The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier between Spain and Turkey was not the only great football event setting Madrid on fire this evening. At the FNAC Parquesur, the Live Spain Qualification Event for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009 took place.
The throngs of people that came to see the Live Spain Qualifier were not disappointed. In some last-minute drama prior to the tournament start, 2005 FIWC World Champion Chris Bullard made a sudden appearance. All eyes were on the Englishman from the minute he showed up and current FIWC World Champion Alfonso Ramos welcomed him with a warm hug. The expression on Alfonso Ramos was clear, 'this would be one tough tournament.'
Bullard bulldozes through
The first part of the tournament started with 64 qualifiers. The last man standing in Round 1 would earn the right to join the Round of 13: a group which comprised of winners of various qualifier tournaments as well as FIWC08 winner Sergio Ramos. Chris Bullard rose to the occasion and blasted his way to the top of Round 1. In the second half of the tournament, the 13 players were split into three groups with the best eight moving into the quarter-finals.
2008 World Champion Alfonso Ramos faced a penalty shoot-out in his quarter-final and joy became tears as he crashed out of the competition. "Hopefully I am qualifying now through the online competition," a disappointed Ramos said. With online qualification ending on 31 March, it would mean a long sleepless weekend for Ramos.
Chris unshaken by home fans
Chris qualified for the final convincingly despite having the Madrid crowd against him from his very first match. Cheers and songs for Spain accompanied every match Chris played and the home crowd made life difficult, however the visitor played it cool refusing to get distracted. Bullard faced Spaniard Joel Torres in the final and managed to overcome the tough local hero.
With Chris's victory came prizes such as a PS3, PSP, Real Madrid Team Jersey signed by Higuain, and a Spanish National Team Jersey signed by all the Spanish National Players. When asked if he thought he could win the Grand Final, Chris answered with a big smile on his face. His experience in the world of the FIFA Interactive World Cup - having already won it in 2005 - gives him a big advantage going into Barcelona.
For Chris, the long trip down from the Ipswich England to Madrid was worth it. The Englishman will have to do it again in Spain, this time in Barcelona for the Grand Final on 2 May.