gathered together a variety of former FIWC Grand Finalists to get their thoughts on the latest edition of the virtual world championship.

Joining us for the discussion were:

  • Jesus Rodriguez. A true FIWC veteran, Rodriguez has been involved in the FIWC since the very first edition in 2004.
  • August Rosenmeier. The Dane competed in his first ever FIWC in 2012 and made it to Dubai for the Grand Final.
  • Ramy Dergham. The Egyptian participated in his first Grand Final at the age of 15 (2011), making him the second youngest Grand Finalist ever. (Cruz holds the honour of being the youngest Grand Finalist. He was 14 at FIWC09.)
  • Three-time grand finalist Giuseppe Guastello (USA) and his FIWC12 quarter-final opponent Tyronne Allen (UK).
  • Adrian Esteban. The two-time Grand Finalist is one of the oldest players to ever qualify for a Grand Final (Adrian was 36 years old at FIWC11). Hi everyone. The first question on the minds of our FIWC community is whether you are all competing in this year’s tournament?
Yes, I will definitely be competing to qualify for this year’s Grand Final.
Allen: I will also try to qualify, but through the UK Territory Showdown.
Rosenmeier: I will definitely try to compete, but it’s going to be difficult for me this year. I don’t have as much time as I’d like.

What do you enjoy most about the online season format for the FIWC?
Dergham: I love the fact that you get to play against many different types of opponents.
Rodriguez: It’s a great opportunity to compete against a variety of opponents who are on a similar level. It also means that the competition is never boring.
Guastella: For me it’s really simple. I love the competition. I really love that competitive feeling you get when you are taking part in an online season.

How do you prepare yourselves for an online season?
Esteban: Training, training and more training. I also prepare myself by having a strong mental attitude, by being completely focused on the season ahead. A FIWC season is long and difficult and as a player you must be totally focused in playing hard but at the same time always remaining calm.
Dergham: Like Adrian, I always train, but only on the last three days before a new season begins. So, if I were to take part in season four then I would train on the last three days of season three.
Rodriguez: Well, as the saying goes practice makes perfect, so of course I also train before an online season.
Guastella: For me it’s different. I just play competitively and focus on the prize.

One of the exciting new features that will be incorporated into this year’s qualification is Live Streaming. Fans from all over the world will be able to watch the Territory Showdowns, as well as the Grand Final. How do you think the Showdown Live Streaming will affect the FIWC?
Dergham: It will definitely make the FIWC more popular.
Allen: I totally agree with Ramy. It will definitely attract more players for the following FIWC series.
Rodriguez: I think it will allow spectators to get to know who the best players are and how they use their skills. It will most definitely be entertaining.
Esteban: Like Jesus, I also agree that the Territory Showdowns and the Grand Final will be astounding. Not only does it allow you to see how the players are utilizing their skills, but it also allows you, if you haven’t qualified, to still be part of the experience. It definitely makes the FIWC world class.

There are a variety of top shelf teams in EA SPORTS™ FIFA 13. Any favourites to play with?
Rosenmeier: I have a number of teams that I enjoy playing with. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern [Munich], Manchester City and Brazil. But in my humble opinion, I would have to say that Real Madrid is still the strongest team.
Esteban: Real Madrid, but also Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United, and Barcelona to name just a few.
Dergham: Brazil and Real Madrid
Allen: I will be the only one not to mention Real Madrid. I will say Juventus though!

This year the fans were given the opportunity to vote for the Grand Final host. How do you feel about Madrid winning the voting?
Guastella: Madrid is a great location and is very rich in culture. The FIWC has never been there before, so it will definitely be exciting. Plus, with the vast majority of players playing with Real Madrid in the FIWC then it makes logical sense to hold the Grand Final in Madrid.
Rosenmeier: I agree with Giuseppe, Madrid is a great location and I hope that I will qualify for the Grand Final.
Esteban: Yeah, Madrid is an unbelievable location. It has a wealth of history and it would be a great chance for me to go and visit the Santiago Bernabeu!

Sign up for the Season Challenge now and you could be flying to Los Angeles for E3 2013! Follow the FIWC on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest tournament and contest news for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2013!