. "Following our channels is the only place to get all PES League content during the Regional Final.”
The Anfield knockout marks the final stages of the PES League Road To Cardiff, which all console players have been eligible for by playing online matches during the season. As a result, Konami has released some funky stats covering the campaign thus far, which you can see by enlarging the below image.
Of note: there’ve been an impressive 4.99 goals a game, from 10.37 shots – meaning almost one in two chances are going in during online matches. The things Vincent Janssen would do for such a conversion rate. There’ve been more than 185 passes per game, but only 16 tackles; confirming PES once more as the purists’ choice of football game.
GamesRadar+ will be reporting behind the scenes from the PES World League finals on 3 June, where the overall winner takes home a colossal $200,000 first prize. There’s a big bag of swag on offer for the runner-up and third-place finisher, too: $100,000 and $50,000 respectively.
PES 2017 is out now on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.
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