The journey to Los Angeles

Since it's inception in 2004, the FIFA Interactive World Cup has managed to spark an exponential amount of enthusiasm among the EA SPORTS™ FIFA 11 community year-on-year.

The seventh edition of the virtual FIFA World Cup™ was no different. More than 800,000 players took part this year, breaking the world record set by the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2010 as the largest gaming tournament in the world. As our Grand Finalists begin to arrive in Los Angeles, we look back on qualification for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2011 Grand Final which included six thrilling online seasons and numerous live events held across the globe.

Tense matches, new friendships
Six months, six seasons and two available qualification seats every month. The new online qualification format for the FIFA Interactive World Cup proved a great success as shown by the colourful and varied field of finalists from the online seasons. Despite the competitive nature of qualification, FIWC11 was a shining example of the fact that there is more to football than winning. Players from all over the world got to know each other during the tournament, sharing their passion and excitement for the game.

In keeping with tradition, the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2011 Live Qualification Events attracted throngs of fans and gamers. From Madrid to Moscow and Sao Paulo to Berlin, the events drew huge crowds of enthusiastic fans and quality players eager to qualify for the prestigious Grand Final. Live events took place in ten countries this year, with the supporting programme at each event providing a memorable highlight. There were top-notch bands, spectacular freestyle players and a variety of entertainers.

And now for the Grand Final
Although qualification for FIWC11 is over and all of the Grand Final seats have been filled, the FIWC excitement is just getting warmed up. This year's Grand Final takes place from 7-9 June in Los Angeles. Once the FIWC11 Grand Finalists arrive in the City of Angels, they can look forward to exciting football and a whole lot more. We have an incredible activity schedule lined up for our Grand Finalists, not to mention a few surprises.  Make sure you follow the FIWC on Twitter for live coverage of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2011 Grand Final.