Malta’s eSports team made waves this week after beating Italy 2-1 on aggregate in the Round of 16 of the Virtual Pro Gaming eWorld Cup, progressing to a first ever quarter-final against Turkey.
The team composed of a pool of 34 players, chosen after trials, had placed third during the group stages, behind Spain and Germany, with 11 wins from 18 matches played ahead of the knockouts.
Team manager Matthew Attard told the Times of Malta that even though the round to where the team is has been tough, he believes his players can deliver.
“I’m more more than satisfied with the performance of each player – it wasn’t easy getting where we are now,” Attard said.
“Against Italy we played an outstanding game, both defence and attacking plays were on point.
“As a team, I have to say all the hard work and effort they put in is working out as we have never seen Malta eSport doing so well in this competition before.”
“Although it’s our third time entering this competition (VPG International), our players have gained a lot of experience to compete and maybe we can even win it all. Our aim was to qualify and now we’re looking to deliver as other teams are actually fearing us.”
The match against Italy was already a tough test for the side as the Italian eSports team boast having professional players, some of whom are considered stars within the eSports community.
The tie, played on two legs, started away for the Malta side but despite the task at hand, they emerged victorious with a close 1-0 score.
At home, the side managed a 1-1 draw which was enough for them to progress to the next round.
Ahead of the quarter-final against Turkey, team captain Darrell Aquilina looks confident of the team’s chances.
“We already played them once in a friendly match and although we drew 2-2, we hadnt’ played with our best elements,” Aquilina said.
“We think that if this time, we play at our best level, we can beat them to advance to the semi-finals.
“We are all so excited to play next week against Turkey.”