A 22-year-old from Cleveland, Ohio out-performed more than 775,000 competitors from around the world playing on EA SPORTS FIFA Soccer 10 on PlayStation 3 to win the sixth annual FIFA Interactive World Cup at Barcelona’s Port Olympic. It is the first time a competitor from the United States has captured the crown. Nenad Stojkovic completed the long road to interactive soccer glory which culminated in the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final on Saturday, defeating 31 of the world’s best virtual soccer players face-to-face in front of a cheering crowd, securing the title and the $20,000 USD prize money. Stojkovic also received an invitation to attend the FIFA World Player Gala 2010 where he will rub shoulders with real life soccer heroes.
Stojkovic beat Ayhan Altundag from Germany, 2-1, in the final, scoring the winning goal in the 75th minute to claim the victory and the FIFA Interactive World Cup crown. Stojkovic’s Chelsea side took the lead in the 34th minute of the first half before Altundag equalized in the 42nd minute with the French national team. The second half was balanced until Stojkovic scored the winner and then held off a frantic comeback attempt by the German.
“Two days ago I was dreaming I could make it, and now I have succeeded. I can say this is probably the happiest day of my entire life,” said Stojkovic. “During the final I tried to remain calm and I did not want to celebrate my goals. My opponent was really good. This is amazing!”
Stojkovic’s triumph was the culmination of a thrilling event at Port Olympic, which played host to the FIFA Interactive World Cup final for the second year running. In addition to the Grand Final showdown, spectators at the event were treated to an action packed day of gaming, music and soccer, featuring special guests such as football legend Patrick Kluivert and Spanish beach soccer star Amarelle, as well as an exclusive live DJ set from Groove Armada’s Andy Cato.
The third and fourth play-off was contested between Bruce Grannec from France and England’s Danny Taylor. In a closely fought encounter between Chelsea and Real Madrid, defending champion Grannec beat the Taylor 3-0. They received prize money of $5,000 for 2nd and $1,000 for 3rd place respectively.
“The thrilling showdown today at Port Olympic was a fantastic end to this year’s competition with Stojkovic proving to be a very worthy champion,” said Matt Bilbey, Vice President Football, EA SPORTS. “The FIFA Interactive World Cup 2010 has seen the strongest ever field of competitors in its history and to emerge victorious from over three quarters of a million entrants is no mean feat, congratulations!”
Launching in October last year, the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2010 attracted over 775,000 entrants, competing on FIFA 10 for PlayStation 3, both through the PlayStation Network and via a series of live qualifying events for one of 32 grand final places at Port Olympic in Barcelona. The online phase of the competition consisted of two mini seasons running from October – December 2009 and from January – April 2010, with the top eleven and ten gamers from each respective season qualifying for the final. A further ten finalists came from the live qualifying events held around the world in Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, Denmark, Poland, Russia, South Africa and UK, with the last final spot reserved for defending champion Bruce Grannec of France.