Ty: This year could be my year

The UK Live Qualification Event for FIWC12, which took place on 19 February, was a tournament of the highest standard. Among the field of talented Grand Final hopefuls were three of last year's Grand Finalists: Robert Brewster, Adam Winster and Ty Walton.

After a very intense tournament, Ty Walton emerged as the new UK champion and has now confirmed his place at the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 Grand Final . We spoke to Ty about his success, his hopes for the Grand Final and his friendship with last year's UK champion.

FIFA.com: Congratulations on winning such a tough tournament and claiming a Grand Final seat. What was your initial reaction once you had secured qualification for the second year in a row?
Ty Walton:
You can imagine that I was very happy to win in London. The UK event is one of the toughest qualifiers.

What was you key to success? What formation did you use?
For most tournaments I use a 5-2-1-2. However, in certain games for this event I felt the need to change and adapt, depending on what formation my opponent was using.

Have you tried to qualify online for FIWC12 or was this your first attempt to secure a Grand Final spot for FIWC12?
I competed in the second online season for a few days but then decided to give up. I felt that I should take part in the UK qualifier before trying to qualify online because I knew I had a very good chance of winning.

Can you describe you experience for us at last year's Grand Final?
Last year was my first time attending an FIWC Grand Final. I managed to qualify during the last online season after falling short at the UK Qualifier. The experience was one I will never forget. It was simply amazing.

You played against Adam Winster at the FIWC11 Grand Final and defeated him 2-1. At this year's UK event, you beat him in the semi-finals. Is he one of your favourite opponents?
Adam certainly isn't my favourite opponent to play. Even though I managed to win against him last year and beat him at the UK Qualifier, he is one of the best players on EA SPORTS™ FIFA 12 for sure. We practice a lot online and we have the same playing style so whenever we play we know what to expect, which doesn't always mean the one who wins deserved to.

Do you see Adam as an opponent or as a friend?
We're friends. Whenever we play in a tournament there isn't really a competitive feel to it. We usually speak during the game and shake hands afterwards. I will go with him to the Spanish Live Event as we spoke about going there before we competed in the UK Live Event. Also the weather is very good compared to the UK!

You finished third in your group at the FIWC11 Grand Final. What are your goals for the 2012 showpiece?
I felt that last year I was very unfortunate not to go through and make it to the knockout stage. My group was very tough and I went out on goal difference after finishing in joint second place on points. This year I feel I am better than last year. Some gamers say the UK Qualifier is just as hard as the overall Grand Final, so hopefully I can do better this time round. This year could be my year!