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The United States is the Rocket League champion in the 2017 World Cup

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What a team!

With a 4-1 win over Finland, the United States of America is the 2017 World Cup champion in Rocket League. The American squad (made up of Fireburner, GarrettG, and Kronovi) won all six games it played -- going undefeated in the group stage before picking up the necessary three consecutive victories in the knockout stage to take home the title.

The sports adage is that defense wins championships, and it holds true in this case. The United States only conceded four goals in the entire tournament. They all came on the final day, as the American squad made it through the Group B pool without allowing a single goal.

It wasn't until Sunday that the American squad was properly tested. England took them to overtime in the quarterfinals, and Denmark took them to the wire in the semis. The grand final was the only match in the knockout stage where the United States had any breathing room.

The American performance was impressive in its own right, but it was also helped along by a string of upsets throughout the entire tournament. Scotland, a popular pick to win it all, never won a single game. Similarly, Germany didn't make it out of the group stage. France was beaten by Finland in the semis. The 2017 World Cup will likely be remembered in equal parts both by who won it and who under-performed. 

However, the biggest surprise probably comes from a team who over-performed. Brazil was expected to go winless in the tournament. At one point, the commentators even pointed out that a single victory would mean a ton for Brazilian Rocket League. Brazil ended up beating both Finland and Germany before narrowly losing to Denmark in overtime of the quarterfinals. Brazil played incredibly well in the 2017 World Cup, especially considering the pedigree of the players it was going up against.

For individual accolades, Fireburner takes home the tournament's Golden Boot award for scoring the most goals. He wasn't a one-man show, though. The American squad felt like they were usually pushing the pace, constantly applying pressure in their opponent's half. There weren't too many times when they were forced to rely on goal line defense.

It's up in the air as to how long the United States will be the tournament's defending champions. Another World Cup hasn't been announced, but it doesn't seem like something that will follow soccer's schedule of once every four years. Common consensus around this event appears to be that the production value was very good but that the "best of one" format should be extended to longer series. One game of Rocket League is an awfully small sample size that lends itself to all sorts of aberrations.

But for now, the United States can call itself the best in the world at Rocket League. Even if that isn't how the official Rocket League Championship Series LANs have played out for the last few seasons.

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Brett Makedonski
Brett MakedonskiManaging Editor   gamer profile

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