Underdogs against favourites for the final
Can Latvia take out the defending champs?
Latvia has knocked out Sweden in the quarter-finals – but can 'chibra' and 'snipencelly8' pull off another shocker against Finland?
At the 2020 IIHF Esports Fan Championship, the Latvians were eliminated in the first round after losing 15-16 to Slovakia. Two years later, Kristers 'chibra' Bauers and Juris 'snipencelly8' Lopatko will fight for a place in the final.
The duo had already represented Latvia in 2020, but have consistently improved since then. In the group stage, 'chibra' and 'snipencelly8' finished second behind Canada, the first surprise followed in the quarter-finals.
Latvians gaining momentum after overtime thriller
In a wild 9-8 overtime victory, the Latvians defeated the co-favourites from Sweden. In the semi-finals things don’t get easier: Finland is the defending champion.
Erik 'ENCEKI' Tammenpää, 2020 MVP and winner of the NHL Gaming World Championship in Europe, and Valtteri 'Vattuyy' Virtanen have marched through the tournament in dominant fashion so far. As first in Group A and with an 11-8 win against Switzerland in the quarter-finals.
Finland not invulnerable
But a closer look reveals possibilities for Latvia: 'ENCEKI' was forced into overtime by Denmark's Martin 'xProAm69x' Vibholm Nielsen in the group stage, 'Vattuyy' lost 1-5 to Switzerland's Sven 'OriginaL-SnuS' Julmi on Saturday.
However, 'chibra' and 'snipencelly8' have already used up one ace up their sleeve: The Latvians played with the Canadian national team in the quarter-finals, which has the highest overall rating in NHL™ 22.
This option does not exist in the semi-finals, due to tournament rules competitors are allowed to select a country only once in the playoffs. Finland played Czechia first, and is looking to save the Canada team for the final, something the Latvians might be counting on.
Two livestreams on Twitch
The first semi-final of the 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship between Finland and Latvia will start on Sunday at 16:00 UTC. It will be broadcasted live on the IIHF's Twitch channel, with a Finnish stream available in parallel.
Main stream: https://www.twitch.tv/iihfhockey
Finnish stream: https://www.twitch.tv/sportsgamergg