The winner of Online Qualification Season 3 for FIWC12, which ran from 1-25 February, had to put in 100 per cent effort until the very end. Thank to his persistence, Julien Dassonville won the season by a very narrow margin.

Julien must now attempt to match the accomplishment of countryman Bruce Grannec who won the FIWC title back in 2009. We spoke to Julien about his past FIWC experiences, his thoughts on Cruz’s title defence and his hopes for the 2012 Grand Final. Congratulations on winning such a tough season! Will this be your first Grand Final appearance?
No, I already participated in the FIWC10 Grand Final. I won the France Live Event and consequently took part in the Grand Final in Barcelona.

Do you know Bruce? Do you think you will become the second French player to win the FIWC?
I do know Bruce. He is part of the French EA SPORTS™ FIFA community and a true champion! It takes a lot of patience, skill and of course you need a little bit of luck to win. I’m pretty confident and think that I could become the second French FIWC champion!

So far no player has been able to successfully defend their title. Why do you think it's so tough to defend the FIWC title?
I guess it’s very difficult to sustain that level of play every year. There are always new competitors, the pressure is immense and you have to be able to deliver top performances throughout the tournament. I think Francisco Cruz could be the first champion to defend his title because he is a very talented player.

When you started to compete in Online Season 3 did you expect to win?
No, not at all! When I started to play I gave it my best and after four days it was looking very promising. However, once I grabbed first place it became unbelievably hard because the Top 10 were so close. It was very difficult to defend this position and consequently I was very happy when the season finally ended.

You were pretty consistent throughout the season and it seemed like every time an opponent challenged your position you overcame them. What happened last year, why didn’t you qualify?
It just wasn’t my year! There were opponents that were just that tiny bit better. It’s really tough to qualify for the Grand Final so I am very excited about this year’s Grand Final and I’m sure that the crowd will be a big source of motivation for me!