Jason Mac became the second Australian to book his place in the FIWC 2009 Grand Final after winning the Australian Live Qualifier Event in Melbourne.
The 20-year-old from Melbourne, who is currently studying to become a Personal Trainer, almost didn't make the trip down to the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre.
The Qualifier marked the first time the FIWC has visited Australia since 2005 and there were plenty of hungry virtual footballers ready to grab a PlayStation®3 controller and play EA SPORTS™ FIFA 09.
The tournament spanned three days of the eGames Expo and comprised two days of mini tournaments, followed by a final day in which 128 players battled it out in the main event.
The event was hosted by singer and presenter Brian McFadden and Nova 100's Jared Walsh; the pair kept everyone entertained and even joined in the virtual fun, challenging one another to an exhibition match.
Mac set the standards from the start with a convincing 7-1 victory in his opening match; as the tournament progressed it became clear that Mac was the crowd favourite.
If Mac was going to be beaten, 14-year-old Yash Mehta seemed the most likely competitor to do it. The pair of FIWC tournament first-timers scored freely in their earlier games to earn a place in the final.
As the day progressed, spectators were treated to more than just virtual football. An AstroTurf pitch within the FIWC 09 area offered some football fun. A ‘Speed Gun' challenge measured how hard you could kick a football. On the skills side, freestyle football tricksters Colin Ko and Elias Oraha were on hand to accept challenges from fans.
The final was incredibly close, with Mehta matching Mac goal for goal. At full time the score was 3-3 and penalties seemed inevitable. In extra time, Mac managed to shift his skills into turbo drive as he scored three unanswered goals. Mac won the match 6-3 to claim the title of Australian FIFA Interactive World Cup Champion.
After his victory, Mac said, " I'm so glad I did, it was a great game and it was great to play against Yash who was one of the favourites from the start!"
Jason will now join fellow countrymen Stephen Coorey - winner of the New Zealand event - at the Grand Final where the world's best 32 virtual footballers will lock horns. The last man standing will receive $20,000 USD, a shiny new 'KIA Soul' and a trip to the FIFA World Player Gala, where they will get to mingle amongst the world's best footballers.
With 3 more Live Qualifier Events taking place before Christmas in the Czech Republic, Hungary and India, players have got plenty of opportunities to take part in this exciting competition. To find out the event details and dates for all the remaining 17 Live Qualifier Events, please go to www.FIFA.com/FIWC.