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Andries Smit From The Netherlands Wins FIFA Interactive World Cup 2006 Grand Final

GENEVA, Switzerland - 09 December, 2006 - The third annual FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) reached its spectacular conclusion at the Final in Amsterdam's Westergasfabriek as 128 of the world's finest interactive footballers battled it out for the ultimate title of FIFA Interactive World Player 2006, competing on EA SPORTS FIFA 07 for the Xbox 360. After intense action, some amazing skills and plenty of noise from the assembled fans, Andries Smit from The Netherlands emerged victoriously, having beaten Austrian Wolfgang Meier in a gruelling final that saw Andries' Brazil team beat Barcelona 6:4 in the Grand Final.

The final match between Barcelona and Brazil gave fireworks from the very start as Meier's team didn't hang about and went ahead with a cracking goal in the third minute. Andries' eleven didn't have to wait long for the equaliser, which came in the 16tth minute. Wolfgang's Barcelona team opted for long crosses, while Brazil's wing play strategy paid off as they went into half time leading 4:2. Then began a more disciplined and defensive second half. Barcelona scored a beautiful equaliser in the 65th minute only to be beaten by two Ronaldinho belters, who scored a sharp overhead kick in the 72nd, finally making it look too easy with a cheeky chip past Barcelona's goalkeeper to reach the final score of 6:4.

"I'm absolutely amazed, stunned and delighted! I thought that it was just great to be in the Grand Final, but here I am leaving with the title and a trip to Zurich to the FIFA World Player Gala! I can't believe it! The whole tournament was just brilliant," said Andries Smit, after receiving the post-match plaudits and the USD 20,000 prize money from the official FIFA delegate and FIFA Executive Committee member, Chuck Blazer.

Successful one-twos and powerful shots on goal at the mere touch of a button highlighted the impressive display of football. The finalists showed great skill in guiding their heroes - Ronaldinho, Eto'o and co. - over the virtual pitch in much the same way as the "true" superstars.

"Congratulations to Andries, the FIFA Interactive Player 2006, whose incredible skills on EA SPORTS FIFA 07 have brought him this well deserved title," said Clive Downie, Vice President Sports Marketing, EA. "We've seen some spectacular performances throughout this year's tournament, with the Grand Final providing the crowing glory of talent. It's been exciting to work with our close partners at FIFA and Xbox to provide an international stage for the world's best virtual footballer to be honoured."

"The final match looked amazing and we are really proud to have exclusively bringing next generation, high-definition football gaming action to players across the globe with FIFA 07 in the FIFA Interactive World Cup. The matches looked fantastic on the big screens just like being at a big match for real." said Richard Teversham, Head of Marketing, Xbox Europe.

In a tightly packed arena at Amsterdam's Westergasfabriek, close to 1.500 spectators enjoyed one of the most exciting virtual football events that combined the very best of real and virtual sporting action with appearances by professional footballers and music provided by The Infadels and local Dutch heroes The Sheer.

This year's FIFA Interactive World Cup Final marked the end of a truly global event. In addition to the qualifying events that took place around the world, players from 25 countries competed on Xbox Live for their place in the Grand Final. This year's finalists also met the 16 final contestants from the two previous FIWC tournaments, merging the virtual football elite in an explosive competition that required nerves of steel as well as skill. For the first time in the tournament's history, the winner walked away with USD 20,000 in addition to receiving an all expenses paid trip to the FIFA World Player Gala on December 18th at the Zurich Opera house where he can rub shoulders with the world's best football talent.

Pictures of the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final and Qualifier Events can be found at http://activesportsmarketing.clientexchange.co.uk (username: fiwcmedia; password: fiwcmedia123).

For complete rules for the FIFA Interactive World Cup, see http://www.fifa.com/en/comp/FIC2006/0,7633,15,00.html.

To request the Official Emblem of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2006, please fill out the marks request form for media on www.FIFAdigitalarchive.com.

About FIFA

For more than 100 years, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, founded on 21 May 1904 in Paris and better known as FIFA, has continued to provide the essential leadership role to the international football family. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the eighth FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter (Switzerland), guides the organisation today with a commitment to the evolution of FIFA as a modern and dynamic association. The basis of the world's football family is formed by FIFA's member associations. From the founding seven in 1904, the family has today grown to 207 affiliated associations, also organised into six confederations spanning the globe. FIFA's worldwide activities go well beyond its various competitions, such as the world's biggest single-sport event, the FIFA World Cup. In projects such as the FIFA GOAL Programme as well as several other development and charity activities such as the SOS Children Villages, UNICEF and streetfootballworld, FIFA gives material, financial and promotional support to develop the game and bring joy to underprivileged worldwide. For further details on FIFA's events and activities please go to www.FIFA.com.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers, cellular handsets and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTSTM, EATM, EA SPORTS BIGTM and POGOTM. In fiscal 2006, EA posted revenue of $2.95 billion and had 27 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA's homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com.

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming service, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. The system was first launched in North America, Europe and Japan in 2005 and then in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.

About Xbox Live

Xbox Live is the first and only unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox Live connects millions of members across 24 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox Live Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, and movie trailers, as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Electronic Arts, EA, EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS BIG, and POGO are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Contacts

FIFA Media Department

Delia Fischer

Tel.: +41-43/222 7272,

E-mail: media@fifa.org

Helena Reid

FIWC Media Manager

+44 1625 540503 hreid@activesportsmarketing.com

Xbox

Marie-Claire Suter

UK PR Manager - Xbox & Games For Windows

Tel: +44 (0) 118 909 4599

Email: i-maries@microsoft.com

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