Live qualifying events for the FIFA Interactive World Cup have taken place in Denmark, the Netherlands and Hungary this month as part of EA and FIFA's search to find out who is best at FIFA 08 on PS3 (I'd like to take this opportunity to rule myself out).
15-year-old Christian Lønhart from Bagsværd in Copenhagen and 17-year-old Hungarian Roland Császár won the first two events, while Dutchman Andries Smit is apparently up for his second Grand Final in a row after a "tense qualifying match" at the weekend in the Netherlands.
Apparently more than 10,000 people from 25 countries have been trying for top spot on the PlayStation Network leaderboard since the game's release in October, with qualifiers set to continue across Korea, Portugal and eventually over 20 locations worldwide in the next five months.
On 24th May 2008, 32 finalists will then head off to Berlin to compete for FIFA Interactive World Player 2008, with the winner even getting an invite to the FIFA World Player Gala 2008. We'd say that it'll be worth practising the special watch-nicking handshake and pickpocket skills in advance, but the cash prize of USD 20,000 will probably be enough to save the wallets and bling of the world's finest sportsmen (besides, better pickings seem to be had around Liverpool on European Cup nights, judging by the red-tops).
You can find out more about getting involved at the official website, but do remember that this year's tournament is PS3-only due, presumably, to a money hat that even Sepp Blatter could fit his head into.