Rodriguez: Every minute counts

In January we introduced you to FIWC veteran Jesus Rodriguez and promised to bring you updates on his experience of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012.

Since we last spoke to Jesus Rodriguez, FIWC12 has been moving at full steam. Half of the online seasons have already been played, the live events are well underway and the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 recently celebrated an incredible milestone: one million registered players! We checked back with Jesus Rodriguez and caught up with him on his FIWC12 experience.

So Jesus, one million players. As a FIWC veteran did you ever think the tournament would develop in such a successful way?
Jesus: Yes, absolutely! I had no doubts that the FIFA Interactive World Cup would grow and become the biggest and best EA SPORTS FIFA tournament. Nevertheless there are still a lot of players who really love playing FIFA, but have not taken part in the FIWC yet. I hope that all these players discover the footballer inside themselves and decide to join the FIFA Interactive World Cup.

Why do you think that the FIWC is different from other virtual football tournaments?
One of the FIWC’s main characteristics is that it is an official FIFA tournament and therefore it is organized just as professionally as all the other FIFA competitions. You do not only have the chance to win a big and important tournament, but also the FIFA Interactive World Champion title, which is officially recognized by FIFA. In addition, everybody can take part. That is simply amazing!

Several players have already qualified for the FIWC12 Grand Final. Some are newcomers and some are FIWC veterans. Have you played against some of these finalists?

Yes, I played against some of them during the online seasons. Of course, all of the finalists are playing at a very high level, but what really surprised me was the quality of some players that are in quite low positions on the leaderboard. A couple of them are participating for the first time but are able to compete with the best players in the world. That is really astonishing!

What do these young and talented players still have to learn in order to have their big breakthrough?

They need to be persistent. It is like in real life: There will always be obstacles and difficulties, but the players who are persistent and do not give up will succeed in the end. You always need to stay focused: Every match and every minute counts!

From all of the finalists, who is in your opinion most likely to win the FIWC12?
Well, I would dare to say that a highly motivated newcomer may be able to win the FIFA Interactive World Cup this year.

So you do not think Francisco Cruz will be the first Interactive FIFA World Champion to defend his title?
I think that history shows that it is virtually impossible to defend a World Cup title. However, if somebody is able to cope with the pressure, it is Francisco Cruz. He could actually be the first FIWC champion to defend his title.

Jesus, let us talk a bit about EA SPORT™ FIFA12: You probably know a lot more about the game than you did when we talked in January. What should you focus on in the game in order to be successful?

There is nothing like a good and solid defense. I play with a 4-1-2-1-2 formation and I try not to allow many opportunities to score. You need a lot of patience and have to build up your game slowly, but in the end it pays off. Furthermore it is very useful to watch real football matches and employ the tactics used by great teams.

How is your FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 going so far?
Well, I nearly managed to qualify in Online Season 3. Unfortunately I did not succeed, but now I am even more motivated to make it to the Grand Final. I want to make a dream come true for my wife Claudia and for me.

Would it be a big disappointment for you, if you were not able to qualify for the Grand Final?
It would certainly be a disappointment, but I would not consider it a waste of time at all. Reaching the FIWC Grand Final is my goal, but I am also participating because the FIWC12 is a superb possibility to train your EA SPORTS™ FIFA skills and because I simply like playing the game!

We’ll be checking in with FIWC veteran Jesus Rodriguez and amateur player Mark Strauss regularly so be sure to check back often. You can also follow @FIWC on Twitter for all the latest FIWC articles, tournament news and information.

Do you have any questions for Jesus Rodriguez? Post them in the comment section below and he will answer them in our next interview.