Stephen Coorey from Sydney has become the first player ever to reach the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final for the fourth time after winning the FIWC 09 New Zealand Live Qualifier event in Auckland.
As the world of football turns its attention to Auckland for tomorrow's eagerly anticipated first-ever FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, Stephen Coorey can now leave the Host City safe in the knowledge that he now has the opportunity to go one better and win the much coveted crown of the FIFA Interactive World Player at the FIWC 09 Grand Final.
27-year-old Coorey flew over for the qualifier from Australia with some unfinished business to attend to having lost in the final of the same event last year.
Played in front of a noisy crowd at the Aotea Centre in Auckland, the final was a Trans-Tasman showdown, with Coorey coming up against local boy Alistair Wallace, who was playing in his first tournament.
Enjoying the occasion, 15-year-old Wallace took the fight to Coorey and a shock looked to be on the cards with the crowd getting behind their countryman. In the second half Coorey managed to draw on his past experience and made sure he wasn't going home disappointed this time, finally winning the match 4-3.
Gracious in victory, Coorey congratulated his opponent's achievements of reaching the final in his first ever tournament and predicted he would come up against Wallace at another FIWC event in the near future.
When asked of his own achievements today, Coorey said, "I'm the first person to make the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final four times - so here's hoping I win the big one this year!"
Coorey was joined by fellow FIWC 08 Grand Finalist and countryman Michael Pommer, who had made the trip over from Canberra. New Zealand's Hoani Skipper, also a previous Grand Finalist arrived very focused and appeared to be determined to win his country's qualifier event.
Pommer admitted to suffering from nerves at his first ever FIWC Grand Final last year and came to the qualifier hoping to gain some more experience of competing face-to-face with players at a live event. Unfortunately for Pommer, he didn't manage to get past the second round, while New Zealand's Hoani Skipper, was knocked out in the quarter-finals.
Both players will turn their attention back to the online qualification, whilst Pommer will no doubt also fancy his chances at the Australia Qualifier Event next month in Melbourne.
With over 97,000 players already competing in the online qualification and a further 18 Live Qualifier Events to be held around the world over the next 6 months, this year promises to be the most competitive yet for the FIFA Interactive World Cup.
Event details for all the remaining Live Qualifier Events will be posted on www.FIFA.com/FIWC so keep checking to make sure you don't miss out on competing in the world's largest football gaming tournament.