Today was a day of high drama as the 24 Grand Finalists for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2011 battled it out in EA SPORTS™ FIFA 11 for a place in the final four.
Having enjoyed a relaxing first day in Los Angeles, the Grand Finalists picked up their PlayStation®3 controllers and battled it out as the group stage got under way on Wednesday morning. The luxury Hollywood mansion which the competitors have been using as their second home during their stay in LA. was the venue of choice for the opening three rounds. After the first three rounds, it was time to take a break from virtual football and blow off some steam. The Grand Finalists embarked on an adrenaline pumping bodyflying experience at Universal Studios.
The location of the final group stage games and the quarter-finals could not have been more spectacular. Standing atop the 32nd floor of an impressive skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles, the Grand Finalists made their final push for a place in tomorrow’s semi-finals..
Stojkovic, who opened his defence of the crown with five victories out of five in the group stages, was on a mission to try and achieve what no former FIWC champion has managed to accomplish – the successful defence of their FIWC crown. In contrast, English contestants Tyronne Allen and Adam Winster suffered a nervy ending to the group stages. The English pair secured their places in the quarter-finals by virtue of superior goal difference and ensured that the group stages ended in dramatic fashion.
The most dramatic turn of the day occurred when defending FIWC Champion Nenad Stojkovic was knocked out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage. English champion Adam Winster was the man who stepped up and took on 2010’s champion in the last eight of the tournament. Adam took a 3-0 lead but then had to skillfully fend off a late challenge from Stojkovic. The Englishman eventually won the match 4-2 to secure a place in the final four.
And then there were four
Australia’s Mark Azzi, the man who has travelled the furthest to be involved in this competition, was the first to book his place in the semi-final, defeating Colombia’s Wbeimar Forero 2-0. A third-place finisher at FIWC09, Francisco Cuz (Portugal) overcame Mexico’s Ruben Zerecero 4-1. Javier Munoz claimed the last seat in the final four. The Colombian knocked out England’s Tyronne Allen to secure his place in the semifinals.
Time for a new champion
Standing on the rooftop with the Los Angeles Skyline stretching out in all directions, the four finalists boarded a helicopter for a scenic flight around the City of Angels. Adam reflected on his victory over the reigning champion. “Nenad is an excellent player and I was hoping I wouldn’t come up against him until later in the tournament,” he said. “However, I played some great football and put him on the back foot from the first minute. Hopefully my good form will continue tomorrow and I can take the trophy back to England.”