Calm before the swarm on Spain

The 31 March deadline for FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009 (FIWC09) online qualification has passed. Grand Final hopefuls must now put their Playstation®3 controls down and patiently wait for the final leaderboard results, which will be published on FIFA.com soon. The FIWC09 Grand Final will take place on 2 May in Barcelona and, as always, FIFA.com will be there to cover all the action.

How big was FIWC09?
So, how many gamers participated in online qualification for FIWC09? The answer is mind-boggling. Over 500,000 EA Sports™ FIFA09 fans from 52 countries tried to claim a Grand Final seat. The 19 live event winners will have a tough time facing any of the 13 online winners who managed to set themselves apart from the other 514,969 online competitors. Anyone could win, but one thing is certain, the 32 FIWC09 Grand Finalists are of the absolute highest virtual-football pedigree.

The numbers game
Most FIWC09 gamers hailed from the United Kingdom (172,058), then France (67,522) and Germany (51,012). Breaking the European hold on the competition was the mass of North American gamers this year. 49,983 Americans participated making the USA the fourth most represented country in FIWC09 online play. With 40,607 registered gamers, Spain rounded off the top five countries that, combined, accounted for 74 per cent of 2009 registrations.

The Asian Zone was led by Australians. 10,193 gamers from down under tried to claim one of the two AFC spots. The 1,359 registrants from Hong Kong and 1,030 gamers from Singapore ensured that Asian FIWC action was also very competitive.

With only a single place available for gamers from Africa, CAF competition was incredibly tough. South Africans made up the majority of African entrants, which makes one wonder: with both the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 and 2010 FIFA World Cup™ being hosted in South Africa, could the FIWC09 crown land up there as well?

The majority of South American virtual football numbers came from the two football superpowers. Football mad Brazilians comprised the majority (1,297) with old rivals, Argentina well behind (251).

Oceania online play was dominated by New Zealanders, but a few smaller island nations from the Polynesian and Melanesian regions made their presence felt in an attempt to win the one available online seat.

FIFA09 Fever
Online registration for FIWC09 has surpassed every expectation. The future of FIWC looks brighter than ever as the word spreads and gamers from around the world become more and more focused on earning a prestigious seat at an FIWC Grand Final. Do you have what it takes? There's only one way to find out. If you didn't qualify for 2009, be sure to register and play next season.

For any gamers willing to travel anywhere to ensure qualification, there is one FIWC09 Live Event left. On Sunday 12 April in Copenhagen the final qualification spot for FIWC09 will be claimed.