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Team Spirit’s Cinderella Story in The PGL Major Antwerp 2022

How it All Started for The Russian Squad

On May 19, Team Spirit, one of the teams that no one really expected to accomplish much, took down the Brazilian titans FURIA Esports, making themselves worthy of being considered strong contenders for the title, but let’s look back at how they got themselves into this position. Team Spirit arrived at the tournament as one of the teams with the youngest players in the whole event, making a lot of people doubt about how far into the tournament they could go, although they were captained by Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov, a player veteran enough to lead his team to victory.

The Russian squad had to play all the way from the Challengers stage, through the Legends stage, to the final part of the tournament, the Champions stage, and they managed to do it by defying the cs-go odds a myriad of times. Early on in the tournament, Team Spirit failed to take down G2 Esports, a team that was considered one of the strongest ones coming into the event, and that defeat was the start of Team Spirit’s Cinderella story.

Team Spirit's Cinderella Story in The PGL Major Antwerp 2022
Team Spirit had to play all the way from the Challengers Stage to the Champions Stage to get a shot at winning the major

They did manage to get through the Challengers stage in a fairly easy manner, where they took down Imperial Esports and Eternal Fire, two teams considered far from being contenders for the title. But Team Spirit wanted to prove to the whole world that they were a threat to the competition, and they achieved this by 2-0’ing Astralis in their advancement match, which turned a few heads.

Team Spirit Proved to Be Real Contenders For The Title

Team Spirit's Cinderella Story in The PGL Major Antwerp 2022
Chopper is one of the main factors for Team Spirit’s ability to overcome the toughest challenges they’ve had in the event

After taking down Astralis in such a convincing fashion, Team Spirit was no longer going undetected in many teams’ radars, although they were still far from being the strongest team in the tournament, and many cs-go betting experts would agree with this. Team Spirit still had a long way ahead of them to get into the playoffs stage, but they were determined to get through the Legends Stage.

Their first opponent in the second stage of the event would be FURIA, the strongest Brazilian representative in the CSGO betting sites scene for quite a while now. But Team Spirit would play their best game they had shown so far in the tournament and took down the team captained by Andrei “arT” Piovezan, even though it cost them a lot of effort to do so. Now Team Spirit was two matches away from getting themselves into the Champions Stage.

For their advancement match, they would have to face another of the underdogs in the tournament, the Copenhagen Flames. This was Team Spirit’s biggest challenge in the event so far, but that didn’t intimidate the roster of young players. The Flames managed to win the first game of the encounter, putting them in a very comfortable position to take over the series. But Team Spirit wouldn’t give up easily and proceeded to completely roll over the Danish lineup, securing themselves a spot in the Playoffs stage.

FURIA’s Opportunity to Claim Revenge

Team Spirit's Cinderella Story in The PGL Major Antwerp 2022
Team Spirit would have to play in front of thousands and thousands of people, including many Brazilian fans supporting FURIA

Team Spirit versus FURIA Esports would be one of the first encounters in the Champions Stage, which might have raised Team Spirit’s hope quite a bit, considering they were able to take the Brazilian representative earlier on in the tournament. But everybody still expected FURIA to win over the Russian team, just because of how good they can be when playing under pressure, compared to Team Spirit, the team with a lot of young players that aren’t carrying a lot of experience coming into this tournament.

But what happened in the series was something completely unexpected and might change the expected course of the entire tournament. The first game of the series was played on Vertigo, FURIA’s pick and their best map by far, in which they had a 7-1 record before this match, and because of that, everybody thought Team Spirit had no chance at all to win over FURIA in the first game. But against all the expectations Team Spirit put up a good fight in the first half and ultimately ended up defeating their Brazilian counterpart after 28 rounds.

Team Spirit's Cinderella Story in The PGL Major Antwerp 2022
Winning the series meant they would have to face the winner of the FaZe versus Ninjas in Pyjamas encounter

Now Team Spirit had the opportunity to play on the map of their choice, Ancient, and on a quick note, they were undefeated in their last 4 Ancient games, they were feeling extremely confident in this game, and it really showed. Team Spirit struggled to get a lead during the first half on T side, but that didn’t faze them at all, and at the second half, they won 8 out of the 9 rounds they played on CT side, closing out the game with a 16-8 score in their favor, guaranteeing themselves a spot in the semifinals.

Team Spirit proved to the whole competition that they are capable of taking down the best teams in the tournament, and now they’ll be going up against FaZe Clan in the semifinals, the team currently ranked #1 in the CSGO world rankings. It’s clear that once again, Team Spirit will be playing against the odds, but they might just do as they have been doing in the past and manage to upset FaZe, although it will be much harder than taking down FURIA.

We still don’t know who is going to win the encounter, but we do know that Team Spirit already proved a lot of people wrong. They showed that a young lineup can compete against the most experienced players in the world and give them a run for their money. Team Spirit is keeping the magic of CSGO alive, and for that, we are thankful to them.

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