Following an incredible FIFA Interactive World Cup Final 2011 in Los Angeles, Portuguese schoolboy Francisco Cruz emerged as a worthy winner. The 16-year-old will go down in the FIWC history books as the youngest-ever FIWC champion, proving once again that age is irrelevant if you have the talent and desire to succeed at the world's largest virtual football tournament.
Secret to his success
Francisco first discovered his passion for the EA SPORTS™ FIFA series in 2002 at the tender age of seven. His talent was evident early on, though it was not until 2009 that he first began playing professionally. According to Francisco, the key to success is your choice of opponent: "You only have a chance of being the best if you take on the best players in the world on a regular basis." Gradually Francisco observed his rivals' skills and techniques, honing his craft in the hopes of one day competing at the ultimate level.
Cruz and the FIWC
Cruz burst onto the scene in his first year as a professional EA SPORTS™ FIFA player with a confident showing at the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009. As the youngest Grand Finalist of all time, the then 14-year-old attracted plenty of praise and suggested there was plenty more to come with a sensational third-placed finish.
Francisco qualified for the Grand Final of FIWC11 via the Live Event Qualifier in Poland. The long journey from Trofa proved to be well worth the effort. Cruz secured his ticket for Los Angeles by winning the qualifier in Warsaw.
Much in the style of his favourite club Porto in their 2010/11 league campaign, Cruz remained undefeated throughout his Grand Final run, winning all his matches save for a single draw against England's Rob Brewster. As the reigning FIWC champion, Francisco has an exciting year ahead and no doubt we will be hearing plenty more from him in future.
To find out more about Francisco's experiences during his reign as FIFA Interactive World Champion, keep an eye on FIFA.com for regular updates. You can also send your personal congratulations to Francisco via the 'Add comment' feature below.