NEW YORK, NY – At the historic Apollo Theater in the neighborhood of Harlem in the borough of Manhattan, New York, the semifinals and grand final of the 2016 FIFA Interactive World Cup to determine the best FIFA 16 player in the world were performed in front of a live audience. In the end, Mohamad Al-Bacha will now go home with the cash prize of $20,000 and a trip with a guest of their choosing to the FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony.
In the first semifinal, we saw the PlayStation 4 semifinalists, second-ranked Mohamad Al-Bacha of Denmark vs third-ranked Ivan Lapanje of Sweden. The Danishman had scored 14 goals and conceded none in the group stage, Round of 16, and quarterfinals, which was something sensational. He chose France in this match while the Swede chose Brazil.
In the 43rd minute, Al-Bacha made it 1-0 off a ball from Hatem Ben Arfa to Antoine Griezmann to give him the lead shortly before halftime. In the 53rd minute, Al-Bacha made it 2-0 on a penalty from Ben Arfa to give all but momentum to send the Danishman to the final. In the last few seconds, Lapanje got a consolation goal from Douglas Costa, but it wasn't enough for Lapanje to advance to the finals.
Following the victory, Al-Bacha stated, ''It was a very hard game, but when I managed to score the goals I needed, it gave me immense happiness.''
In the second semifinal, we saw the Xbox One semifinals, seventh-ranked Dylan Bance of France vs first-ranked Sean Allen of England. This was a rematch of the group stage that both men competed in, when the Englishman came victorious with a 4-0 win. The Frenchman picked Germany and the Englishman picked Brazil for this semifinal matchup.
Various chances opened up, but in the 32nd minute, Allen took the lead with a goal from Neymar following some lovely buildup play. The match was secured after Neymar again made it 2-0 in the 86th minute to send Allen to the final. Further damage was done in the final seconds of the match, as Allen made it 3-0 following a wonderful finish from Neymar to get his hat-trick.
''Despite being a late call up, it still feels amazing to be in the final," Allen said following the victory.
For the first time ever in the FIWC's history, the winner of the Xbox One tournament, Allen, and the winner of the PlayStation tournament, Al-Bacha, played in a two-legged match using both consoles. Allen played as Brazil while the 17-year-old Al-Bacha played as France, a rematch of the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final.
The first match was played on the PS4. In the 30th minute, Al-Bacha made it 1-0 off a goal from Griezmann following a wonderful finish past the Brazilian goalkeeper. In the 39th minute, Allen scored with Neymar off a counter to make it level at 1-1. In the 83rd minute, Al-Bacha scored with Blaise Matuidi to give him the advantage heading into the second leg, but just a few minutes later, Allen scored with Hulk to make it 2-2 as the final was knotted up after a tightly intense first leg.
In the second leg, played on the Xbox One, everything was on the line with a 2-2 goal aggregate. In the 34th minute, Al-Bacha made it 1-0 with a goal with a goal from Ben Arfa to give him the advantage of 3-2 in total goals. It was leveled in the 54th minute after a sensational run from Hulk gave Allen the lead on the away goals aggregate. In the 59th minute, Sean Allen took the 4-2 lead, leading 2-1 in the second leg with a goal from Douglas Costa.
Allen made it 3-1 and led 5-3 on aggregate with a goal coming from Costa in the 77th minute to send the Englishman into ecstasy. But this one was far from over.
In the 89th minute, Al-Bacha made it 3-2 following a goal from Griezmann, providing himself one more minute to make changes to his squad and gain the competition-winning goal (via aggregate).
After bringing on Cristophe Jallet into the midfield and switching to the attacking 4-2-4 formation, the Danishman scored the goal he needed with Antoine Griezmann to win it all. Jallet led Griezmann through with a nice ball on the left side of the box, and Griezmann tacked it in near-post to tie up the second leg and give Al-Bacha the advantage on away goals for the aggregate.
And with that, Mohamad Al-Bacha won the 2016 FIFA Interactive World Cup. He has achieved a dream come true, winning $20,000 and a trip to Zurich to see all his idols in the world of soccer at the FIFA Ballon D'Or in January 2017.