Only eight teams remain in the race for the PGL Major Stockholm 2021 title, as the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament enters the playoffs. The first quarter-finals matches have been confirmed on Tuesday, November 2, revealing four exciting matches that will take place in Avicii Arena, where some of the world’s best teams will compete for the coveted trophy and $1,000,000 in winner’s share.
Heroic vs Virtus.pro
The PGL Major Stockholm playoffs will kick off on Thursday, November 4, with an EU vs CIS clash between Heroic and Virtus.pro. It will mark their first meeting since ESL Pro League Season 12 in June 2020 and only their second in history.
Heroic took a long road to the Major playoffs, having first made it through the Challengers Stage. There, they got off to a solid start, beating out TYLOO and MOUZ; however, they slipped and lost two back-to-back games against Copenhagen Flames and Entropiq.
Facing early elimination, Heroic shifted into a higher gear and defeated Movistar Riders with a clean sweep to clinch a spot in the Legends Stage. Then, Heroic found their momentum and ended the tournament’s second stage with a 3-1 record, beating Team Vitality, Copenhagen Flames, and the defending champions despite their iffy showings in the Challengers Stage Astralis.
Virtus.pro did not need to participate in the Challengers Stage, as they received a direct invite to the Legends Stage. However, like Heroic, they had a rough patch, losing two of their opening three matches against NaVi and Gambit.
However, Virtus.pro found the needed strength to bounce back, edging out two wins against MOUZ and FaZe Clan, to secure their first Major playoffs appearance since FACEIT Major: London 2018.
G2 Esports vs Ninjas in Pyjamas
G2 Esports and Ninjas in Pyjamas will clash in the second quarter-finals match of the tournament in what promises to be an exciting affair. These two European CS:GO rosters last met just two weeks back, during Battle of Betway, when G2 won 13-1. However, it was NiP who won in September, during BLAST Premier, with 2-1.
Each team won twice across their last four meetings, which would suggest that we’re in for a close match even though G2 have shown a lot more during the tournament. G2 were – besides NaVi – the only team to end the Legends Stage with a perfect 3-0 record, beating FaZe, Copenhagen Flames, and Entropiq.
NiP, meanwhile, had a solid start to the Major, beating MOUZ and Astralis, but then lost the next two against NaVi and Gambit. As a result, NiP had to play an extremely close fixture with Copenhagen Flames, who they edged out in overtime to secure a spot in the final eight.
Gambit Esports vs FURIA Esports
Former no.1 CS:GO team, Gambit Esports were one of the first teams to qualify for the playoffs, ending the Legends Stage with a 3-1 record. Although they lost against Entropiq in the second match of the stage, the Russian squad proved their worth with wins against ENCE, Virtus.pro, and Ninjas in Pyjamas.
Similarly, FURIA Esports didn’t seem to struggle to qualify for the playoffs, although they started the Legends Stage with a loss. After dropping the ball against Astralis in their opening match, the Brazilians shifted into a higher great and took down MOUZ, Team Liquid, and Entropiq to book a ticket for the quarter-finals early.
Gambit and FURIA will clash on the second day of the PGL Major Stockholm playoffs, marking their first meeting since September, when Gambit won 2-0 during ESL Pro League S14. It will also be their fourth H2H meeting of the year, with Gambit winning all previous three bouts.
Natus Vincere vs Team Vitality
The final PGL Major Stockholm quarter-final match will feature the current no.1 team in the world, Natus Vincere, and Team Vitality, who will clash on Friday, November 5 at 20:00 CET. As two of the highest-rated teams in the world, NaVi and Vitality have met three times in 2021, including in the ESL Pro League Season 14 finals.
NaVi won that match 3-2, albeit they needed 30 rounds on Mirage (16-14) to seal the deal. Still, it’s easy to see why many favour NaVi for this bout.
The CIS squad have been phenomenal throughout the tournament, winning all three of their Legends Stage bouts without any issues. They took down Heroic, Virtus.pro, and Ninjas in Pyjamas, all while keeping their opponents below double digits in all but one map.
Team Vitality had to work harder to make it thus far, needing five Legends Stage bouts to qualify for the tournament’s final stage. The Bees lost their opening two bouts against Virtus.pro and Heroic but found their stride just in time to defeat Evil Geniuses, Astralis, and Entropiq, to go 3-2.
Although a very uninspiring record on paper, Vitality have improved drastically over their last three bouts, largely thanks to Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut, who needed two games to warm up. Now the French CS:GO prodigy has to face his rival, Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, as two of the world’s best players look to help their teams take one step closer to the prestigious PGL Major Stockholm title.
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