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Team Queso is the lone European team left headed into Championship Sunday at the RLCS Winter Major. After early exits for the four other EU teams, North America is in prime position to bring the head-to-head title record closer to reality.

Europe and North America have been neck-and-neck since the esport’s inception. When it comes to RLCS LANs, Europe is in the lead 6-3. Eight of those events were World Championships, one was the Fall Major. But, at the Winter Major, Team Queso faces a sea of Americans as they head into top four and Europe’s lead is at a risk of shrinking.

North America puts Europe in its place

While Europe leads in titles, North America is hot on their heels. Especially with exceptionally poor performances of the likes of Dignitas and Team BDS, who won the Fall Major but were sent home with their tails between their legs after getting perfect swept (zero goals scored) by Team FaZe, NA has clearly shown they are the stronger region at the moment. In January, North American teams made some roster changes and those moves are paying off. G2 Esports, Spacestation Gaming, FaZe Clan and Version1 all picked up new players and all showed strong performances.

Team Queso is the last, perhaps small, hope, but it is a hope many Europeans will find themselves holding on to. The rookies have proven they should be named among the top players in the world, despite finishing in their group in second place behind NA’s Version1. They have a difficult road ahead of them, with three more North American opponents and a bracket reset in the grand final.

However, the current scenes are reminiscent of the RLCS Season 6 World Championships, where an immensely talented Cloud9 won it all after a long lower bracket run, including a win over NRG. Team Queso, as brought to attention by Twitter user @TheBopPops, beat NRG in the exact same way and now continue their run through the lowers. A fun coincidence, but one that sparks hope for the desperate.

Can Team Queso shut NA up?

After the early exits of four top European teams, North American fans and players are rightly confident in their chances. All five EU teams finished the group stage in second or third place, which sent them to the lower bracket of the playoffs immediately. The upper bracket consisted of three North American teams and one South American.

Team Endpoint and Dignitas, two EU teams with high expectations, were knocked out in round one immediately. Team BDS stood no chance in round two against FaZe Clan as they suffered the second-ever perfect sweep (zero goals scored) in RLCS LAN history. The Fall Major winners looked like a shadow of their former self and left Team Queso and Evil Geniuses to directly fight for the final EU spot in the tournament.

Team Queso continued to look impressive in their match against Evil Geniuses, eliminating their fellow Europeans. Then, as the last hope of Europe, they nearly let the Brazilians of FURIA (who had lost to G2 Esports in the uppers) eliminate EU entirely in the subsequent round, but ultimately pulled it together in game 7 to lock in top four.

North America has three teams left to end Team Queso’s dream lower bracket run. Europe failed to show up at the RLCS Winter Major, but Team Queso keeps a sprinkle of hope alive.

The RLCS Winter Major continues on Sunday on Twitch and YouTube with the top four, which decides the Winter Champion. After that, Europe’s next chance is at the Spring Major in June in London, England.

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