Bruce: Rio will be my most exciting Grand Final

As the sixth and final season of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2014 reaches the homestretch, FIFA.com checked in with defending champion Bruce Grannec to get his thoughts on the main event in June – The FIWC 2014 Grand Final in Rio de Janeiro!

“There’ll be 20 players, and all of them have a chance to win it,” says Bruce, “Our level is pretty close to be honest, and you’ll need that special something else, something more than just skill to reach the final.”

While his name is often uttered when asking finalists about their tournament favourites, Bruce rejects the idea. “You have to watch everyone,” he says, “If you reach the Grand Final it is not a coincidence, it's because you are simply good enough.”

As a veteran of four Grand Finals, and having experienced the highs and lows of the tournament, the Frenchman believes there is a defining quality a player must have to win the largest gaming tournament in the world. "Experience is the most important thing in this tournament,” he says. “You need to stay fully focused even when things are not moving in your direction. Then you need to have a little bit of luck, just like in any competitive sport.”

While his fellow 19 Grand Finalists had to run the qualification gauntlet for the FIWC 2014, Bruce enjoys an automatic seat in Rio as the reigning champion, something he considers both a blessing and a curse. “When you take a look at what it takes to qualify for a Grand Final, it’s obviously great to be automatically seeded,” he says. “It's exciting to be the defending champion, but it's also very stressful. To keep the title, you have to fight twice as hard against a lot of good players that are hungry to win it for the first time.”

Barcelona, Dubai, Madrid and now Rio de Janeiro, The Frenchman’s virtual skills have taken him to some unforgettable FIWC destinations, not to mention two VIP visits to the FIFA Ballon d’Or. But the allure of Brazil shines brightest for Bruce. “Brazil will be my fifth Grand Final and for sure the most exciting one,” he says. “To know that I’m going to compete in Brazil, a country where football is like a religion, and during a world cup… It’s just unbelievable to be honest.”

While the finalists will be focused on the virtual tournament with it's massive grand prize - USD 20,000 and a trip to the next FIFA Ballon d'Or - there is the welcome distraction of attending a World Cup match in Rio. It’s something Bruce relishes. “For any fan out there, it’s a dream to be able to watch a World Cup game. Now make that dream come true in Rio de Janeiro, it’s something that I’ll probably tell my future kids about everyday of my life!” Said Grannec in a rare moment of visible excitement.

Even Bruce - a player with such an ice-cool composure that he is nicknamed 'The Machine' - can’t contain his excitement for the chance to experience the coming together of the real and virtual FIFA World Cup in Brazil. “It’s not everyday that you get to travel to the other side of the world, never mind during a World Cup,” he says, “I want to enjoy the experience as much as possible.”

It's not too late to enter. Sign up for the FIWC 2014 now and try your luck in our Season 6 Community Qualifier and Country Challenge for a chance to be in Brazil! You can follow the FIFA Interactive World Cup on Facebook and @FIWC on twitter for all the latest news from the largest gaming tournament in the world!