Virtual Champs League

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The 2009/10 Champions League marked the 55th season of Europe’s premier club football tournament organised by UEFA. It was the 18th such competition held under the current format. Defending champions Barcelona were eliminated in the semi-finals by the eventual winners, Internazionale, who defeated German side Bayern Munich 2–0 in the final in Madrid, Spain.

To commemorate the tournament and give fans an opportunity to experience the thrill of wagering on matches round by round, “Virtual Champs League” provides a highly realistic simulation of the 2009/10 Champions League. The game comprises all league and knockout matches, involving the 32 qualified teams from all over Europe, right down through the quarters, semis and final.

The Virtual Champs League display looks almost identical to the betting page found at any online bookmaker. From the start, wagers can be placed on the Outright Winner as well as the eight Group winners at fixed odds. There is match betting on each and every pairing, not just on home and away winners and draws but also on Asian Handicaps, +/- 2.5 Goals, Correct Score and First Goalscorer.

Each full-length tournament starts with the Group phase, with four respective teams from each of eight Groups, A~H, playing against each other, both home and away for a total of six matches apiece. Points are awarded using a typical league formula: 3 points for each win, 1 point for a draw and zero points for a loss.

The top two teams from each Group survive to the Round of 16, which is when the knockout phase begins. In each round of this phase, the number of teams is halved until the only two remaining teams meet in the Champions League final. All league qualifying and knockout matches consist of two legs, home and away, except the final which is a one off, win or go home match. The standard Champions League match rules apply to knockout rounds, with away goals counting double. Should teams end up drawn on scores and away goals, a penalty shootout is conducted to settle the result.

The pace of Virtual Champs Football is quite lively. Each round lasts 120 seconds, including 70 seconds for making selections and placing bets followed by 50 seconds for the matches to play out. One match is randomly selected from each round to be the “Featured Match.” A screen showing a stadium with players on the pitch and a huge scoreboard brings the action to life—the names of goal scorers and the times of their scores flash on the board as the match is in progress, and then the results of all that round’s matches are displayed.

After the very last round of a tournament, the Champion is declared and 195 seconds are provided before the next tournament begins. This is sufficient time for reviewing the recent results and studying the Groups allotted for the upcoming competition. A full tournament requires 40 minutes so that 36 tournaments can be played every day. Mid-tournament entry and betting is permitted.

Bets are made by clicking directly on the blue Odds button appearing next to the team or selection desired. The wager must then be confirmed by selecting the amount of the stake from 20p to £50 at the lower right section of the screen.

Holding down the shift key while clicking on selections allows Doubles, Trebles and Four-Fold accumulator bets to be made. Clicking on the “Bet Now” button locks in the wager, which appears as a line item on the “Bet Details” list at the lower right. Clicking on any listed wager will cause a pop-up box to appear, containing information on the respective bet.

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