Saturday was a weird day, not that much action but at the same time a very busy day. The third place match between Lauke and Forrest was played for third place (the players were kindly asked to play anyway). The game ended with a 2-1 score in Lauke's favour but it was definitely closer than the opening game of the tournament where Lauke trampled the Italian. On Sunday we will have the UT2004 final between GitzZz and Burnie and it should be fun, although GitzZz will probably win this fairly easily.

While I was watcihng the Lauke-Forrest game the PK final was played on stage. The Italian who produced an upset against Fatal1ty was playing Vo0 from Holland. The first game was a blowout by Vo0 but the second one was really close and intense, it came down to stermy being one frag short of a draw. Vo0 has showed the world that he is indeed the best PK player at the moment and stermy has the right to be proud of himself. Not many people counted on him performing very well.

The Quake 3 semi finals were played too. Russia played USA and it has to be said, the game was nice. First cha0ticz beat morfez on ffdm2c in a close game and then... then we saw another ZeRo4 versus Cooller game and again... It has to be said - when these two play the crowd is always galvanised with excitement. The map was DM6 - ZeRo4 had never beaten the Russian on this map before and this time it was extremely close. Cooller took an early lead, ZeRo4 tied the game and racked up a nice frag advantage. Then the ties turned again and Cooller started making a comeback and only just managed to equalise and then break the American who could not regain control with so little time left to go. That was not enough to take out the US team, though, because the captain stepped up for the Yanks and did an excellent job in the third map forcing evil to "slash-quit."

The other semi, the one between Belarus and Sweden was close as well. Z4muZ, who is absolutely on fire on ZTN in this event, got a really close game with enemy. It was intense until the very end. Then it was fox vs keep3r in a strangely low-scoring CPM1a. We then found out that the final would be a rematch between Sweden and USA. Before that, though, the Russians got their revenge for the group loss on the Belarusians. Cooller and morfes were the architects of the win. Apparently, uNkind was unhappy with the level of his own play and declined to participate in the last two matches.

The final... The final was the best show I have ever seen in Quake 3. One thing has to be said - it was a lot more dramatic than last year's ESWC final between Cooller and ZeRo4. It was played on the outdoor stage. Two computers and two big screens with the players' views were set up and lots of people could enjoy the shoutcast by djwheat and GeisT. As usual, the teams were introduced and then the tournament head admin made the first map draw. It was DM6. It was known that the Swedish DM6 man would be fooki. Right here USA faced a tough decision on whether they should put cha0ticz or ZeRo4 on this map. They went with cha0ticz and it didn't really work out. Fooki tore Jared apart without any bigger problems. USA had one leg chopped off and all Sweden needed was to lean on them.

The next map pick was the worst possible for the US. While they were counting on getting a map like CPM1a or T4, zarkof's hand picked ZTN! Instantly, the rock-solid Z4muZ stepped up and started setting up. The US team was in deep, deep trouble. Now they were the ones under pressure and decided to use their very best player in this tournament, czm. The captain came onto the stage and starting plugging his hardware in. It was already dark and a little bit cold. Czm was wearing his short trousers and went backstage to borrow socrates' pants and a shirt. Dressed up looking like Jason Sylka, Paul entered the server and started warming up. The game commenced. Paul was hitting a lot of rails. And I mean a lot. But Z4muZ was hitting more! It was unbelievable how good the Swede is on that map. Czm played very defensively but after almost 2/3 of the game he found himself losing 2-0. The game was extremely, extremely exciting and intense. The American knew he had to keep it as close as possible because he would probably only have one shot at getting a frag and capitalising on it. He was patient and that indeed happened. Czm got a frag for 1-2. Then, after some intense action he equalised and finally won 4-3.

The US were back on track and waiting for the third map pick. With socrates and ZeRo4 still able to play they were waiting for T4, CPM15 or CPM1a to be picked. The draw now was really dramatic because their only Aerowalk player had already played ZTN. And... zarkof's hand picked... AEROWALK. Instantly, the Swedes jumped in joy and the Americans were far, far from happy. Fox, who was on par with czm himself on this map in the group game, stepped up to finish the Americans off. On the other side of the stage we saw ZeRo4. It took the game long to start. For about five minutes ZeRo4 was taking tips from czm how to play the map, where the spawns are and what to do. He had hardly played that map before!

The game started and surprisingly, ZeRo4 got the lead and kept it for a while. Then, we saw more than ten minutes of frantic, spineshivering action that set the spectators into a stage of amok. Every single frag incited cheers from the crowd and I am not ashamed to say that I screamed as well. I cannot describe what happened there, you will just have to see the demo. The game ended in overtime and the Swede got the upper hand. A brave game by ZeRo4, though. If you are American, you should definitely be proud of John. The final was probably the most beautiful thing I have seen in Quake. Zarkof's hand could not have written a better screnario for it. Sweden has crowned itself the best dueling nation!

In the end of the day, I think that a tactical mistake by the captain decided the outcome of the match. He should have set ZeRo4 on fooki, perhaps then they would have won DM6, socrates could play ZTN and czm would duel fox on Aerowalk. Then again, a scenario such as this would produce extremely close games as well. We will never find out. After the game the GGL CEO Brett was really happy with the performance of the players he brought to France. We all went to the disco area and had loads of fun together.
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