March 28, 2010

2009-10 UEFA Europa League, Quarter-finals: the 8 clubs, with stadium photos.

Filed under: Football Stadia,UEFA Cup / Europa League — admin @ 12:39 pm


Europa League fixtures/results, Europa League fixtures/results (ESPN Soccernet).
The Quarter-finals of the 09/10 Europa League begin on Thursday, 1st April, with the second leg matches a week later. Of the 8 clubs still alive, there are 2 English clubs (Fulham and Liverpool), 2 German clubs (Hamburg and Wolfsburg), 2 Spanish clubs (Atletico Madrid and Valencia), a Belgian club (Standard Liege), and a Portuguese club (Benfica).
How ’bout them Cottagers? At Craven Cottage, West London, on 18th March, Fulham found themselves down to Juventus 4-1 aggregate, after a 2nd minute goal by Juve’s David Trezeguet. Fulham they got one goal back 9 minutes in, from Bobby Zamora, then were given a man advantage after a straight red card to Juventus’ Cannavaro. Fulham’s Zoltan Gera then scored late in the first half, and netted a penalty kick in the 49th minute, after Diego handled the ball. But it was a tense match that looked headed for extra time. In the 71st minute, Fulham manager Roy Hodgson put in Clint Dempsey for Stephen Kelly, and 9 minutes later the move proved brilliant, when the Texas-born Dempsey, at the top edge of the box on the right-hand side, chipped a stunning, where-on-earth-did-that-come-from shot that looped all the way across the goal mouth to land just inside in the upper-left corner of the goal. It could arguably be called the greatest moment in the history of Fulham FC, a club that has won no major trophies, has only played 21 seasons in the English top flight, and had never played in Europe prior to this season.

Thanks to Tim’s 92 site for the panoramic photo,

There is a new site on my blogroll…Tanked site, which has an unusual feature that all other deep-sea-diving/underwater photography sites lack…maps of football leagues and competitions from Europe and beyond.
The maps are interactive (that’s an element that is beyond the limited technical abilities of Bill T, here). A cool feature is when you hover your cursor over the club’s name on the map, the club’s logo appears along with a small box that lists the club’s stadium and domestic titles. Click and you get sent to that club’s site.
Tanked-Up, interactive maps…European Football League maps and history.
Thanks to Spurs fan Martin, at Tanked-Up site, for the link, and for the entertaining e-mails.

March 24, 2010

2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, 3rd Round (aka the Sweet Sixteen).

Filed under: NCAA Men's Basketball — admin @ 3:07 pm


2nd Round upsets…
Saturday, March 20, 2010-
#11 Washington Huskies over #3 New Mexico, by 18 points
#10 St. Mary’s Gaels over #7 Villanova, by 7 points.
#9 Northern Iowa Panthers over #1 Kansas, by 2 points.
Sunday, March 21, 2010-
#12 Cornell Big Red over #4 Wisconsin, by 18 points.
#6 Xavier Musketeers over #3 Pitt, by 3 points.
#5 Michigan State Spartans over #4 Maryland, by 2 points (at the buzzer)

That 18 point victory by Cornell, a squad full of experienced seniors, is notable. It is the first time ever that the Upsate New York, Ivy League school has ever had a team in the Sweet 16.
The St. Mary’s Gaels, of Moraga, California (25 miles east of San Francisco) also have a team in the 3rd Round for the first time. St. Mary’s enrollment is just 4,700. Check out how tiny their home arena is, McKeon Pavillion, capacity 3,500 (photo halfway down page on right, here…St. Mary’s College Gaels (Wikipedia page).
The giant killing of Kansas by the unflappable Northern Iowa is simply awe-inspiring. Aki Farokhmanesh, the lightly recruited, American-born son of an Iranian immigrant volleyball coach, showed real poise in making the decision to shoot rather than eat up the clock, when he was part of a 2-on-1 break, alone and unguarded, with 35 seconds remaing. The safe thing to do would have been to pull back and wind the clock down. Especially with a 1 point lead, and after Farokhmanesh had missed his 7 previous shots. Well screw conventional wisdom, because Kansas was all but certain to gain the lead they had been chipping away at all second half. So Farokhmanesh went for it. His 3-pointer put the Jayhawks in a 4 point hole that they couldn’t crawl out of. The shot also put Ali Farokhmanesh on the March 29, 2010 cover of Sports Illustrated.
Sports Illustrated, March 29, 2010, by Tim Layden, ”As Good As It Gets‘.

