A packed out crowd at the FIFA World Football Museum watched intently as reigning FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) champion Mohamad Al-Bacha defeated VFL Wolfsburg's four-time German champion Benedikt Saltzor in the first ever live game of FIFA 17 within Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Anticipation has been building across the globe in recent months as the release date for the latest edition of EA SPORTS FIFA gets closer and closer.
Eager FIFA fans packed into the FIFA Museum’s Sportsbar 1904 to get an exclusive early look at the unreleased video game on Monday 26 September 2016. The exciting event, which was open to the public, also saw the official launch announcement for FIWC 17 - complete with a new format, new prize money and a host of new features. Now in its 13th edition, the final stages of the biggest international gaming competition will be hosted in London, England.
EA SPORTS FIFA 17 will officially be released in North America on Tuesday 27 September, and across the rest of the world at midnight on 29 September. But the FIFA World Football Museum had ten consoles loaded with the new game for members of the public to play after they watched Al-Bacha, playing as France, defeat Saltzor, playing as Germany, 1-0 thanks to second half goal from defensive midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
“FIFA 17 really is amazing - it’s much more difficult that the old one though so you need to be more skilled rather than lucky, which is a good thing,” Mohamad Al-Bacha told FIFA Museum.
“It was a wonderful experience for me to play in front of these spectators and on these giant screens at the FIFA Museum’s sportsbar. It’s something that I don’t get to experience every day and it was even more special because we were here in the home of football history,' said the reigning world champion.
“I would love to see the exhibition here and my dream is to meet my idol Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s very aggressive on the pitch and his playing style is similar to mine on the console – at least I like to think so!”
More than 2.3 million players took part in the 2016 edition of the FIFA Interactive World Cup but only 32 players qualified for the showpiece event held in New York City from 20 to 22 March. Denmark's Mohamad Al-Bacha was crowned champion after beating Sean Allen of England in the Final. Back in Zurich and as the final whistle sounded on the event at FIFA Museum, a happy crowd of fans enjoyed their first taste of the new FIFA 17 video game so much that many stayed behind – with some even getting the chance to test themselves against the likes of Al-Bacha and Saltzor.