Our national football side (and coach) may have escaped criticism for now, with last week?s game seeing them actually score goals in open play. But with the childhood obesity epidemic fuelling concerns about grass roots soccer skills, maybe it?s time to forget about real-life football and look for a version of the game in which we can become world leaders. Physical fitness is not a requirement for participation in the FIFA Interactive World Cup, the first leg of which took place at Kensington Olympia at the weekend.
Michael Barrett of Watford beat off other would-be digital midfield generals at the qualifying tournament, played on Electronic Arts? FIFA 2006, a popular soccer game made by Canadians. Playing as Brazil, and bravely eschewing Sven's 'nick-a-penalty-and-bore-the-opposition-to-death' tactics, in the final, he beat 22 year old Ryan Cullender of Dagenham?s Barcelona by a convincing 5-1, winning himself a place in the finals, also to be played in London on December 18. The lucky little salad dodger also wins himself an Xbox 360 and tickets to the actual World Cup Final next year.
The time of all things football is now well and truly upon us, what with this season?s FIFA game already out and Konami?s more than worthy adversary Pro Evolution Soccer 5 due in the next few days. EA?s PR brainchild continues its jaunt round the globe, and by the time the finals arrive, will have scoured Sao Paolo, Seoul, Johannesburg, Sydney, Los Angeles, Paris and Cologne for the world?s best FIFA players to face Michael. Good luck, lad! Bring football home for us, you might be our only hope!