Russia beats Brazil in ‘future football’ tournament
Local team Pheonix defeated Team R10 from Brazil in the final of the “Phygital Games” in Kazan, Russia, on Friday to win the novel tournament that combines futsal with virtual soccer.
Dubbed “phygital football,” the game features a “digital” phase where players face off in a video-game simulation, followed by a physical match on a futsal court.
In the championship match, Phoenix preserved the 8:4 lead from the digital phase to win with a final score of 12:7.
“The tournament was great, everyone’s delighted,” said Phoenix MVP Pavel Skuratov. “The Brazilians fell behind in the digital part, and our team knew how to play well on the court.”
The third-place match saw Russia’s Rotor and Penarol of Uruguay tie 7:7 in the digital phase, but ended with a 12:8 score in favor of the Russian side.
“We wanted to finish in first place, but we hope to return to Kazan in November and do better,” said Rotor player Andrey Romanenko. “I want to thank our fans from Volgograd – our victory is theirs too!”
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin, who attended Friday’s games, said such a tournament can offer a much-needed balance between physical activity and esports.
“I think that this direction has a good future, it reflects the interests of our youth,” said Matytsin, adding that the Phygital Games at KazanForum had attracted the interest not just of Russians but of international visitors, too.
Estrellas FC from Argentina also competed in the tournament, along with the home team Tatar Squad. The participants competed for a prize pool worth 2.9 million rubles (approximately $36,000).
The Phygital Games is a series of competitions in hybrid sports ahead of the Future Games, which features 16 “phygital” disciplines. Each combines the classic physical sports with some digital aspect, whether esports or Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology, testing both the physical prowess and digital dexterity of the competitors.