With plenty of surprises already, IEM Cologne 2021 is entering the playoffs stage with G2 Esports and NaVi in the CS:GO esports tournament semifinals. The quarterfinal elimination brackets will feature Virtus.pro vs Astralis and Gambit vs FaZe Clan.
— Intel®ExtremeMasters (@IEM) July 15, 2021
IEM Cologne Playoffs
The six teams battling in the playoffs are competing for a $400 thousand grand prize. For the group and the elimination stages, fans witnessed both team and individual player tactical. The playoffs promise a more thrilling and exciting experience for players and fans.
IEM Cologne marks the return of LAN events for the CS:GO esports scene and the six remaining teams are ready to make names for themselves. The group stages saw the exit of tournament favorites like Evil Geniuses and Bad News Bears. Team Liquid also bolted out after a disappointing start at the tournament.
Two quarterfinal matches will kick off on Friday. The action will continue on Saturday with tight semifinal action between winners of the quarterfinal playoffs with undefeated group stage winners, G2 Esports and Natus Vincere.
We return on Friday for the #IEM Cologne playoffs 🏆
— Intel®ExtremeMasters (@IEM) July 11, 2021
Quarterfinals and Semifinals Favorites
Before the IEM Cologne playoffs, Gambit and Natus Vincere were clear favorites for the 2021 tournament. These teams made it to the grand finals of the most recent CS:GO esports events including the EPIC League CIS RMR, IEM Summer 2021, and the BLAST Spring Finals.
Gambit, who shined at IEM Katowice, faced early upset from mousesports on Inferno. This poses whether the LAN environment provides a challenging experience than the online experience. Gambit, one of the tournament favorites now faces FaZe, the only team to make it to playoffs from the play-in stage.
Other big names like Vitality and BIG made it through too. They’ll try to push to semis by upsetting Gambit, who have shown staggering performance in IEM Cologne. The winner between Gambit and FaZe will face off with NaVi. While NaVi lost to Gambit in the finals of the BLAST Premier Spring Finals tournament, the offline environment proved much different.
G2 Esports, who came third in BLAST Premier, is playing with confidence after an exemplary performance in the group stages. They swept BIG, thrashed Complexity, and silenced Gambit, making them invincible so far in IEM Cologne as they enter the semifinals.
G2 must prepare its armor for the winner between Virtus.pro and Astralis. After terrific comebacks, Virtus.pro is looking to continue their good run in the quarterfinals. VP, the third seed from Group A, battled up from the lower bracket to the quarterfinals and is gearing up to upset the second seed from Group B. Astralis failed to secure an automatic place in the semis when they were clawed by NaVI.
Recent form and performances suggest that the G2 and NaVI are the new favorites for the tournament. There’s a possibility of a Sunday grand final featuring a clash between Nikola “NiKo” Kovač and Oleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, arguably the best players for IEM Cologne so far. Still, the CS:GO esports community should expect brilliant performances from teams that win the quarterfinal playoffs on Friday.
Written by Daniella Johnson
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