IncGamers’ Andy Alderson spent a week online with FIFA 09’s new Be a Pro 10 vs 10 mode and, having seen the best and worst it has to offer, here are the three games that stood out. Arsenal vs UCD Dublin 1-1
Player: Alan Mahon (RB)I didn’t fancy Dublin’s chances in this match for three reasons. Firstly, Arsenal’s impressive squad sports the kind of attacking players who rip through defences. UCD Dublin’s, you could argue, does not. Secondly, during the rush to select positions pre-game, I was busy making a cup of tea. This meant my midfield playmaker ambitions were dashed as I was forced to take on my least favourite position, right back. Thirdly, as we waited for kick off, our right midfielder informed the team that we needed to pass to him constantly because, apparently, he’s the best FIFA player in the Rotherham area.The whistle blew and within seconds the best player in Rotherham had conceded the ball to Adebayor who now charged towards Dublin’s humble right back. Holding my ground, I waited until he got close and then committed to the challenge. And missed. Adebayor passed to Van Persie who rifled the ball into the top left corner. My teammates, unfortunately, had seen everything and I was offered some impassioned feedback.Humbled by my own uselessness, I resolved to improve. The default Pro camera can make tackling feel a little more difficult as it swings around to follow the action but I managed to get a couple of good challenges in, boosting my performance rating. Following one tackle, I played a beautifully weighted ball down the line which resulted in our first chance of the game. As our team had quickly caught onto the fact that Rotherham boy was, in fact, a ball-hogging cretin, he was cut out of the attacking equation, despite his vocal protests. In one brief moment of team solidarity we strung together a series of short passes and a shot on goal was deflected past Almunia for an equaliser. And then, all hell broke loose.The opposing team, rattled by our late goal, resorted to using our players for target practice. The result can only be described as an orgy of violence around the centre circle and before the final whistle blew four players were sent off, two from each team.
Chelsea vs Barcelona 2-3
Player: Frank Lampard (CAM)Having learned from my early mistakes, I managed to nab a midfield spot in what promised to be an epic match-up between two footballing giants. Unfortunately, it soon became evident that whoever was playing as Joe Cole was not particularly happy out on the wing and so decided to play in my position instead. A lesser man may have kicked up a fuss, but I’m not one of these overpaid prima donnas and so I moved out onto the wing. My first few touches of the ball were not the most auspicious and resulted in some wayward passes. As a set-everything-to-manual kind of guy, it’s not surprising as the Pro camera again throws up some issues when you’re using manual passing. The dynamic camera position means that if your pass coincides with a camera shift, there’s a good chance it could end up going in the wrong direction, impressing the hell out of your teammates.Despite my wayward start, however, the team was doing well and passing nicely. Even though Joe Cole should have been out on the wing, he did well in midfield and his delightful lofted through ball resulted in a Drogba goal. However, the ensuing robot celebration must have angered our opponents as, within seconds of the kick off, they had equalised. A minute later they went ahead following the world’s most ill-timed offside trap.The pace of the game really picked up in the second half and, yet again, things got a little bad-tempered. Two horrific off-the-ball sliding tackles left both teams a man down and, following a period of pressure from Barcelona, we got the chance to counter attack. Rocketing down the right wing, Lampard used his first skill move of the game, dragging the ball inside and past a defender. The cross that followed set up a goal mouth scramble in which Drogba, for the second time, put the ball in the net with five minutes to go.The excitement peaked and was clearly too much for most of the players in the server as the game descended into a ball-chasing farce. Reminiscent of the jumpers-for-goalposts schoolyard games we used to play as kids, we suddenly had 20 players all careering towards the ball at once.In the last minute of injury time I receive the ball and, with almost everyone on the pitch charging towards me, passed back to john Terry. Mystifyingly he decided to utilise all of Terry’s pace and close control skills to beat the approaching Samuel Eto’o. Which turned out to be a mistake. Eto’o won the ball easily and slotted the ball past Cech to score the winner.John Terry’s subsequent criticism of the ‘suicide ball’ would have been all the more convincing if he hadn’t called for the pass in the first place.
England vs France 1-2
Player: David Beckham (RM)Having chosen the right wing position thinking I would be controlling wunderkind Theo Walcott, I was more than a little disappointed to discover our captain had decided to play David Beckham instead. Gone were my hopes of running rings around their left back with the trick stick and so I decided to put in a classic Beckham performance. Accordingly, I tracked back, fought for the ball and miraculously managed to pass the ball accurately. This wasn’t going to be so bad after all. In fact, Beckham surprised everyone when he beat Patrick Evra and used every last ounce of energy to run down the wing and deliver a perfect cross to the centre, which Rooney missed by millimetres. “Great ball, mate” was the reply and I realised I was part of a more serious side this time.Everyone played selfless, passing football and the match became an open, counter-attacking affair. English optimism reigned supreme at half time despite the unusual French banter (repeating the word “saucisson” appeared to be quite popular). And yet, we suffered an immediate setback in the second half as a ludicrous challenge from behind by Rio Ferdinand resulted in a penalty. Anelka dispatched it with ease and we were a goal down. Following 20 minutes of midfield slog, lightning struck twice and Rio conceded a second penalty which Anelka put away. And then something magical happened.Against all the odds, Lampard and Gerrard put together a beautiful one-two passing combination and sent the ball out to me. Holding down the right bumper, Beckham dummied brilliantly to let the ball through to Wes Brown and having made a run, he got the ball straight back. In a moment of vintage Beckham, I launched a 30 yard diagonal ball towards Rooney whose flick-on was volleyed home by Jermain Defoe. We all charged to towards the home fans and for a brief moment I discovered just how amazing 10 v 10 can be.We lost the game but it made no difference. Although you’ll spend a lot of time playing with ball-greedy, inept players, it’s a wonderful feeling when you find a team of people who understand football. People who understand quick, easy passing; people who understand the importance of maintaining shape in defence; people who understand that calling for the ball every ten seconds does not make for good team play. Be A Pro online team play is an amplified version of the single player game. The fact that your every move is being watched by your teammates means that whilst it undoubtedly feels worse when you get it wrong, it feels immeasurably better when you get it right. Find a team of like-minded people and you have the best online footballing experience bar none.