Not too long ago, 9z made history when they qualified for the PGL Antwerp Major earlier this year and became the first CSGO team with Argentinian, Uruguayan, and Chilean players to qualify for a Valve-sponsored tournament. 9z have only kept improving and can write another glorious chapter for South American Counter-Strike at the IEM Rio Major if they win one more game and qualify for the Legends Stage.
The team of Uruguayan duo Franco “dgt” Garcia and Maximiliano “max” Gonzalez, Chilean rifler David “dav1d” Maldonado, Brazilian AWPer Lucas “nqz” Soares, and Argentinian youngster Nicolás “buda” Kramer are currently 2-1 in the IEM Rio Major Challengers Stage following a hard-fought 19-17 victory against Evil Geniuses today. They were behind 15-13 and not only pushed the Nuke game to overtime but also took down their North American rivals thanks to a 3-0 run as the CTs in OT.
Max had a huge impact on the series because of his calling and reads, and he also was clearly the MVP of the game. The Uruguayan in-game leader finished the Nuke game with 35 kills and just 19 deaths, which netted him a 1.61 rating. His crispy aim in round 21 allowed him to pick up an impressive quad-kill.
To qualify for the Legends Stage, though, 9z will have to win a best-of-three series in the IEM Rio Major Challengers Stage. They’ll have two opportunities to do so since they’re currently in the 2-1 pool of the Swiss system. EG, on the other hand, find themselves with their backs against the wall and will have to win two best-of-three series to remain alive in the tournament and reach the Legends Stage of the IEM Rio Major.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian fans at the Riocentro venue, home of the IEM Rio CSGO Major for the Challengers and Legends Stages, have been a spectacle in their own right. The venue is packed with a crowd that has been chanting nonstop to all Brazilian teams, Imperial, FURIA, and 00 Nation, in addition to 9z, the South American with Brazilian AWPer Lucas “nqz” Soares, and Brazilian head coach Rafael “zakk” Fernandes, setting up an incredible and unforeseen atmosphere for the matches.
And all of the energy that the crowd has delivered thus far has not gone unnoticed. Valve, the developer of CSGO, said yesterday there has never been a crowd like the one at IEM Rio Major in previous Majors. And today was the day for 9z’s Uruguayan in-game leader Maximiliano “max” Gonzalez to praise the Brazilian fans following 9z victory over Evil Geniuses.
“Today we felt [the crowd] a lot,” Max said in an interview. “9z is an Argentinian organization, a South American team, with people from everywhere. We have lots of Brazilians in the team and we represent the whole South America. Brazil is also 9z. It was very beautiful, I want to feel this my whole life.”
9z have felt something no one else felt in IEM Rio Major thus far. The Brazilian crowd supported them against European and North American teams but also cheered against them when facing Imperial, as any CS:GO fan could expect. The feelings of Max echo what the FURIA captain Andrei “arT” Piovezan said earlier. The Brazilian in-game leader said after beating OG in a nail-biter they felt the crowd’s energy and knew they would beat the Europeans in overtime.
There will be a crowd for all of the IEM Rio Major stages and it will be even bigger when the competition reaches the playoffs as the action will move to a bigger venue: Jeunesse Arena. The Major is just getting started, so make sure to stay tuned as we’ll be sharing our esports picks with you! Don’t forget to bet on esports at BetUS Sportsbook & Casino. We’ve plenty of CSGO odds for you to consider.