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When you think about the biggest, most prestigious sporting tournaments in the world, what comes to mind? The FIFA World Cup, Wimbledon, and the Super Bowl are just a few of the elite competitions that draw huge audiences every year. But what about eSports?
One of the biggest events in eSports is none other than the FIFA eWorld Cup. Since its inception in 2004, gamers have been vying for the title of best FIFA player in the world, and the eye-watering amount of prize money that comes with it, of course. If you’re a gamer, chances are that you’ve seen some truly impressive displays of virtual footballing skill and talent over the years.
Throughout the 2000s and early 2010s, eSports hadn’t truly taken off yet. However, FIFA was leading the way in the world of competitive gaming, and the then-named FIFA Interactive World Cup was one of the very first global tournaments created. Nowadays, gameplay on FIFA is akin to the games found when you check this USA website – you never know what you are going to get.
FIFA is still one of the best eSports games available on the market, but back in the day, the game was a masterpiece. And these winners of the FIFA eWorld Cup were the pioneers of the game that we have come to know and love. Here are the winners from the early days of one of the planet’s oldest eSports tournaments.
2004 Final – Thiago Carrico de Azevedo (Brazil) vs Matija Biljeskovic (USA)
The inaugural FIFA Interactive World Cup final took place in Zurich in 2004, just months prior to that summer’s UEFA Euro 2004 competition which would take place in Portugal. Brazilian sensation Thiago walked away victorious after defeating American Matija Biljeskovic by a score of two goals to one. As such, he picked up a prize of $20,000 for his troubles, as well as etching his name into the history books.
2005 Final – Chris Bullard (England) vs. Gábor Mokos (Hungary)
The second FIFA eWorld Cup took place in 2005 in London. The tournament saw English gamer Chris Bullard defeat Hungary’s Gábor Mokos 5-2 on home turf to be crowned champion. Bullard bagged himself $20k and will go down in history as the first player to win the tournament on home territory.
2006 Final – Andries Smit (the Netherlands) vs. Wolfgang Meier (Austria)
The trend of winning in one’s back garden would continue the following year. The 2006 showpiece took place in Amsterdam, and it was home favorite Andries Smit who defeated Austrian Wolfgang Meier in a back-and-forth affair that eventually finished 6-4. The prize money was once again $20,000.
2008 Final – Alfonso Ramos (Spain) vs. Michael Ribeiro (USA)
2008 was a fantastic year for Spain in the world of football. In May, gamer Alfonso Ramos took home the FIFA eWorld Cup in Berlin. He defeated American Michael Ribeiro by three goals to one to seal the trophy. Barely two months later, the Spanish national team defeated Germany in Vienna courtesy of a solitary Fernando Torres goal to secure the European Championship, their first major international trophy for 44 years.
2009 Final – Bruce Grannec (France) vs Ruben Morales Zerecero (Mexico)
Following Ramos’ victory the previous year, the FIFA eWorld Cup came to Spain in 2009, with Barcelona hosting the finals. Frenchman Bruce Grannec took home the crown following a 3-1 victory over Mexico’s Ruben Morales Zerecero, sealing the trophy and a cool $20,000.
2010 Final – Nenad Stojkovic (Serbia) vs Ayhan Altundag (Germany)
The 2010 FIFA eWorld Cup was a momentous one. The tournament entered the Guinness book of world records as the biggest eSports tournament to ever take place, with a record-breaking 775,000 players taking part. That number would only grow in the years to come.
The finals were once again held in Barcelona for the second year running, and Serbia’s Nenad Stojkovic was the one who claimed the grand prize. He narrowly beat out Germany’s Ayhan Altundag to claim the title of world champion and take home $20,000 worth of prize money. This victory not only established him as one of Serbia’s greatest eSports players but also gained him international recognition and praise for his skills on the virtual pitch.
2011 Final – Francisco Cruz (Portugal) vs Javier Munoz (Colombia)
Portugal’s Francisco Cruz capped off an incredible run when he became crowned champion at the 2012 Finals, which were held in Los Angeles. He thumped Colombia’s Javier Munoz by four goals to one in the California showpiece, cementing his name into history books as one of Portugal’s greatest professional gamers.
2012 Final – Alfonso Ramos (Spain) vs Bruce Grannec (France)
The 2012 final was a true battle of the giants. Two former winners contested the showpiece in Dubai when 2008 winner Alfonso Ramos faced off with 2009 winner Bruce Grannec in the hopes of becoming the first-ever two-time World Champion.
Ramos took home the crown, eventually prevailing on penalties after a goalless draw. And as was the case in 2008, Spain once again followed in their iconic gamer’s footsteps when they won the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. They battered Italy in the Euro 2012 final to successfully retain their crown.
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