On 24 April the histories of real and virtual football merged for a day when Brazil’s most talented EA SPORTS™ FIFA 14 gamers entered the fabled Estadio das Laranjeiras for the FIWC 2014 Host Country Qualification event.
In the company of of one of Fluminense's brightest young stars, Robert, and also one of its biggest club legends, Romerito, the virtual footballers stepped up to their consoles in the hopes of being wrapped in the Brazilian flag by the end of the day. The Estadio das Laranjeiras, the stage on which the Brazil national team played their first ever match (1914) and won their first ever piece of international silverware (1919), served as a fitting place in which to crown a virtual football national champion.
The eight players in attendance – all of which qualified for the event through Online Seasons 5 and 6 of the FIWC 2014 - competed for the chance to represent their nation at the FIWC 2014 Grand Final – the showpiece event for the largest gaming tournament in the world. The Grand Final, taking place in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, will be the first to ever be held so closely, both in timing and place, to a FIFA World Cup.
Ultimately, 18-year-old Rafael Fortes from Rio de Janeiro shone brightest on the day. Rafael will now prepare to welcome 19 other Grand Finalists from a variety of nations to his home town. The Grand Final takes place on 2 and 3 July in Rio de Janeiro.
"I focused and concentrated and played my best football to win the title," a flushed Fortes told FIFA.com, "I had the chance to conquer the title in my hometown and now I get to play against the best players in the world!“
Fluminense midfielder Robert played an exhibition match against the new champion. "I am delighted for Rafael as I know how much of an honour it is to represent your country." he said. "I fancy myself as a decent FIFA14 player, but Rafael is by far the best I have seen. I wish him all the best for the Grand Final and I’m sure he can do Brazil proud.”
Luccas Ferreira 2-0 Carlos Filho
Rafael Fortes 2-2 Sergio Filho
Luccas Ferreira 1-2 Rafael Fortes
Carlos Filho: 1-4 Sergio Filho
Luccas Ferreira 2-1 Sergio Filho
Carlos Filho 0-2 Rafael Fortes
Cristian Arruda 2-0 Arilson Gomes de Moura
Kaique da Silva 3-0 Allan Vicentainer
Cristian Arruda 1-0 Kaique da Silva
Arilson Gomes de Moura 3-1 Allan Vicentainer
Cristian Arruda 1-3 Allan Vicentainer
Arilson Gomes de Moura 3-4 Kaique da Silva
Rafael Fortes 3-2 Cristian Arruda
Kaique da Silva 2-4 Luccas Ferreira
Rafael Fortes 6-0 Luccas Ferreira