Marc was the winner of the inaugural World Cup - Wild Cup Bracket Contest!
For the first time in 20 years, France celebrated a FIFA World Cup title earlier this month - with a victory that helped Marc C. of Ste. Agathe, MB, take the inaugural Wild Cup Bracket Contest.
While soccer pundit Hank the Raccoon came oh-so-close to (miraculously) picking the finalists for this year's event, Marc wisely went with France to win the World Cup in his bracket and the move paid off, as he won the $5,000 cash prize.
"I picked France to win because I'm French," Marc told PlayNow.com, adding he put in a "couple hours" worth of research before filling out his bracket before the tournament.
"I knew they had a decent chance of making it to the semis."
This year's FIFA World Cup in Russia was full of surprises and major upsets. Germany, previously the reigning world champion, failed to advance out of the group stage. Spain was eliminated in the Round of 16. Same for Argentina. One by one, a number of the tournament favourites fell, which opened the door for the young and talented squad from France.
France, which entered the tournament with odds of 7.00 to win outright, took advantage, eventually defeating Croatia 4-2 in the final.
"I was excited when Germany got kicked out, mostly because I didn't have them," said Marc, who was at work when he found out he won the bracket challenge. "And same with Portugal, I didn't have them either. It was good to see those big names all not lasting long."
Marc, who uses PlayNow.com for sports betting (especially hockey), plans to use some of the money for a trip to Calgary to visit his brother.
It is a good bet that Germany's early exit, coupled with other favourites being eliminated soon after, meant trouble for many of the brackets filled out during the contest. Did Marc think his bracket was among those in jeopardy thanks to those surprising eliminations? Was he nervous about his selections as the tournament continued into the knockout stage and final?
"Not really. I actually can't quite remember what I picked," said Marc.
"I went back and looked at it once early in the Round of 16 I think, but then after that I was too focused on the games to look at the bracket.
"It was a bit of, 'Out of sight out of mind,' I guess. It was a really nice surprise when you called to say I had won."