Strauss: The Grand Final dream remains
© FIFA.com

In our first interview with Mark Strauss, the FIFA Interactive World Cup newcomer described his introduction to the FIWC and discussed his first impressions and match experiences. With the end of qualification for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 just around the corner, we reconnected with Mark to discuss his maiden season in the FIWC.

FIFA.com: The last time we met, you had just played your first few FIWC matches online. How have things been going for you since then?
Mark Strauss:
I’ve been able to gain a lot of experience and have tried to implement tips and tricks from FIFA.com and from other players. Thanks to that I’ve been able to win several matches. But I’m still at the beginning and I want to keep improving!

FIWC broke the million mark for registered players this year. As a newcomer, what makes this tournament so special to you?
It is simply the largest tournament in the world. It has players from countries all around the globe and I can size myself up against them. Where else do you have the chance to play against EA SPORTS™ FIFA players from the USA, Australia and South America? And it isn’t just the competition, you can meet people and make new friends. That has been my experience so far.

Have you taken part in any FIWC12 live qualification events?
Not yet, but next year I definitely want to. Many professional players have reported that playing head-to-head is a completely new experience and you can learn a lot from it. That is why I really want to go to a live qualifier and take part.

The Grand Final is in Dubai this year. What do you think of Dubai as our Grand Final destination?
Awesome! Dubai is a true highlight and the finalists will surely enjoy themselves there. I watched the video from last year’s finale and I think the players will have a lot of fun there...it will be an exciting battle for the crown.

You said it. The list of Grand Finalists is almost complete, do you have a favourite to win it?
It’s difficult to say since all of the finalists are so unbelievably talented. I’ve heard that no one has been able to defend their title yet but that will be different this year. Francisco Cruz is going to win the crown again!

You weren’t able to qualify for the Grand Final this year. What do you think about your performance in FIWC12?
All in all, i’m very happy with my first go round. Things are looking up and I’m learning every day in matches against the top players. It was clear to me that making it to the Grand Final can’t be accomplished from one day to the next and that it takes a lot of practice. I’ll stay on the ball in order to one day be there! The Grand Final dream remains!

The sixth and final season of online qualification for the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2012 runs until 15 May. Don't miss out on your final chance to qualify online for Dubai's Grand Final!