Most competitors are justifiably disappointed after losing a final, with only a few allowing themselves to be truly satisfied with a second-place finish. Not so Julien Dassonville. Despite suffering a clear defeat to Abdulaziz Alshehri in the final of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2015, the Frenchman sat grinning as he chatted to FIFA.com.
“I’m over the moon. I’m the runner-up in a World Cup and that’s a huge success,” he explained – and there is no disputing this argument. Although he had hoped for more after reaching the last two, his opponent in the tournament’s showpiece was simply too strong. “I’m pleased for Abdulaziz. He’s a good friend of mine and he really did deserve the title,” he said, congratulating the newly crowned world champion.
Dassonville would never have imagined getting so far before the competition began. Although Munich marked his fourth appearance in a Grand Final after previously taking part in 2010, 2012 and 2014, it was his composure rather than his experience from previous tournaments that stood him in good stead this time around. Despite having scarcely played FIFA after last year’s Grand Final in Rio de Janeiro, he qualified for the FIWC 2015 in the online season in November before returning to his everyday life. “I’ve got a girlfriend too, so I didn’t play at all after that,” explained the man currently ranked third in the world.
When he arrived in Munich he wished his fellow French competitors luck, as he assumed “that I’d only lose. But as I went from one match to the next, the fun and my love of the game returned,” he recalled, describing his emotions by explaining: “I’m a competitive guy – when I play, I take it seriously.”
A strong French showingDassonville was extremely happy to qualify for the quarter-finals after finishing second in his group. Two more strong performances, including knocking out reigning champion August Rosenmeier in the semi-final, carried him all the way to the tournament decider – but he could not keep up with Alshehri for one simple reason: “My defence was my greatest strength in every game at this competition,” he explained. “But I didn’t make a good start to the final and Abdulaziz scored the first goal. After that it was clear to me that it’d be difficult to get back into the match.”
Finishing as runner-up made Dassonville the most successful Frenchman at the FIWC 2015, with three other compatriots joining him among the 20 best EA SPORTS FIFA 15 players in the world. In contrast to his own performance in Munich, this comes as no surprise to the 25-year-old. “I think we play at the highest level in France,” he said. “That’s also why French players are in the running right to the end almost every year.”
His campaign in the Bavarian capital appears to support this claim. While on his way to Munich, Dassonville asked himself whether he would try and remain among the gaming elite over the coming year, and decided that 2015 would be his last appearance in the Grand Final.
“But it was just so much fun. I was able to enjoy every match, so I think I’ll be back next year to try and go one better,” he concluded confidently. If he can continue to maintain his composure, success next year would come as no surprise at all.