With only a few days to go until the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2011 reaches its dramatic finale in Los Angeles, we take a closer look at the Grand Finalists who collectively represent all five continents - a fantastic indication that the virtual game is growing in strength across the globe!
A few familiar faces are among the contenders from Europe. 2008 FIWC champion Alfonso Ramos returns to the spotlight. England’s Robert Brewster and Adam Winster are also no strangers to the Grand Final.
One of the youngest finalists at FIWC11 is Fransisco Cruz. You may remember Fransisco from the FIWC09 Grand Final. Only 14-years-old at the time, the Portuguese created a stir, finishing third overall in his first ever Grand Final appearance.
There are a number of first-time Grand Finalists from the European Zone. In fact, over half of the FIWC11 finalists will be taking part in a Grand Final for the very first time, further evidence that the FIFA Interactive World Cup attracts new players from all over the world every year.
The first-time Grand Finalists from UEFA are: Adel Daher (Denmark), Tyronne Allen (England), Julien Testevuide (France), Manuel Waibel (Germany), Patryk Urbanek (Poland), Andre Sousa (Portugal), Sergei Polichnoi (Russia), Rafael Sanchez (Spain) and Jose Andres Arango (Spain).
Two EA SPORTS™ FIFA 11 masters from the AFC zone will be in attendance at the Grand Final.
22-year-old Mark Azzi (Australia) was knocked out in the Round of 16 at last year’s Australian live qualifier. Azzi returned with a vengeance in FIWC11, comfortably winning the Australia Live Event to earn a maiden Grand Final appearance. Joining him from the AFC at the Grand Final will be Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Almalki. The gamer from Jeddah only started to play the EA SPORTS™ FIFA series this year and has already qualified for a Grand Final!
Underdog from Africa
15-year-old Ramy Dergham from Egypt is the youngest Grand Finalist at the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2011. This will be Ramy's first Grand Final appearance.
Defender of the crown
Defending FIFA Interactive World Cup champion Nenad Stojkovic (USA) will attempt to do what no other FIWC champion has managed to accomplish – the successful defence of their FIWC crown. Joining Nenad from CONCACAF is fellow American Adrian Esteban. At 36-years-of-age, Adrian is the oldest Grand Finalist at FIWC11. This will be his second appearance at a Grand Final.
The gamers from CONMEBOL come with an impressive pedigree. Brazil’s Andre Buffo will be eager to better his best Grand Final appearance to date – a fourth place finish in Berlin at FIWC08. Javier Munoz was in attendance at the FIWC10 Grand Final in Barcelona. The Colombian will be looking to progress past the quarter-final stage this time out. Wbeimar Quiroga, also from Colombia, is making his first appearance at the Grand Final. Meanwhile, Felipe Moura won the Brazil Live Event held at the end of May to squeeze his way into the Grand Final.
A global success
All the statistics indicate that this year's FIWC has once again been a resounding success worldwide. We can hardly wait to find out which of the finalists ultimately triumphs in Los Angeles and whether youth or experience wins the day.
The FIFA Interactive World Cup 2011 Grand Final is almost upon us, so make sure you check back regularly for all the latest from Los Angeles.