As daylight saving time came to an end this weekend in New Zealand, it did not stop the sun shining on the idyllic scenery of Auckland Harbour as 74 competitors picked up their controllers and went head to head at the America's Cup boat shed, better known as The Viaduct Harbour Marine Village.
Croatia born Daver Brescakovic, who is a resident of Switzerland, was knocked out in the semi-finals at last weekend's Swiss FIWC qualifier event. Determined to become one of the 32 best virtual football players to compete at the Grand Final on 24 May in Berlin, he packed his bags and flew half way around the world to take part in Auckland today.
Registering emphatic scores of 10-0 and 5-0 in his opening two matches, it became apparent to fellow competitors that this guy was going to be extremely tough to beat as he sailed through the early stages of the tournament.
The 20-year-old continued to impress and his form did not let him down as he won the final comfortably 5-1 against Australian Stephen Coorey.
Like Brescakovic, Coorey had also flown into Auckland especially to compete in the FIWC qualifier. Living in Sydney, Coorey has been avidly playing in the online qualification and believes he has already qualified for the Grand Final through the online mode having played over 2,000 games. Nevertheless he still made the three hour plane journey to New Zealand to make sure of his place in Berlin.
Coorey will have to wait a matter of days to find out his fate with the final online qualification leaderboards being posted on www.FIFA.com/FIWC very shortly.
Players and spectators were able to watch and take part in Samba Style Futsal as pupils from The Alegria School of Samba Style Soccer performed incredible tricks throughout the day. This Brazilian style of football provided a real carnival atmosphere as players danced with the ball at their feet to the sound of rhythmical music.
The FIWC08 really is beginning to heat up with only two live qualifier events to take place in the UK and Germany before the Grand Final in Berlin. The next stop is in Manchester for the UK qualifier on Tuesday 15 April, which promises to be another great qualifier with a special guest appearance from Wayne Rooney.