Thanks to ESPN site/CBS sports online tv coverage…ESPN/Men’s College Basketball.

March 21, 2010

Czech Republic: 1.Liga (aka Gambrinus Liga), 2009-10 season.

Filed under: Czech Republic — admin @ 11:44 am

The Czech Republic’s Gambrinus Liga is the top tier of football in the country, and has been around since the late summer of 1993, which was half a year after the Czech Republic and Slovakia peacefully separated. That was two and a half years after the modern, 20th century Russian empire, also known as the Soviet Union, collapsed (hallelujah), in August 1991. Which was 20 months after the Vaclav Havel-led Czechoslovakian “Velvet Revolution” occurred, in 1989, at a similar point in time as when the Berlin Wall fell (in November, 1989).
Sparta Prague’s Generali Arena
The most successful club in both the new Czech Republic, and the old Czechoslovakian nation is and was Sparta Prague (known in their homeland as Sparta Praha). Sparta Prague have won 10 of the 16 Czech titles, but not the last two championships. Those were won by city rivals Slavia Prague (or Slavia Praha), who have now won 3 Czech titles, after their back-to-back titles in 07/08 and 08/09. Slavia Prague have a nice, new 21,000-seat stadium (Stadion Eden) that opened in May, 2008.
The other clubs that have won Czech titles are Slovan Liberec (twice, most recently in 2006) and Baník Ostrava, who won the 2004 title. Slovan Liberec are from Liberec, the 5th-largest Czech city (105,000 population {2009}). FC Baník Ostrava are from Ostrava, in the eastern side of the country in the Moravian-Silesian Region. Ostrava is the third largest city in the Czech Republic, with a population of 336,000 {2009}. [Note Brno is the second-largest Czech city (population, 405,000 {2009}.]


The Gambrinus Liga is at exactly the two-thirds mark, with 20 of the 30 matches played. The race can be called a three-way race with two more in touching distance. The three top teams are leader Sparta Prague, with Teplice and Jablonec two points off the pace. Sparta just took the lead Saturday, 20th March from Teplice. Six points off the pace are Viktoria Plzn and Banik Ostrava. A couple of the teams battling for the title have never won a Czech or a Czechoslovakian title…FK Teplice, Jablonec (who really need to design a logo that doesn’t look like it was made from clip-art), and Viktoria Plzn. Teplice are from the spa-town of the same name close to the Ore Mountains and the German border about 75 kilometers (45 miles) north-west of Prague. FK Teplice have won the national cup twice, and are current holders, having won the competition last spring.

Like the lion’s share of top flight clubs in the Czech Republic, FK Teplice does not draw more than 5,000 per game…they averaged 3,847 per game last season, but this season they have seen a 70 percent gate increase to 6,792 per game after 7 home games… 2009-10 attendances (E-F-S site)}.

Many clubs in the Czech top flight have compact stadia smaller than 10,000-capacity (there are ten sub-10K grounds in the league this season). The three highest drawing clubs are course the two big Prague clubs, Slavia Prague and Sparta Prague, plus Banik Ostrava.

