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Sunday, 30 June, 2002, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK
Travels of a football addict
South Korean fans party in Seoul
Luis has joined the party in Korea
BBC Sport Online's Stuart Roach

When you have been to the last four World Cups and Euro 2000 to boot, you can justifiably claim to be a true football fan.

But failing to see your team play a single game at any of the events makes the dedication even more remarkable.

Luis de los Heros, from Peru, is what you might term a football tourist.

Open Quote
Football is unique in that it is the one thing in the world that truly brings people together
Close Quote
Luis de los Heros

His love of football began when he watched, open-mouthed, on television as his home nation played in the 1978 World Cup finals in Argentina.

By the 1982 tournament, he was a self-confessed addict and he now watches all of his country's home World Cup qualifying games.

But he is still waiting to see them on the big stage.

Yet the World Cup still holds massive appeal for Luis, who saw 11 games in Korea and Japan this month.

"I saw a couple of games at Italia 90 almost by accident as I was on vacation there and decided I should try and go," he said.

Four years later, in Washington DC, he had just graduated from high school and decided to celebrate by hitting the road for the World Cup.

And by France 98, the addiction was really taking a hold.

"I went to France with my dad and we stayed for the whole tournament.

David Beckham in action for England against Argentina
England v Argentina had the 'best atmosphere'
"I am lucky that I run my own business now and I can arrange business trips around football games or at least give myself holiday at the right time," Luis told BBC Sport Online.

Unable to wait four years for another big tournament, Luis travelled to Holland and Belgium for Euro 2000.

And last year he flew to Munich to see England thrash Germany 5-1 in the same week he had seen Brazil play Argentina.

"I love England games more than any other. The fans are amazing and their constant singing is outstanding.

"They never stop," said Luis, who was in Japan to see England beat Argentina.

"That was the best atmosphere of this World Cup. It has been a remarkable tournament and I plan to head for Germany in 2006, as well as the 2004 European Championship in Portugal.

"For me, the European Championship is the world's second biggest tournament after the World Cup."

Luis often travels alone to tournaments, but never feels lonely.

"I meet so many people through football," he said. "It is unique in that it is the one thing in the world that truly brings people together."


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