TACO shared his thoughts on the important of the Imperial matchup for his team

TACO: "These results show that we are on the right path"

The veteran player has his sights set on international titles with this squad.

Heading into the IEM Cologne Play-in, 00 Nation were arguably one of the biggest wild cards in this stage of the event. Despite being a brand new squad, only playing their first matches earlier this week, 00 Nation displayed potential at ESL Challenger Valencia, besting regional heavyweights FURIA 2-0. 00 Nation have managed to maintain the momentum from Valencia, trouncing Astralis in their opening match in the Play-in, narrowly falling to Spirit in the upper-bracket final before besting Imperial in a Brazilian bloodbath.

With 00 Nation's spot in the main stage of IEM Cologne now secured, Dust2.us' Liam "Slevo" Slevin and IGL Epitacio "TACO" de Melo discussed a variety of topics surrounding the fresh squad. The two conversed about the importance of this win over Imperial, his reunion with Marcelo "coldzera" David, and his goals for the team in the main stage.

How does it to feel to win this Brazilian derby?

It feels great to be fair. Of course, it's an elimination match, and it's sad to see our friends be eliminated, it's a match that nobody likes to play. When it comes to being a Brazilian derby, with a lot of expectations from both crowd and the entire Brazilian community, it feels amazing to have the chance to play this game and also win. I'm very happy, I'm very happy for the guys as well that played probably their first big game.

As you said, it's sad to see Imperial go, and you were sad to have had to play the game, but seeing your former teammates on the other side of the server, does that give you more motivation and make you want to play better to get the bragging rights?

Definitely, it was a very special game for us. There was a lot of pressure, there was a lot of things going on, a lot of comments that we have to read on social media, so definitely it was a different game for us. We faced it as a very important match; it was a very important match because I mean we are now qualified for the main event, so definitely a beautiful game to play, beautiful game to watch, and beautiful victory by us.

In terms of you and the former teammates, while you have both gone back as far as 2016, one side went to stick with the "Last Dance", a much older team, while you chose to bring up younger, less-experienced players with GODSENT. Does this victory in such a comfortable fashion restate to you how important it is to bring up the youth, reinforcing your decision?

To be really fair, when I get the invite to play with the "Last Dance" and play with Imperial, I was in a very different moment of my career, building something with GODSENT, and building something with my young players. I'm very happy to see the results, latto and dumau especially became very different players than what they were, and I'm very happy to help in their progress, helping their careers, and helping their development as CS:GO players. I wouldn't say that these results show that my decision was right, I'm not here for that, but I would say that these results show that we are on the right path.

FalleN was your IGL for a very long time, and you're now the IGL of this younger squad. Did it give you an edge knowing how he calls and having played under him for so long?

FalleN was my teacher, he was the one who taught me how to play CS, how to play the CS that I know to play. I'm very grateful for that, but CS changed a lot, we have to adapt a lot, we have to study a lot, play more aggressive, play more passive, mix a lot of stuff. Even though I know how FalleN plays, I wouldn't say that it was a big advantage because like I said the preparation was done, it was clear that they had good preparation for that specific match, so a lot of mind games were going on. I wouldn't say that knowing how FalleN likes to play was an advantage for us.

You have a recent victory over FURIA and now this victory over Imperial, two of the highest-rated Brazilian teams. You said that you're on the right path; how many more wins like this do you think it will take before you become the best team in Brazil?

Our goal is to be a contender for big tournaments. We are not thinking much about being the best in Brazil, but definitely winning against Imperial and against FURIA sends a message that we are here to stay, and we want to be, in the future, the best Brazilian team for sure. Right now, we are taking it step-by-step. We know that one BO3 against Imperial and another BO3 against FURIA doesn't mean much, but I hope in the future we can keep it up. It's people's job and analysts' job to say that we are the best Brazilian team.

I talked to coldzera yesterday and I asked him about your relationship, we obviously know the relationship that you guys had in the past. He said that it feels a little different this time like you're both doing the supportive roles. What has it been like being back in the server with coldzera?

It's really nice to be back with coldzera. He knows how to play CS, and we actually like to play the same CS I would say, the same way of playing CS. He helps a lot with calls and with ideas and organizing the team. We had a really good duo in the past but we both understand that it's also a different moment of our careers. We are trying to make the young guys shine, and that's pretty much it. He's helping me a lot with organizing the team, and it's good to be back with coldzera especially because he works really hard and I really think that's a really good thing.

Now that you're in the main stage of the tournament, what are your reasonable expectations for this lineup considering the results that you put up here in the Play-in?

Well, our first goal was qualifying for the main event, and we just did it. Right now our next goal would be qualifying for the Lanxess Arena for the playoffs. It would be a big dream for me, it would be a dream for the young guys as well. We know it's very difficult, but we want to grow during the tournament. We are doing that, we are improving our map pool, we are playing better as a team, and well, let's see what the future holds for us.

While 00 Nation certainly impressed in the Play-in, TACO and his youngsters will have a tall task ahead of them in the main stage, as they have been matched against top-ranked squad FaZe for their opening matchup. 00 Nation's brawl with FaZe is set to start today at 06:30AM.

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