Slavia Prague’s Stadion Eden (aka Synot Tip Arena)-

On the strength of the new stadium, Slavia Prague had the highest turnstile count in 2009-10, drawing 11,971 per game. Sparta Prague drew second best in 09/10, at 8,642 per game. Baník Ostrava was third highest, at 7,822. Czech clubs can have widely divergent gate figures from year to year, depending on league form. For example, in recent years, Baník Ostrava have drawn as high as 15,000 per game (in their title-winning season of 2003-04), but they range more between 11,000 and 6,000 per game, with a 7,822 per game figure in 2009-10.
Banik Ostrava’s Bazaly-

Slovan Liberec and Sigma Olomouc can also pull in higher-than -6,000 gates in good years. The only other Czech club that has an above-average fan base is venerable club Bohemians 1905, of Prague, who had a near-winding up in 2005 and then endured two separate top flight relegations, but are now back in the Gambrinus Liga. In the interim, while relegated, the club somehow ended up in the position of selling their insignia to another Prague club, FC Strizkov Praha 9, who are now known as Bohemians Praha (Strizkov). So since Bohemians 1905 won promotion last year, there are now two clubs in the Czech top tier that have a green kangaroo as their crest and are called Bohemians…Bohemians 1905 and Bohemians Praha.
From the Voices In Football site, here is a write-up with photos, of the August, 2009 Champions League 2nd Round Qualifier between Slavia Prague and Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol, written by Damon Main, ‘A new sheriff in Town, Match Report- Slavia Prague 1, Sheriff Tiraspol 1′.

Thanks to, for location help, Footiemap- Czech Republic.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia,
2009-10 Gambrinus Liga page.
Thanks to, for some of the logos, European football Club Logos.
Thanks to, for the Prague map,
Thanks to the invaluable European Football Statistics site, for attendance figures, E-F-S, attendance figures.
Thanks to Demis of Netherlands, for the base map, Demis Web Map Server.
Thanks to Joaquin, who made a comment here earler this month, asking for Czech top flight map.
Thanks to Gruner83 at Flickr, ‘Generali Arena, Prague (Czech Republic)’.
Thanks to Banik Ostrava site, [panoramic photos of Bazaly]-Bazaly in Ostrava, panoramic photos.

March 20, 2010

2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, Second Round (32 teams).

Filed under: NCAA Men's Basketball — admin @ 8:44 am


2010 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament, First Round upsets…
Thursday, March 18, 2010-
#14 Ohio Bobcats over #3 Georgetown, by 14 points (!).
#13 Murray State Racers over Vanderbilt, by 1 point.
#11 Old Dominion Monarchs over #6 Notre Dame, by 1 point.
#11 Washington Huskies over #6 Marquette, by 2 points.
#10 Florida Gators over #7 BYU, by 7 points in 2nd OT.
#9 Northern Iowa Panthers over #8 UNLV, by 3 points.
#9 Wake Forest Demon Deacons over #8 Texas, by 1 point in OT.
Friday, March 19, 2010-
#12 Cornell Big Red over #5 Temple, by 13 points.
#10 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets over #7 Oklahoma State, by 5 points.
#10 Missouri Tigers over #7 Clemson, by 8 points.
That’s a lot of upsets. March Madness almost never ceases to surprise and amaze. I heard on the radio Friday that 4.8 milion people had entered brackets online at ESPN, and only 56 of those entries had picked the first 16 games on Thursday correctly. That’s awesome.
Now you can watch games, live online, free. Just go to ESPN/ College Basketball, Scoreboard… [ Note: sometimes the games get jammed, sometimes there is a nice feed, and sometimes you can only get one of the live games...I guess they haven't got the glitches out yet. ]

Thanks to CBS Sports…CBS BK.

March 17, 2010

2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, the 64 team field, with 2009 average attendances.

Filed under: NCAA Men's Basketball — admin @ 8:26 am


The 2010 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18. Three games will start just after noon, ET, and by midnight on Friday, all the first round games will have been played.

