Online or offline – the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 is running hot as gamers try to win one of the remaining seats available for the this year’s Grand Final. But just what does it mean to win an FIWC title? To answer this question we sat down with 2006 FIWC champion Andries Smit for an exclusive interview. Since your victory in 2006 the FIWC has grown at an incredible pace and is now considered the biggest gaming competition in the world. What do you make of this rapid growth?
When I won I didn't think it was a small tournament, because there were lots of offline events and so many people competing. Nevertheless, it is way bigger now than back in 2006. Now more players know about the opportunities the FIWC offers you and many gamers think that EA SPORTS™ FIFA is the best football simulation at the moment.

How about you, are you still competing? What is your opinion on the starting field this year?
Yes, I am still playing a lot, but I haven’t tried to qualify this year. I think that there are many skilled players competing in the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 and it won’t be easy to win the tournament.

Let’s talk about your victory in 2006: Can you still remember the moment the final whistle was blown and you realized you had won the tournament?
The moment I heard the full time whistle I went insane. I had qualified in third place in the national qualifiers and then won the whole thing, I just couldn't believe it. If I should describe it in one word, I would say ‘amazing’! I screamed so loudly for joy I guess everyone thought I was crazy, but that is how I am. When I am behind the controller I am always very emotional.

Looking back at your triumph, would you say the FIFA Interactive World Cup title changed your life?
I think that all former and future FIWC champions will agree: The FIWC title is a life-changing experience! It is a title for the rest of your life. I was part of the FIFA World Player Gala and met some of the best football players. In my opinion, that is worth even more than the money! Those moments will always be a part of my life!

In your opinion what are the key ingredients needed for winning the FIWC title?
In my opinion, in EA SPORTS™ FIFA12 you should focus on training your defense. In this year’s version you can be very successful if you manage to build up a dense and effective defense and try to score in counter attacks. And of course, you have to train and play a lot to be the next FIFA Interactive World Cup champion.

EA SPORTS™ FIFA12 is said to be the most realistic football simulation so far. How do you like this year’s version?
EA SPORTS™ keeps improving the game year after year, but I also think that this year’s version is a good opportunity for beginners. By using a compact way of playing you can make it hard even for good players to win against you. What surprises me every year is that EA SPORTS™ still succeeds in improving the graphics. That is why I always have high expectations for EA SPORTS™ FIFA.

There are a lot of superb Dutch players in EA SPORTS™ FIFA12: Arjen Robben at Bayern, Robin van Persie at Arsenal and Wesley Sneijder at Inter Milan to name only a few. Which team are you playing with this year?
Like every year, the best teams are the big squads like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. But when I play the FIWC I also use squads like FC Twente, Ajax Amsterdam and other Dutch squads because they are as good as the big clubs, which makes it fun. My favorite players in EA SPORTS™ FIFA12 are Sergio Agüero Neymar, Andres Iniesta, Mesut Özil, Mario Götze and Robin van Persie.

Make your dream come true! Compete with players from all over the world and win sensational prizes! Join the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 now!