And then there were eight
© FIFA.com

After 60 groups stage matches played over two days in beautiful Dubai, the field of finalists for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 Grand Final has been narrowed down to just eight players. Within this elite group of finalists we have three former interactive world champions, showing just how tough the latest edition of the FIWC12 has proven to be.

To celebrate the lofty achievement of the eight remaining EA SPORTS™ FIFA 12 superstars, the Grand Final Draw was held atop the Burj Khalifa - the tallest man-made structure in the world. While the 24 finalists enjoyed a magnificent bird's-eye view of the the city of Dubai, the eight names were drawn into the four quarterfinal slots. FIFA.com spoke to the quarter-finalists after the draw to get their reactions.

 Quarterfinals

 Krasimir Ivanov-Alfonso Ramos

 Kai Wollin-Abdulaziz Alsheri
 Bruce Grannec-Francisco Cruz
 Guiseppe Guastella-Ty Walton

Ramos: "All eight players are really good. We have three former FIWC champions, we have two experienced PC players that are now playing on the PlayStation®3 and they are really good.  The remaining players are having a very good tournament; they're game play is confident and solid. My quarterfinal will be a very tough game, Krasimir is a former PC champion... he's very good. He will try to hold possession and I will try to keep the ball also... I'm going to focus on secure passing and taking my chances."

Krasimir Ivanov: "My group was very tough. This is my first year playing on the PplayStation®3. I trained a lot for this against my teammate who was also in my group. I’m very sad he didn't make it through. I qualified through the hardest group I think, along with the defending world champion."

Kai Wallon: "I think the draw was good for me, the favourites are on the other side, so I’m just maintaining focus from match to match. I've never heard of Alsheri until this tournament. People have told me he is a very good player. If I beat Alsheri I play either Ramos or Ivanov. Ramos I beat in my first game on the main stage so I look forward to hopefully playing against him again."

Abdulaziz Alsheri: "My quarterfinal is going to be a tough game against the German champion. In my opinion it's the toughest game but I think I’m going to do well. When I came here I first put it in my mind to enjoy the experience, and then, I thought the confidence would come game by game. This is my first live event ever, I find it a little bit different, but to me the tricks are the same."

Grannec: "It's very hard because there are top players on my side of the draw. If I make it past Cruz, then after I play either Ty Walton who is actually the top 3 favourite... and then there's the American [Guastella]. I didn't have too much time to see him play but I think he is very good. The level is so incredibly high this year that I’m taking it step after step. First it's the quarterfinal, after, anything is possible."

Francisco Cruz: "My opponent tomorrow is a very successful player. He’s been a champion and a semi-finalist in the past. He is really good; he's had really good results. I think it's going to be a very balanced game."

Guiseppe Guastella: "I feel confident. I've played Ty once already at this tournament. We tied 1-1 with him scoring a late equalizer. I'm going to adjust my game a little bit because i went into that game knowing i had already qualified and i was reacting more than acting."

Ty Walton: "For sure this is already the hardest FIWC Grand Final yet. If I can just win my quarterfinal then it's only one more game to the final."

Don't miss out on a single second of the knockout rounds for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 Grand Final. The FIWC12 Grand Final Live Stream will start at 14:00 GMT. We will be broadcasting all the quarterfinals, semi-finals, match for third place, and finally, the match that everyone is waiting for, the FIWC12 Finale!