Ramos leads the way
© FIFA.com

Alfonso Ramos, the winner of the Spain Live Qualifier event for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2008, has also finished on top of the competition's Online Leaderboard.

The 19-year-old, who plays under the name herzex played 837 matches, won 642 of them and recorded 5754 points in the process. His longest unbeaten streak lasted for 44 matches - and he tested himself against the best. Of the 25860 total registrants for the competition, Alfonso made sure that, on average, he met someone in the top 850.

Alfonso, who was a quarter-finalist at the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final in Amsterdam two years ago, had already booked his place by virtue of his success in Barcelona in March - so can he make it third time lucky at the Grand Final in Berlin?

"I am so thrilled to get another chance of winning the title of FIFA Interactive World Player," he said. "This is such a prestigious tournament and being in the Grand Final for the second time in a row is fantastic for me. This year I have worked even harder on my skills and can't wait to have another chance to compete against the best in the world in Berlin."

His dual success has given a player from the host nation of the Grand Final a chance to participate in the main event, which takes place on Saturday 24 May. Following the Rules and Regulations of the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the place in the Grand Final goes to the highest-ranked player who has not qualified - and that was Marko Krivokapic ( Marko1990 from Germany).

Joining Alfonso and Marko in the final are overall runner-up Ivan Soberon ( ELDIOS) from Spain alongside English duo Max Fayers ( lordSuffolk) and a mysterious Middlesbrough fan, who simply refers to himself as ' TheReturn'. There will be an English-speaking feel to the Grand Final, as US pair Didi Agbai ( Strikeforce1) and Michael Ribeiro ( Vivasocca07) have booked their passage alongside Aussie-based trio Buey Siong Tay ( bstay85), Stephen Coorey ( SCOOREY) and Michael Pommer ( FiNeSse7).

The Host Country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ are also represented thanks to Abubakr Ebrahim Akhalwya ( mikkaeel), while Carl Condliffe ( HopsNZ) booked the Oceania berth by scoring a 1,200-point gap over his nearest rival. And finally, Brazilian Andre Casagrande Buffo ( ScorpionBR) will add a touch of samba style to the event after topping the South American section.

However, after wins in Barcelona and now online, surely Alfonso must be considered the favourite to attain glory in Berlin? The stakes and the standards are high, but all will be clear in a little over six weeks' time.

The online qualifiers in full:
herzex*, ELDIOS, lordSuffolk, TheReturn
North, Central America & Carribean:Strikeforce1, Vivasocca07
Asia:bstay85, SCOOREY, FiNeSse7
South America:ScorpionBR

*This player has already qualified for the Grand Final through one of the Live Qualifier events. Following the Rules and Regulations of the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the place in the Grand Final goes to the highest-ranked player who has not qualified. In this case, it is Marko1990.

To view the final Online Leaderboard, please click on the link to the right.

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