An Australian lawyer has taken his admiration for the FIFA World Cup to new heights by publishing a book about his efforts to watch as many matches in as many pubs in as many different countries as possible.
Anthony Jucha of Jucha Legal will release his book, titled 2002: A World Cup Odyssey or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Game, on the eve of this year's World Cup final.
The book's concept is simple: take a young and enthusiastic man (Jucha), who knows very little about football, plonk him in Europe and send him forth to watch as many World Cup games - with as many locals in as many countries - as is humanly possible.
"At the start I wasn't 100 per cent committed, but as I went on I became completely obsessed," says Jucha.
"At one stage I ended up doing seven countries and seven matches in seven days. At first I was happy to miss a game or two, but then I was ... caught up in the physical and intellectual challenge: how can I get from here to there in time?"
The result is a witty travelogue detailing the myriad challenges, pubs, near-misses, pubs, crazed fans, pubs, train trips and well, more pubs, he encountered along the way.
Although it has taken Jucha eight years to publish what is effectively a series of blogs written in the midst of his European tour, he is still proud of his work and looks back on his experience with a mix of admiration and lighthearted concern.
"Reading it eight years later, I look back and think, 'What was I doing?' I have trouble relating to the author. I think he's got issues," laughs Jucha.
"It's still me, it's just a younger more exuberant me. I feel the difference in age and energy level ... There is an absence of cynicism and just a complete enthusiasm. There is a bit of reverie in going back into it and looking at this younger, crazier me."
You can find more information on the book at http://www.anthonyjucha.com