Pure enthusiasm in Dubai
© FIFA.com

The FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 held some exciting and fascinating live-events in the Middle East earlier this month.

Six pre-qualifiers took place across the region from 1-8 March including events in UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon and Qatar. Eventually the region’s 84 top EA SPORTS ™ FIFA 12 gamers were decided and a final qualification event was held in Dubai - one of the world’s most impressive metropolises - on 9 March.

More than 500 visitors contributed to an incredible atmosphere as they cheered on their favorite players from the various Arabic countries represented. Former football commentator Rob McCaffrey attended the event and shared his expertise and passion for football. When they weren't witnessing exciting FIWC matches, spectators enjoyed a wide variety of football-related activities.

High stakes
The final match in Dubai saw Majid Mohammed Salim (Saudi-Arabia) take on Abdulrahman Hamad Al-Mannai (Bahrain). At stake was a seat at the FIWC12 Grand Final! The team choice alone promised an exciting match, Abdulrahman opted for AC Milan while Majid selected Real Madrid. In the opening minutes both players started carefully and tried to avoid errors.

It was in the 17th minute that the crowd became excited for the first time when Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in a promising position. However, the Portuguese striker was unable to convert the opportunity. In the following minutes Abdulrahman's Milan increased the pressure, eventually taking the lead after a magnificent volley strike by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 32nd minute. Next it was Salim’s turn to create chances and Ronaldo scored the equalizer for Madrid moments before the break.

Second-half drama
Neither gamer made any half-time substitutions. Madrid started the second-half strong, controlling the ball and converting their dominance into a two-goal lead after two terrific assists by Angel Di Maria resulted in Ronaldo goals. Majid's attack was on fire, but his defense made some unnecessary mistakes and allowed Abdulrahman to pull one back. With the score poised at 3-2, Al-Mannai’s Milan searched for a goal but Real Madrid’s intense pressure in the midfield kept them at bay. Majid ended Al-Mannai’s Grand Final dreams when he slotted a fourth-goal home in the 78th minute.

So close
Pure emotion and pure joy! Everybody watching the final match could see Salim’s relief after the final whistle. In an interview after his win Majid confirmed that he had been nervous before the game, but that after the kickoff he had relaxed and played the best he could. Thinking about the Grand Final, Majid Salim remains modest: “I hope to do as well as I did today... wish me luck!”

Do you want to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best EA SPORTS™ FIFA12 gamers in the world at the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 Grand Final. Sign up now for our remaining online seasons or check our live qualification events page for the closest event to you!