Wolfgang Haas is one of the best players in the World. The Austrian player who is the man behind YouTube (he works for Google!) is also one of the most exciting players on the FISTF circuit. Our exclusive interview reveals his love for the game of Subbuteo and features a fantastic goal recorded in 2010 against French Maestro Henri Cornu.
1. When did you first start playing?
When I was 11 years old, I discovered during a Games exhibition in Vienna that there were Subbuteo clubs and tournaments organized all around the world. I had already owned a Subbuteo beginners set beforehand and I joined the TSC Royal 78 the day after the event.
2. Which was your first ever big tournament?
I played my first international tournament in Denmark in 1995 and I did really poorly. I had so much fun, though, that many international tournaments followed :) In 1996 I won my first tournaments (both individual and team) and soon after I won the U16 World Cup in Silkeborg.
3. Which is the best tournament you have ever attended?
The World Cup in Silkeborg (in 1996) was probably the best tournament I have ever attended. Not only was it my first World Cup ever, but our entire national team arrived there a week ahead of time which was really fun. The event itself was superbly organized, which I believe was done by the same crew that organized the amazing tournaments in Sucy at that time. I already had goose bumps walking into the hall during the opening ceremony!
4. What was the best goal you have ever scored?
For me personally, I think of the best goal being the most important goal. This clearly happened at the GP of Barcelona in 1996 during the team final when I managed to score the winning goal against Luis Machado with 2 minutes to go which won us the second GP in as many weeks and propelled our club to the #1 in the world ranking.
5. Who would you describe as being the toughest player you have faced in England?
I have played against many different English players over the years, but I believe Chris Thomas is clearly the best at the moment. I don't think I have ever seen someone as concentrated and focused as Chris was when he won the GP of Issy in early 2013.
6. Who would you describe as being the toughest player you have faced in the World?
Carlos Flores, no doubt! He plays so fast and yet controls the ball with unbelievable skill that one would wish a game would only last 2x5 minutes :)
7. What has been the best match you have ever played in?
There have been too many great matches to pick one winner. Most recently I played against Danielle Bertelli at the World Cup in Manchester which was certainly one of the best games I ever played. I ended up beating him 4:1 and giving our team the edge on goal difference against Italy but we still ended up losing 1:2. A few months later I beat Massimiliano Nastasi 2:1 during the Champions League in Athens which was also a game I won't forget for a long time.
8. What has been your best moment or achievement in the game?
I am obviously very proud of my 3 World Championships (2x individual, 1x team) in the U16 competition from 1996-1998, but I value achievements in team competitions much higher. When I transferred to Wiener Neustadt at the beginning of this season (along with my brother Christian, Rasmus Lund and Emil Christiansen), we were ranked only 15th in the world and it looks like we may finish this season as #2 in the world. The sum of all the great games we played this season combined with the fact that we amazingly led our group after day #1 of the Champions League is probably the greatest achievement that I have been part of.
9. What has been the funniest moment you have seen on a trip away to a tournament?
I have not been there myself, but during a tournament in Belgium some Austrian players went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Heinz Eder wanted to eat duck and tried to explain this to the waiter by saying "quack, quack". He ended up getting frog legs!
10. Which football team do you support?
I am a big fan of Rapid Vienna. I also support Werder Bremen and since my move to Switzerland I have been paying a lot more attention to the FC Basel.
11. What is your favourite food?
Wiener Schnitzel (veal!) followed by Apfelstrudel.
12. Do you have any other hobbies?
I like to travel, watch funny movies and play with all the latest tech gadgets.
13. What is your favourite holiday destination?
Any place I haven't been to yet. Of all the places I have seen, I probably enjoyed the Columbia Icefield in Alberta (Canada) during the hot summer the most.
14. What is the best movie you have ever seen?
15. What is your favourite TV series?
I love the Amazing Race. I also really enjoyed Prison Break.
16. What is your favourite music?
None in particular. I enjoy pop music and punk rock.
17. Which person do you have most respect for in life?
There are too many to pick from, but during my studies in Vancouver I learned about Terry Fox and his "Marathon of Hope". Terry had to have one of his legs amputated, but decided to embark on an adventure to run all across Canada to raise money for cancer research. He ran over 5000km (more than 1 marathon per day) before he had to retire. He passed away soon after, but still to this date there are Terry Fox runs all over the world raising money and awareness for cancer research.