American legend conducts draw
© FIFA.com

The relaxed atmosphere which had characterized the FIWC11 Grand Finalists arrival in Los Angeles on Tuesday was temporarily replaced by a tense few moments as the draw for the group stage of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2011 took place.

Looks of disbelief shot across the room as American soccer legend Tom Dooley showed up at the Hollywood mansion late into the evening to conduct the draw. Tom Dooley made more than 80 appearances for the United States national soccer team, captaining the side at the 1998 FIFA World Cup™. Dooley was also a highly successful club player, winning the German Bundesliga and German Cup during his five-year spell at Kaiserslautern, and the 1997 UEFA Cup with Schalke.

Optimism all round
Each of the twenty four finalists were on the edge of their chairs, eager to see who would face-off in the group stage and calculate their chances of making it into the sudden death round. The players‘ faces were glued to Tom Dooley throughout the draw. Once all of the names had been drawn, the players discussed the groups and appeared to be quite content with the well-balanced result.

"It’s no easy group, but I think I’ve got a good chance of getting through this tough competition and making it through to the quarter-finals,“ said Australian champion Mark Azzi. Returning champion Nenad Stojkovic also appeard to be confident, "It’s an interesting group, which is definitely going to be a challenge.“

The tournament begins in earnest on Wednesday and we’re looking forward to witnessing some exciting group stage football. Be sure to follow the FIWC on Twitter for the latest tournament news.

Group Stage Draw results:

 Group A Group B Group C  Group D 
 Nenad Stojkovic Ty Walton
 Robert Brewster
 Manuel Waibel
 Adrian Esteban Ahmed Dergham
 Sergei Polichnoi
 Alfonso Ramos
 Dennis Correia Andre Buffo
 Rafael Sanchez
 Mark Azzi
 Michael Ribeiro Julien Testevuide
 Patryk Urbanek
 Ruben Zerecero
 Andre Sousa Javier Munoz
 Wbeimar Forero
 Felipe Moura
 Tyronne Allen
 Adam Winster
 Francisco Cruz
 Adel Daher