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FaZe, Spirit advance to CSGO PGL Antwerp 2022 Semifinal

A 2-1 victory for FaZe Clan against Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) marked the opening match of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) PGL Major Antwerp 2022 quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Team Spirit swept the tournament, which was held in Belgium on Thursday, May 19, with a six-game winning streak, and advanced to the semifinals along with FaZe Clan.

Spirit began Champions Stage play with a solid 2-0 victory over No. 8 seed FURIA Esports. The top-seeded team won 3-1 in the Challengers Stage and followed that with a 3-0 finish in the Legends Stage earlier this week. Defeating fourth-seeded NiP 2-1, No. 5 seed FaZe secured the other final four spot.

Taking place after the Challenger Stage which ran from May 9 to 12 and the Legends Stage which ran from May 14 to 17, the Champions Stage began on Thursday, May 19, with eight teams competing in a single-elimination bracket. In each stage prior to this, a Swiss System format determined which eight teams would advance.

The first two stages were all best-of-one matches. The elimination and advancement matches, however, were all best-of-three matches. Seeding for the Champions Stage is determined by the final standings in the Legends Stage.

NiP vs. FaZe

The Ninjas are still without their star player, Nicolai “dev1ce” Reedtz. Dev1ce was inactive for personal reasons related to mental health in December 2021, and the organization has yet to provide any details about his return. However, Ludvig “Brollan” Brolin put in a strong performance during the event to make up for his absence.

With the victory, FaZe advanced to the semifinals to face Spirit. It is likely that CS:GO’s world number 1 team, FaZE, will be favored. In NiP’s case, the team was eliminated from the tournament the same way it was in PGL Major Stockholm 2021.

Despite performing well against elite teams like VIT, Cloud9, and FURIA, NiP fell short to the tournament favorite NAVI. In a post-match interview, FaZe’s Håvard “rain” Nygaard said, “We’re feeling really good. The chemistry, the atmosphere on the team, it feels like we’re a big family when we’re playing.”

Spirit vs. FURIA

Spirit was the only contender to stand out during the Challenger Stage. They only lost one series to G2. The real surprise, however, was the Russian team’s 3-0 record in the Legends series, losing only one map to the Copenhagen Flames. Their performance is even more remarkable considering the fact that three teams they defeated—FURIA, Flames, and Heroic—made the quarterfinals.

The average age of Spirit players is 20.7 years old, making them the youngest team in the Major. Leonid “chopper” Vishnyakov leads the team. He had plenty of underdog moments while at Vega Squadron. Robert “Patsi” Isyanov, who achieved an excellent 1.50 rating through the Legends Stage, is also a key player for the squad.

Spirit, which only lost one game in the Challengers Stage on May 9, faced FURIA in an opening map with six lead changes. FURIA was outscored 12-2 down the stretch to lose 16-8 on Ancient after Spirit ended the map with a 5-0 run to prevail 16-12 on Vertigo. Pavel “s1ren” Ogloblin led the squad with 45 kills. The champions had a plus-15 kills-to-deaths difference thanks to Abdul “degster” Gasanov. For the all-Brazilian FURIA lineup, Rafael “saffee” Costa notched a team-high 37 kills.