Fnatic General Manager Javier ‘Dardo’ Zafra de Jáudenes remained confident about the team’s chances at Worlds 2021, despite the withdrawal of their starting AD carry Elias ‘Upset’ Lipp and losing their opening match to Hanwha Life Esports.
Fnatic’s Worlds 2021 campaign did not start the way they would have hoped, with starting AD carry Upset leaving Iceland for an “urgent family emergency” less than 24 hours before the start of the team’s group stage campaign.
Without such a crucial member of the team missing, and an untested academy player filling in, Fnatic struggled against LCK fourth seed Hanwha Life Esports, suffering a 31-minute loss to the Korean team.
However, speaking to the media after the loss, Dardo remained confident in the team, stating that they would only get better as the week progressed.
Fnatic leadership remains confident
Worlds was always going to be tough for Fnatic. Drawn into a group with MSI champions RNG, PCS champions PSG Talon, and Korean fourth seed Hanwha Life Esports, Fnatic would need to be at the top of their game to stand a chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds.
However, the loss of Upset, who is crucial to unlocking Fnatic’s bot lane strategy, was a major obstacle for the LEC second seed. While his replacement, Louis ‘Bean’ Schmitz, has gone from the ERLs to Worlds without a stop in between.
Hanwha Life Esports dismantled Fnatic with relative ease in the opening match of group play for each team.
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Despite these setbacks, Dardo refused to concede to negative thinking about the team’s performance.
“This is a very tough group but I am very confident in the players and in all the staff around them,” Dardo said in response to a question from Dexerto, “We will be getting better every day and while we did not do well today and we may not do well tomorrow, I am confident that we can find a win on Wednesday.”
Fnatic’s group stage schedule sees them face current group leaders RNG on October 12 before taking on PSG Talon on October 13. The team then waits until October 17, for their dedicated day of group fixtures.
“Every day, we will keep getting better,” Dardo continued, “By the time we reach Sunday, I think we will be in a position to win two or so games. This group is hard, yes. But I have every confidence that our journey will continue.”