The PES League 2019 Europe Regional Finals Season 2 took place in Portugal this month.
We got the chance to attend the event and speak with three generations of PES players: The Schoolboy Scot, The Superstar in his Prime and a Past Master with a few tricks left up his sleeve.
20 players from across Europe assembled in Porto to compete for a place and a shot at ultimate glory in this year’s PES League World Finals.
Two finalists qualified from 1v1, with one team going through from the co-op category.
Teamwork makes the dream work
In the co-op category, teams of two and three players battle it out in the group stage with the top two teams proceeding to a winner-takes-all finale, winning qualification to the PES League World Finals.
Complete with the dramatic twists and turns you’d expect of a big game, the co-op final took us on an adrenaline-fuelled ride, visiting the emotional highs and lows every football fan is familiar with.
90 PES minutes of end to end action ensued, each side exhibiting the incredible technique and teamwork you’d expect at this level.
As full-time closed in, SCREEEAAMER! Pro-team Mkers score an emphatic late equaliser to bring the score to 2 – 2.
On to Extra-time, which somehow packed more in drama and tension than the previous 90 minutes with Quedesshlags providing one of the highlights of the tournament pulling off an impossible last-ditch tackle to deny Mkers an almost certain tournament-winning goal.
The game was eventually decided on penalties and won by Quedesshlags, a French duo made up of Kams 25, an experienced and confident tactician partnered by the rising star dubbed the Little Genius, Kilzyou 17.
The pair will go on to compete in the PES League 2019 Grand Finals.
In it to win it
In the 1v1 Category, individual players competed in group stages with the top eight players proceeding to the Quarter Finals Knockouts, competing for qualification to the PES League World Finals.
Frenchman Usmakabyle of AS Monaco FC and Christopher_PW representing Portugal were stand out players from the group stages both dominating their respective groups, each collecting 10 points from 3 wins and a draw to qualify for the knockout stages.
Christopher_PW dispatched Antgragero10 in the Quarters to take on the overachieving British Schoolboy, Ostrybuch, in the Semifinals.
Despite scoring one of the goals of the tournament, the young Scot’s Cinderella story was snuffed out by the ruthless efficiency and greater experience of Christopher_PW.
Usmakabyle’s road to the final was more challenging but that didn’t stop him sweeping aside Lotfi_Derradji in the Quarters before facing tough opposition in the Semi-Finals, in the form of tournament favourite Alexalguacil_8, the Spanish star of Barcelona FC esports team.
An intense 2-1 victory saw Usmakabyle literally roar into the finals.
The 1v1 final was a clash of two titans, PES pro’s in their prime, matched in a test of technical ability, concentration and game management.
With these two great talents and strong individual personalities set to collide, the 1v1 Grand Final promised to be an exciting spectacle and it did not disappoint.
Usmakabyle and Christopher_PW took turns controlling and leading the game only to end 90 PES minutes tied at 3 – 3.
Extra time took us to 4 – 4 and eventually, just like the Co-Op final, the two could only be separated by penalties.
Usmakabyle won 4-2 on pens.
Watch out for these exciting talents representing Europe at next years PES League Grand Finals!
During the tournament, we sat down with three generations of PES players and found out a bit about their stories
Semi-Finalist | First ever tournament | 2 years Experience
The schoolboy Scot from Paisley, who at 15 was the youngest player in attendance. With only two years of PES experience under his belt many were unsure and nervous about this new, unquantified talents arrival on the scene.
When did you realise you were good enough to be a pro?
Funny story, I didn’t even know that I had qualified for this event. Then one day I went and checked my email and I had an email form PES support, and I was like ‘I have no idea what’s happening’. A couple of days from the UK finals and I didn’t even realise I was qualified! If I hadn’t gone on my email I would have missed it!
What did your Mum and Dad think about all this?
My dad was pretty happy because he had seen that I could play very well. Thing is, I didn’t think I could compete at these levels. And my mum thought I would just compete in this one event go home and not go back to it!
Does your dad play?
My dad plays a wee bit of PES that’s why I started playing, we would play a couple of games, then I started playing MyClub and it spiralled from there. He doesn’t want to play me anymore… he always says tomorrow or later or makes an excuse.
How have you become so good, so fast? What is your secret?
I try to model the way I play off of other players who have beaten me before. I don’t really make my tactics secret,
What about real life football?
I don’t play real football anymore, I stopped playing about a year ago. I still follow it though and support Man City in the premier league, I love Aguero.
Is this something you want to pursue long term or is just a short term adventure?
I hope so, I don’t think I will be able to win against some of these top players though they are unreal.
Not everyone gets to have an opportunity like this, I have been very lucky!
From Quedesshlags (Co-Op Winners) | At the Peak of his Powers
What did you play first? Real Life football or virtual?
