In the magnificent Emirates Stadium in London tonight, 17-year-old Robert Brewster from Huddersfield clinched his place at the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2010 Grand Final by winning the UK Live Qualification Event.
A delighted Robert said, "It’s been a really good event. There’s been a good mix of players and in my opinion the best players in the UK were here today. I’m proud to now be representing England at the Grand Final and after today I will go into it with confidence, not nerves.”
The UK Qualifier Event was preceded by a series of pre-qualification events held all over the country between 19 December 2009 and 18 February 2010. Once today's live event got underway it was clear that some of the best virtual footballers the United Kingdom has to offer were in attendance. Amongst the pool of virtual football talent was 21-year-old Nuno Gomes from Portugal. Gomes won the Portuguese National Championship to earn his place at the Emirates Stadium showdown. The field of contenders also included a number of previous FIWC Grand Finalists, along with FIWC05 Champion Chris Bullard
Walcott goes virtual
One player who felt right at home at the Emirates tonight was Arsenal’s Theo Walcott. As a keen gamer, The England International is just as comfortable gracing the virtual football pitch as he is on the immaculate fields of the Premier League. The Gunner forward confessed to often playing EA SPORTS™ FIFA 10 against a number of his Arsenal and England teammates.
Practice has clearly paid off for Theo and he demonstrated his skills in an exhibition match against tournament host and Soccer AM presenter Max Rushden. Theo’s Gunners faced Tottenham Hotspur in a virtual preview of the upcoming league clash between the London rivals. Much to the delight of Arsenal fans, Theo cruised to a comfortable 4-0 victory. The performance included Theo deftly guiding his virtual self to two fantastic solo goals, earning him rapturous applause from the audience.
Road to the final
Portuguese champion Nuno Gomes defeated Grand Final veteran Chris Bullard in a tense quarter-final encounter. The visitor from Porto, however, lost to Adam Winster in the next match. Adam went on to face Robert in the high-stakes final in front of a lively, local crowd. Lifted by some very vocal support Adam appeared relaxed and in control of his Barcelona team. However, two early goals from Robert’s Chelsea quickly changed the composure of the game. Adam struggled to get back into the match; he tried to push forward relentlessly but was met with little success. Robert fended off the Barςa attack and won the match 3-1.
Looking forward to his chances at the Grand Final in Barcelona, Robert said, "I’ve got a chance to win it. I’ve definitely got the ability, but so do a number of other players so it will come down to a bit of luck on the day."
Remaining live events
FIWC10 is rapidly moving towards the feverishly anticipated Grand Final which will be held in Barcelona on 1 May. The FIWC10 Live Qualifier Events wrap up in April with live events in Brazil and Australia. Meanwhile, Season 2 of online competition for FIWC10 ends on 31 March. For more information on the remaining events please visit the ‘Live Qualifiers’ link to the right of this article.