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Brazilian crowned FIFA Interactive World Player 2004

Playing as France, mind.

Electronic Arts' ambitious FIFA Interactive World Cup, based on the Xbox version of FIFA Football 2005, concluded at FIFA House in Zurich yesterday as eight of the world's top players went head-to-head.

And after two tough groups and knock-outs, 21 year-old Brazilian Thiago Carrico de Azevedo (pictured) of Rio de Janeiro triumphed over another 21 year-old, Matija Biljeskovic, of Rockford, Illinois, USA.

De Azevedo will be honoured on-stage at the FIFA World Player Gala at the Opera House in Zurich, where he will receive the FIFA Interactive World Player 2004 award alongside the actual male and female "world footballers of the year".

De Azevedo played as France and took second place in a group stage featuring opponents from the UK, South Africa and Australia, before beating a South Korean opponent playing as England 3-2 "in a semi-final match that left the crowd literally on their feet," according to EA.

He then beat US winner Biljeskovic, playing as AC Milan, 2-1 in a tense and defensive-minded final, describing it as "as tough a match as I have played," in his post-match comments.

"We both were determined to play a tough defensive style and I was fortunate that my goalkeeper played so well. I'd like to thank FIFA, EA SPORTS and Xbox for treating me to an experience that I will never forget," he added.

EA also provided stats on the tournament overall. More than 8,000 players and spectators visited regional tournaments around the globe, EA says, playing over 3,000 games with more than 6,500 shots hitting the back of the net.

The publisher also trumpeted the response from Xbox Live users, pointing to one player who's played more than 1,228 matches, and another with 3,800 goals to his name and an unbeaten streak of over 200 games.