Chris Bullard is one of the most successful participants in FIFA Interactive World Cup history. Bullard's a Grand Final veteran having taken part in several showpieces to date, the highlight of which was his 2005 FIWC title win in front of a jubilant home crowd. We talked to the former champion about his experiences in past tournaments, his goals for this season and what it's going to take to win FIWC12.
FIFA.com: Chris, do you still remember the moments shortly after you won the FIWC title in 2005?
Chris Bullard: I remember them really well. My final game was very weird and I was thinking about different things all the way through it. I ended up winning the final somehow quite comfortably [5-2], even after having had a man sent off in the first half. I was thinking ‘Wow, I am going to the FIFA World Player Gala’ towards the end of the game, when I should have been focusing on beating my opponent. When I won, I was quite cool about it. I had achieved a goal that I had focused on for a long time.
What memorable experiences do you have of your reign as the FIWC champion?
The FIFA World Player Gala was only two days after the 2005 Grand Final and it was a lot to take in. That whole experience is probably worth more to me than winning the actual tournament itself. I also won tickets to watch the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ Final between Italy and France. It was an amazing year!
Did you take part in the following FIWCs?
I qualified automatically for FIWC06. I qualified for the next three Grand Finals via the UK Live Qualifier, the Spanish Live Qualifier and online qualification respectively. So I’ve been lucky enough to play in five of the seven FIWC Grand Finals so far.
What are your goals for FIWC12?
I will take part this year at least in one live qualifier and maybe online. It would be great to play in a Grand Final again! With only 23 available places for the Grand Final I'm going to need luck on my side to do it, something I should have surely run out of by now, but who knows.
Chris, give our readers some advice. How do you become the best EA SPORTS™ FIFA player in the world?
I think the main thing is to believe you are the best and to be confident. Turn up, say you are the best and prove it! I remember the day before I won the championship, I was sure that I would win. Looking back I was probably delusional, but it's that belief that sets skilled players apart. Practice is obviously key, if you want to win the FIWC play EA SPORTS™ FIFA as much as you can. Play all the best players and try to find people who can beat you so that you can find your weaknesses.
The FIFA Interactive World Cup has grown immensely since your title win. It's now the biggest online gaming tournament in the world. Do you still see a special charm in competing against others in a live environment?
Yes, definitely! You can't beat that, because you have to have no fear. When you are playing someone in the knockout stages, you are fighting not just for the win, but also for survival. Some of my best experiences with EA SPORTS™ FIFA have been offline, where the adrenaline makes you play a step higher. In FIWC09 I played against Bruce Grannec in the quarter-finals. After 50 minutes I was down 5-1. I then played the most intense 30 minutes of my life to bring it back to 5-4, but unfortunately couldn't find the fifth goal in the last 10 minutes. It is those types of games that happen face to face.
Back in 2005 you won the final with England. Michael Owen scored two and Wayne Rooney netted a hat-trick in your 5-2 win. What is your favourite team in EA SPORTS™ FIFA12 and who are your favourite players?
I really like Brazil this year! They are certainly my favourite team at the moment, because they have one of the best defensive setups and a nice balance in attack. In the offense, I especially like their small and fast guys like Kaka and Pato. My favourite players are, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. They are so powerful to use in the game, but for now my favourite player is Maicon. He is fast and strong – a deadly combination in EA SPORTS™ FIFA 12.