This map includes all 64 teams attendance figures from 2009 (the NCAA won’t release 2010 figures until later in the spring). Again, the Kentucky Wildcats boasted the nation’s highest attendance for college basketball, drawing 22,239 per game. Only this year, the Wildcats qualified for the tournament, and look like a genuine threat to win it all, propelled by stand-out play from the freshman and 2009-10 SEC player of the year John Wall, a 6′ 4″ point guard from Raleigh, NC.
At the bottom of the average attendance list of teams that qualified, again, are the Robert Morris Colonials, from suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Colonials have made it to the tournament 7 times, but have never progressed past the first round.
In terms of the longest gap between tournament appearances, this year it is the Houston Cougars, from the University of Houston in Texas. The Cougars return to the tournament after a 17-year absence.
Speaking of Texas, that state has the most teams in the 2010 tournament, with 7…Baylor, Houston, North Texas, Sam Houston State, Texas, Texas A&M, and the University of Texas-El Paso (aka UTEP). The list of states with representation in the tournament, {here}.
Thanks to the NCAA site, for attendance figures, ’2009 National College Basketball Attendance” [pdf].
CBS BK, CBS Sports-College Basketball page

March 15, 2010

2010 NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament (aka March Madness), the 65 teams.

Filed under: NCAA Men's Basketball — admin @ 7:25 am


Defending champions North Carolina topped the sizable list of traditional powers that didn’t receive spots in this year’s tournament. That list also includes Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, and all-time titles leader UCLA (11 titles, last in 1995). Arizona’s streak of 25 consecutive appearances was broken (although the NCAA had retroactively vacated their 1996 bid because of recruiting violations, so technically that streak was over a long time ago). The current longest-consecutive-appearances streak is now the 21 straight made by the Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas goes into this tournament as the top #1 seed. The other three #1 seeds are Duke, Kentucky, and Syracuse.

Play-in game Tuesday night is Winthrop versus Arkansas Pine-Bluff.

Brackets, NCAA College Basketball Brackets, at CBS

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Thanks to the Bracket-ville site, for a head-start on possible entrants (before the selection), BRACKETville.
Thanks to CBS Sports, CBS Sports College Basketball.

March 11, 2010

2009-10 UEFA Europa League, Round of 16.

Filed under: UEFA Cup / Europa League — admin @ 6:37 am


The 2009-10 Europa League’s Round of 16 will have it’s two-legged matches on Thursdays 11th and 18th March.
Fixtures, Europa League Round of 16 fixtures.
Europa League page at, League.
Still alive in the competition are 3 German clubs, 2 Belgian clubs, 2 English clubs, 2 French clubs, 2 Portuguese clubs, 2 Spanish clubs, and 1 club from Greece, Italy, and Russia.
Kudos to Roy Hodgson’s Fulham, who ousted de-facto reigning champions Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine. Unlike some English clubs in recent seasons (like Bolton and Aston Villa), Fulham have taken this second-echelon competition seriously. Their reward is a high profile draw versus Italian giants Juventus, who are one of 5 clubs in this round who have in the past won titles in Europe’s first-echelon competition, the European Cup (1956-1992)/UEFA Champions League (1993 to present). Those 5 are: Liverpool (5 titles, most recently in 2005), Juventus (2 titles, most recently in 1996), Benfica (2 titles, most recently in 1962), Marseille (in 1993), and Hamburg (in 1983).
As for winners of the Europa League’s predecessor, the UEFA Cup, 4 of the 16 clubs here have titles: Liverpool (3 titles, most recently in 2001), Juventus (3 titles, most recently in 1993), Anderlecht (in 1983), and Valencia (in 2004).

March 7, 2010

Poland: Ekstraklasa, 2009-10. With UEFA Euro 2012 venues.

