With the Knockout Stage only days away, the competitors are gearing up and preparing to fight for national dominance of the competitive FIFA scene. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the casters and crew continue to dispute and discuss the outcome of this exciting event - read on to take a look at some of our very own predictions!
Knockout Stage Caster and Crew Predictions - A Clear Favourite, A Mixed Podium
Of course, for those unaware, the Knockout Stage is the climax of the BOV ePremier League 2021/22 season. Indeed, the best eight competitive FIFA players in the country have fought tooth and nail to get to this point and all plan to go down swinging. For the full context, we highly recommend taking a look at our in-depth preview for this upcoming which kicks off on May 28th.
Before we dive into the predictions below, let's refresh everyone's memory with the list of participants contesting and their representative clubs:
- Balzan FC - Miguel "Migi" Grima
- Santa Lucia FC - Gianluca "Turbulense" Sant
- Hamrun Spartans - Matthias "Tubbi" Farrugia
- Gudja United - Kursten "KurstenFIFA" Sciberras
- Sliema Wanderers - Luke "LukeBartolo99" Bartolo
- Gzira United - Duane "DuaneMercieca" Mercieca
- Birkirkara FC - Kyle "Barzak" Calleja
- Mosta FC - Matteo "Vella_999" Vella
Now, let's see what some of the predictions look like!
Kurt Bonnici - Esports Project Manager, Malta Football Association
Certainly, it's a tough draw for the veteran players, as all 4 players who have competed in a previous season have been drawn against each other up to the semi-final. Yet, they all will get a chance at redemption with the new Losers; Bracket integration.
Overall, I would say that Sliema Wanderers and Santa Lucia will face each other in the semi-final.
Here, Santa Lucia will have the edge as Gianluca "Turbulense" Sant will have last season's winner, Christian Spiteri, by his side to help calm him down.
Otherwise, Hamrun I believe will face Gianluca "Turbulense" Sant in the finals after beating Balzan in the semis. Further to my point, I believe that this season, the coaches will play a big part in the progression to the next round.
After Sliema goes to the Losers' Bracket Final I do not see it as an issue for him to once again find his place in the Grand Final against Santa Lucia, which will force an extra round. Yet, overall, Santa Lucia will prevail in the 3rd fixture between them and eventually be crowned champion:
- Santa Lucia FC
- Sliema Wanderers
- Hamrun Spartans
- Balzan FC
Kurt Aquilina - Operations Director, GMR
Given that this time around, it is a double-elimination, it is harder to predict who the winner will be since everyone has another chance to make it to the Finals.
In summary, heading into the WB Semi-Finals, in my opinion, will be Mosta vs Hamrun and Sliema vs Santa Lucia.
Also, considering the current bracket matchup, we will see a new face making it to the Winner Bracket Final but I still think that someone from last year's players will make it to the Grand Final which is either Santa Lucia or Sliema (LukeBartolo99 or Turbulense).
Looking at the Losers' Bracket from Round #2, and given the swap matchup, there is the likelihood that LukeBartolo99 or Turbulense will face one of the new players where it will be a do or die situation for them.
Should they both succeed in making it to Match 6, the road will be tough for one of them to make it to the Grand Finals since either will need to win 3 matches in a row.
Bearing this in mind, should one of them make it all the way to the Grand Final from the Losers' bracket I would predict that the player in question will win this year's season and have a Grand Final played on two series, therefore 4 games.
- Santa Lucia FC or Sliema Wanderers
- Hamrun Spartans or Gzira United
- One of the Above
Kersten Chircop - Founder, GMR
Taking an initial look at the bracket, it seems that we will be having quite an interesting weekend.
Coincidentally the bracket got grouped into newcomers and veterans respectively, meaning that the WB Final will definitely see a new player against a more experienced one and potentially with the same scenario for the Grand Final.
Favourites Sliema and Santa Lucia, have a chance to be facing each other early in the bracket should they both win their opening match, putting additional pressure on the one going down to the Losers' bracket.
Certainly, it’s quite difficult to predict how everything will play out since the players are very close in terms of level as seen during the Group Stage.
Having said that, my personal favourites going forward would be:
- Sliema Wanderers
- Balzan FC
- Gzira United
Ricardo Flask - Shoutcaster
Clearly, LukeBartolo99 is most likely to win based on the fact he was second last year. LukeBartolo99 has the experience, a particular gameplay style and keeps his cool.
The first encounter will be against Kyle "Barzak" Calleja and on paper seems to be an easy win for LukeBartolo99, since Barzak scraped through the Group Stages.
Also, Miguel "Migi" Grima is definitely one to watch and given his performance, he is also a title contender.
The first match will be against Matteo "Vella_999" Vella, who like Barzak gained access to the Quarters by placing third in his group. Although an underdog, Vella_999 might give a tough challenge to Miguel.
Of note, Matthias "Tubbi" Farrugia made an excellent comeback in the Group Stage and if he stays focused will surely give a hard time to any opponent. Playing the first game against DuaneMercieca will be quite a tough test.
Maybe out of all the four quarter-finals, this might be a match not to miss!
Furthermore, another interesting match would be between Gianluca "Turbulense" Sant and Kursten "KurstenFIFA" Sciberras. These two will surely fight it to the last minute to try and have a chance at being the local ePL contender.
Max "Sandmax24" Vassallo - Shoutcaster
My predictions would be either LukeBartolo99 or Turbulense to lift the trophy. LukeBartolo99 is by far the most experienced player, but Turbulense seemed to have the most methodological approach to his FIFA.
Also, spoke to all the players and many believe he is a heavy favourite - I'll go with the professionals on this one.
Gabriel Sciberras - Content Writer
After these extensive predictions, I'll keep mine short and sweet as listed below:
- Favourite: Sliema Wanderers
- Contenders: Santa Lucia FC, Hamrun Spartans
- Underdog: Gzira United
For context, my pick for Duane "DuaneMercieca" Mercieca for Gzira United as the underdog is based on the simple fact that he managed to hold off the favourite Luke "LukeBartolo99" Bartolo with an epic 5-5 draw in the Group Stage - an achievement which speaks volumes.
Feel free to share your predictions in the comments section below!