Alfonso Ramos stood on the roof terrace of the Hotel ME Reina Victoria about to begin his defence of the FIFA Interactive World Cup in his home country.
He began that defence with the opening goal of the tournament on the main screen, a 22-yard rocket from virtual Real Madrid star Xabi Alonso. Despite being given a scare by Rodrigo Pileggi, the reigning champion came out on top with a 2-1 win.
Across the evening, Ramos followed up the Group A opener with a draw against Rafael Riobo Sanchez but did not play his third match-up due to the withdrawl of Mattia Guarracino.
The biggest threat to Ramos' crown, Bruce Grannec, was drawn in group B and won his first match, only to be shocked by Juan Ambriz as a Cristiano Ronaldo header sentenced the likely challenger to a surprise defeat. Grannec also lost his third game which leaves him with plenty of work left to do just to make the knockout stages.
With France 98' World Cup Winner Christian Karembeu in attendance, and Real Madrid defender Raul Albiol also an interested spectator, the pressure was on the grand finalists to impress, and they didn't disappoint.
UK representative George Tsirita was drawn in group C alongside Kai Wollen, who finished third in the 2012 competition. Although George managed a win and defeat in his other matches, his draw against Wollen was particulary impressive. Coming back from a goal down to level, in a result which frustrated the German front-runner. Wollen though managed two victories in his other matches to leave himself in second place in group C, perfectly placed to mount a push for automatic qualification.
Rafael Riobo Sanchez, Daniel Rodriguez Moyano and Abdulaziz Alsheri lead groups A, B and C respectively, but with half of the first round matches still to play, any one of the finalists will be still hoping to mount a push for qualification as we head into day two.
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