LONDON, 20TH December 2005 - The second FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) has come to a spectacular close as ten finalists from all over the world battled it out for the coveted title of 'FIFA Interactive World Player 2005' on EA SPORTSTM FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup for the Xbox 360TM video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. After a gruelling series of matches throughout the day, Xbox Live entrant Chris Bullard, 18, of Ipswich, England, emerged victorious having defeated Gabor Mokos, 15, of Kecskemét, Hungary, in the Grand Final, earning himself an all expenses paid trip to the FIFA World Player Gala 2005 which took place in Zurich last night.
Chris Bullard jetted off to Switzerland, courtesy of FIFA, the world football governing body, Xbox® and Electronic Arts. Bullard was a guest of honour at the lavish annual FIFA World Player Gala 2005 at which he rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in the sporting world. There he accepted the FIFA Interactive World Player 2005 Award on stage alongside this year's FIFA World Players - the best male and female footballers in the world
This year's tournament featured a ground-breaking online element, utilising Xbox's award winning Xbox Live service which leant the competition an incredible global scale. In addition to eight Regional Tournament finalists, 22 Xbox Live finalists flew in from all over the world to compete for one of two spaces in the Grand Final. Despite being beaten to the ultimate title of FIFA Interactive World Player 2005, all finalists were rewarded with an all expenses-paid trip to the London final, their very own copy of EA SPORTSTM FIFA 06 and the must-have item of the moment - Microsoft's Xbox 360 the next generation video game and entertainment system.
An ecstatic Bullard enthused, "The whole tournament was simply brilliant. It means so much to me that I was able to win this tournament for my country. This is simply a dream come true and easily the best moment of my life. I did not think I could win after my favourite player Frank Lampard was sent off in the 24th minute. Now I can represent England on stage with the big stars and maybe even stand next to my idol Frank Lampard."
The standing room only audience at The Brewery in London was treated to a thrilling final match. Chris Bullard playing as the England National team defeated the talented Brazilian National team played by Gabor Mokos of Hungary 5-2 in an exhilarating final match filled with fantastic goals, tactically aware defensive play and shrewd game planning. Bullard's English team lost Frank Lampard to a straight red card to a two footed challenge late in the first half, but in the end, it was Wayne Rooney's hat trick that secured the most prestigious prize in football video gaming. The tournament was bursting with talent with one online gamer scoring over 2,600 goals over a course of more than 1,000 matches.
"Congratulations to Chris Bullard whose incredible skills on the virtual football pitch of EA SPORTSTM FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup has brought him the well-deserved title of FIFA Interactive World Player 2005", said Clive Downie, Vice President Sports Marketing, EA Europe. "It's been exciting to work with our close partners at FIFA and Xbox to fulfil a football fan's dream of being considered the best in the world in their favourite sport."
Richard Teversham, EMEA Product Marketing Director for Xbox said, "As the official Licensed Video Game Console of the 2006 FIFA World CupTM we are committed to delivering our fans experiences that bring football to life via gaming in new and exciting ways. This years FIWC tournament is testament to that pledge and with over 2 million Xbox Live members sharpening their virtual football skills online, we knew the competition was going to be extremely fierce this year. Bullard proved himself to be a true football star and thoroughly earned the right to be crowned FIFA Interactive World Player 2005 at the FIFA World Player Gala".
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