Wednesday 26 April 2017, 15:32

xGUASTELLAx crowned Americas champ

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  • Giuseppe 'xGUASTELLAx' Guastella won the 2017FUT ChampionshipAmericas Season 2 Regional Final

  • Aged 31 and a five-time FIWC participant, he is one of the most experienced gamers on the circuit

  • Relaxed, confident and content in life, he is hoping to make his veteran know-how count in Berlin in May

In winning the 2017 FIFA Ultimate Team Championship Series Americas Season 2 Regional Final in Whistler, a ski resort north of Vancouver, last Saturday, Giuseppe 'xGUASTELLAx' Guastella sent a strong message out to his upcoming opponents at the FUT Championship Final in Berlin in May. After falling to a narrow defeat in his opening match in Group 3 of the Xbox One division, the veteran went on a winning streak that took him to the final, where he got the better of Playstation 4 winner Christopher 'NYC_Chris' Holly.

Solid in defence and explosive up front, the 31-year-old American showed that he remains as much of a force as he ever was and that the skills that have taken him to five FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Finals remain intact. His best FIWC performance to date came in Dubai in 2012, where he reached the semi-finals before losing to two-time world champion Bruce Grannec, who last year told that he had retired from gaming on account of his reflexes slowing as he approached his 30s.

“I don’t feel that way at all,” remarked Guastella, who has no intention of following Grannec’s example just yet. “It’s just a video game. It’s not as if we have to run and be fit. It’s all in your head if you ask me. If you’re well trained mentally and you prepare tactically, then everything will work out just fine.”

Honours *

  • Titles: 2009 North America FIWC; 2017 FUT Championship Americas Season 2 Regional Final

  • FIWC career: last 16 (Barcelona 2009), quarter-finals (Barcelona 2010), semi-finals (Dubai 2012), Grand Final (Munich 2015), last 16 (New York 2016)*

In facing off against the young guns looking to make their way on the increasingly competitive FIFA scene, 'xGUASTELLAx' has been drawing on all his experience. “I think it gives me an advantage,” he explained. “Whenever I take on young players I can see that they get pretty nervous and really feel the pressure. It gives me a psychological edge and I use it to my advantage sometimes. I’ve got my reputation in the FIFA community, and I can sense the fear in other players when they come up against me. It’s a great advantage to have.”

That maturity and confidence was clear for all to see on Saturday, when 'xGUASTELLAx' secured a victory that he celebrated in genuinely effusive style. Holding the trophy aloft as he paraded the stage, he hugged his partner Vanessa, who had come to cheer him on. “I couldn’t have a better fiancée. I love her,” he said of his future wife, the two having decided to wed this coming December. “It’s because of her that I feel so fulfilled in life, and it’s really had a positive impact on my game. She often travels with me to tournaments and I can feel her support when she’s by my side.”

Unfortunately, he will be without his number one fan when he travels to Berlin; it just so happens that she will be enjoying her hen party with her friends that very weekend. “I’m an optimist,” said Giuseppe, who manages flooring projects when he is not pursuing his eSports career. “I go into every tournament with the intention of winning it. That’s all I’m focused on,” he added. “Everyone in Berlin will be in with a chance. There’ll be some great players there from Europe and elsewhere, but I want to show that the Americas belong in the FIFA community. I love winning, but whatever happens I already feel fulfilled. I’m just playing for the fun of it and without any pressure on me at all.”