Chuckling in reference to his rotund form, Kams tells me how he started out playing real football, where he was a midfield playmaker, pulling the strings and controlling the game from the middle of the park “I’m more like a technical guy, I don’t move, I’m just giving balls to my teammates,” Kams said.
After playing Pro Evolution Soccer with my brother I realised I preferred playing PES than real life football.
After a while, I started to organise offline events and tournaments back home in France and I joined an esports club.
I made PES vice French champion 2015 and then PES National Champion of France in 2016. I’m improving year and year after year. Last year we were in the PES world finals so it would be amazing to make it today to
Who’s your favourite player to watch in real life/use in PES.
I like Aubemyang, both in real life and on PES, I like how he plays, his speed, the way he scores.
He’s a former player of St Etienne in the French league, he was a great player there before he went to Dortmund.
I like Aubameyang, I like his communication, how he communicates on social media, on twitter etc and the game he is also a beast!
What’s the most crushing defeat you’ve suffered?
Last year (2018) in the PES World Final, at the beginning we were favourites, everyone was talking about us as potential winners.
We lost 2-0 to the Netherlands team and it was for us, very, very devastating. We didn’t even manage to play our way which was the most frustrating.
We didn’t even rewatch the game afterwards!
It was the biggest, most frustrating loss in my PES career.
And your greatest Triumph?
I think my greatest triumph was on PES 2013, it was my first triumph when I realised I could beat the best players, at this moment, I knew I was good, I enjoyed it.
I actually lost in the final of the competition but I was so happy, so proud of myself that I thought, I’m going to continue, I’m to continue, to be better and better.
How do you prepare for your matches, how do you get in the zone?
Before this competition, for example, I was just listening to some music, concentrating, creating a space, an atmosphere.
I like to listen to energetic, hype music, you know, to give you the strength to beat the opposition!
AKA The Om3n_R3turns | The Seasoned Pro OG
Does being good at Maths help with PES?
Maths doesn’t help with the angles, it’s all about split decisions.
I’m the OG, no one started qualifying or competing on the international scene earlier than me.
The second Konami finals were on PES 4, that was my first international tournament, I finished runner up, so second in Europe.
Since then I’ve qualified for six world finals. So, I’ve got credibility.
My first tournament was at the Aston Villa stadium, they used to do a lot of tournaments at the stadium, along with 600 hundred players.
My friend, David was the current UK champ at the time. He won the first ever UK finals and told me about it.
I was like, ‘but I beat you all the time at yours…? So let me come!’
So we both went there, there were about 300 players, North vs South it was called, the prize was £800 which wasn’t much but for a 17-year-old, it’s not too bad, is it…?
I went, I won it, I came home, I give pop some money and he was like “keep playing son!” before that, he was like, stop playing them games!
With gaming and esports on the verge of becoming mainstream how much has the industry changed in the time you’ve been involved?
It’s changed completely, gaming is a career path now, just like streaming is a career path.
People say to me maybe you were born a little too soon.
My first international tournament, was in Nice, hosted by Konami, there was no prize money, there was just a trophy.
You were playing for reputation and the trip in itself was the prize.
Now we’re talking about last years winner, half a mill.
Are you thinking about retiring any time soon? Does age catch up with you?
It does catch up with you, I mean, I’ve got a family now, I’m an assistant headteacher at a school.
I don’t have the time I had and I think when you’re older, you’re not as sharp as you were back then.
I associate the game with a lot of rage, how do you control your emotions. You appear to play with a lot of enjoyment and fun.
For me there’s no anger and there’s no stress. I think the cooler players and calmer players always do the best.
How do you get into ‘the zone’?
Music. I’m a dancer, so, I just put on music and start dancing, ‘vibesing’ on my chair.
Feel good, play good and embrace the nerves.
I know how many people wish they were here, so why am I going to be sat there stressing, when I know there are thousands of people who want to be there.
Mike Linden, he’s been playing since PES 5, you’re talking fifteen years and I’m still qualifying, he’s still qualifying.
We helped build the foundation and blaze a trail for others to follow and exceed.
I’ve played Henry, I’ve played Terry, Jermaine Defoe. Defoe actually gave me my first trophy, love him, big respect.
I was playing John Terry and there were at least eight players from the first team watching.
If you’ve seen me play then you know I like to do my tricks, a little sombrero, I don’t care if it’s a tournament, I’m still gonna do that.
They were like ‘Ooooh, do that again, own him!’
It’s funny because you watch them every week and then they’re watching you and cheering.
After training, they’ve got a big portion of the day left, so even then a few players would call and say, ‘are you free? Come play some games’.
And I’d go to there house and play some games. For me that better than any prize money, playing with the people you admire as pros.
Advice to upcoming gamers?
If you’re good, if you think you’re the best, look for tournaments, whatever you compete in.
This is the time, the ideal time for people to make a living or make a bit of change or gain recognition for what you do.
So whatever it is you do, do, show the world if you believe you’re good.
If you want to find out more about the PES League click here!