AIFF Media Team
NEW DELHI: The Indian eFootball national team ended the opening day of the FIFAe Nations Cup 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with four points from five matches in Group D.
The eTigers, being represented by Charanjot Singh, Saransh Jain and Saksham Rattan, beat South Africa (1-0) and drew with Peru (1-1), but suffered losses to Germany (1-2), Sweden (0-3), and Israel (0-6). India are currently placed fifth in the group. At the top are Israel and Sweden with nine points, followed by Germany with eight and Peru with six. South Africa are winless and at the bottom of the tally with two points.
Matches are played in a 2v2 format played on EA Sports FIFA 23 FUT mode. Charanjot and Saransh played all five matches on Day 1, while Saksham remained on the bench. The group stage, consisting of four groups of six teams each, is being played in a double round-robin format. The top four teams from each group will advance to the knockout stages beginning from the Round of 16. India will face all five of their group opponents on Day 2 as well, on July 12, which will determine the final standings.
All the action is being streamed live on the Indian Football YouTube and Twitch channels.
The FIFAe Nations Cup 2023 is being held as part of the FIFAe Finals 2023 organised by FIFA in conjunction with Gamers8 Festival at the Boulevard Riyadh City. The total prize pool of FIFAe Nations Cup has doubled from last year's $500,000 to $1Million this year.
The FIFAe Nations Cup, first organised in 2019, is the pinnacle event for countries in the FIFA esports ecosystem, wherein 24 nations compete for the coveted trophy. France won the inaugural edition in 2019 while Brazil secured the title last year.
The eTigers kicked off their campaign with a 1-2 loss to Germany, who were represented by Levyfinn and Umut. After conceding early on, India fought back to level the scores at half-time, but the Europeans retook the advantage after the restart and held on for a narrow victory.
However, India shrugged off that defeat quickly enough and opened their account with a 1-0 win over South Africa, represented by Kaylan and Zaidapril, in the next match. The Africans proved tough to break down for the majority of the contest, but a late penalty got the job done for India.
The eTigers were then dealt their second loss by the group's top seeds and world rank 4 side Sweden. The duo of Oliboli and Optolle won 3-0, doing all the damage in the first half and not allowing India any chance to get anything from the game.
Things got worse for India in the next match as they were handed a 0-6 drubbing by the Israel duo of Yuval and Feldman, who raced to a two-goal lead early on before adding four more in the second half. The last match of the day saw India come from behind to earn a point in a gritty 1-1 draw with Peru's dms10_fc and RioCuartoMagic, and stay within touching distance of the knockout stages.
Day 1 results:
India 1-2 Germany
South Africa 0-1 India
India 0-3 Sweden
India 0-6 Israel
Peru 1-1 India
Day 2 fixtures (in IST):
Germany vs India (22:30, July 12)
India vs South Africa (22:55, July 12)
Sweden vs India (23:20, July 12)
Israel vs India (00:05, July 13)
India vs Peru (00:30, July 13)