Karol singing after victory

Karol Rogaczewski was proclaimed as winner of the Poland FIFA Interactive World Cup qualifier with an emphatic victory over Piotr Jakubowski.

Live commentary from Polish national football commentators Weodzimierz Szaranowicz and Dariusz Szpakowski provided a real cup final experience in the latter stages of the tournament. Karol was not fazed by the occasion, continuing his impressive form in the final to win 2-0 and booked his place in the Grand Final in Berlin on 24 May.

A total of 519 players descended on the Hala Arena, in Warsaw in an attempt to fulfil their ambition of beating off fellow countrymen and winning the right to represent Poland at the FIFA Interactive World Player 2008 Grand Final.

19-year-old Karol from Smetowo Graniczne has only been playing FIFA08 on PlayStation since October but his standard of gameplay throughout the day was exceptional. He recorded convincing victories in the early stages of the tournament. His toughest challenge was in the semi-finals against 22-year-old Cezary Gontarek, which he eventually won on penalties

When asked to explain how he felt from winning the Poland qualifier, Karol said: "I feel great and I have been concentrating on winning this qualifier to give myself a chance to go to Berlin where the real test will be to see how I can perform. If I play like I have today, I think I definitely have a chance of winning."

Players allowed themselves a break from the tournament to take in the other entertainment that was on show throughout the day. Cheerleaders wooed the crowd with some enjoyable performances, whilst a question and answer session with former coaches Jerzy Engel and Jacek Gnoch gave spectators an insight into the real world of football.

Legia Warsaw players put their footballing skills to the test in the virtual game, with Wojciech Szala, Sebastian Szazachowski and Dixon Choto all trying their hand at FIFA08 on PlayStation®3.

The quality of players was very high with a number of pro-gamers attending. A few dedicated players determined to qualify for the Grand Final were 17-year-old Lukas Kalinowski and 16-year-old Patrick Strawschek who had both flown in from Germany especially for the event.

Kasper Simonsson from Sweden persuaded his aunt to accompany him to Poland in search of his dream to qualify for the Grand Final. The 14-year-old had previously attended the FIWC08 Denmark qualifier back in November but did not manage to progress passed the fourth round. Not deterred, Kasper has continued to compete in the online qualification and arrived in Warsaw with renewed hope.

Unfortunately for Kasper he will have to turn his attention back to the online qualification after being knocked out in the third round. Meanwhile Lukas and Patrick will now look to qualify for the Grand Final by taking part in the German qualifier next month.

After an Easter break next week, the FIWC continues to heat up with qualifiers being held on the weekend of 29th March in South Africa, Brazil, Switzerland and Spain.