Filed under: Football Stadia,Poland — admin @ 10:42 am

The Polish Ekstraklasa returned from it’s long, November to late February winter break on the last weekend of February. Leaders are Wisla Kraków, who won last season’s championship, and have won 6 of their 12 titles in the last decade. Wisla Kraków draw around 12,000 per game. Three other clubs have a shot at the 2009-10 title. They are the low-drawing (~6,000-per game) Legia Warszawa (who have 8 titles, their most recent from 2006); Lech Poznan, who are the current highest-drawing club in Poland, at around 16,000-per game, and who have won 5 titles (most recently in 1993); and Ruch Chorzów. Ruch Chorzów, from the Silesian Voivodeship (a voivideship is like a province), are joint all-time titles leaders in Poland. Ruch Chorzów have won 14 championships, but the club has not won the crown for 20 years now. Ruch Chorzów drew 8,900 per game last season. They share the most titles with another Silesian club, Górnik Zabrze, who were relegated last May. Górnik Zabrze have the second largest fan base in Poland behind Lech Poznan, and drew 14,600 last season. Górnick Zabrze are drawing 11,000 per game in the second division this season, but the club might not bounce right back to the top flight, as they are in 6th place there (2 or 3 clubs are relegated/promoted each season between the Ekstraklasa and the second division, which is called the Polish First League).

Poland’s Ekstraklasa, fixtures, results, and table, at, Ekstraklasa matches and table.


The long and drawn-out corruption scandal in Polish football is still casting a pall. The corruption began being exposed in 2005, and the investigations and arrests are still ongoing. The culture of corruption there was pretty widespread, in terms of referees being paid by club officials to control outcomes of games through favorable calls to one team, and of players being paid to throw games. Eight clubs have been implicated {see this}.
Here is short article from August, 2009, from The News from Poland site, ‘Two more netted in football corruption scandal’.

The roots of the Polish corruption scandal go back to the early 1990′s, centered on the-then 4th level club Amica Wronki, from the small (~12,000 population) town of Wronki in western Poland, which is 50 km. (30 miles) north-west of Poznan. A man who ran a local barbershop became associated with the club, helped create a merger between them and another club, and began managing the new club, using his contacts throughout the lower divisions…players, club officials, and referees…to manipulate outcomes. In other words, this individual who became known as The Barber “took care” of referees. Amica Wronki rose through the league pyramid, and won the Polish Cup title three years straight, from 1998 to 2000. To say that there were some very “friendly” calls that benefitted Amica Wronki when they won these three successive national cup titles would be understating it.
Meanwhile it wasn’t just Wronki that were benefitting from the bent refs. As the Barber’s corruption network became more widespread, clubs throughout Poland began relying on the Barber’s help, whether they were battling relegation or competing for the title. Amica Wronki had gained promotion to the top flight in 1995. The club wanted to distance themselves from the Barber, so they sacked him in in 1998, but his dire influence over the Polish game remained.
Finally, in 2005, someone’s conscience got the better of him. Piotr Dziurowicz, the 29-year old owner of then-top flight club GKS Katowice, decided to collaborate with the police. He had inherited ownership of the club from his recently deceased father. The latter, known in his time as the Magnate, had taught his son all he knew about fixing games. Piotr admitted to having “bought” several matches, but had come later to regret the hypocrisy and corruption of his position. Sting operations ensued, first resulting in two arrests…of referee Antoni F. (full names not allowed due to Polish law), who had accepted a 16,500-pound payoff to fix two league matches; and the arrest of Polish FA official Marian D., for collusion. Information from the suspects led to more arrests… over 70 arrests by May, 2007.
Here is an article from The, from 6 February, 2007, by Jonathon Wilson, “Backhanders, bullets, and bent refs as Polish football reaches a crisis’.
It’s interesting to note that when you go to the Wikipdeia page of Amica Wronki, not one iota of this is mentioned. Most of the above details were gleaned from an article in the May, 2007 issue of World Soccer, written by Dariusz Kurowski.
Amica Wronki merged with Lech Poznan after the 2005-06 season, and maintains an amateur squad. The Barber has been detained since 2006. By April, 2009, over 200 people had been detained in connection with the corruption scandal, and there were only 15 referees left in Poland who could still work top flight matches…see this, from ‘More arrests likely in Polish corruption probe,’(27 April, 2009, by Patryk Wasilewski and Gabriella Baczynska).
By September, 2009, over 230 people had been charged for being involved in martch fixing in Poland. Those charged are from a group comprising players, club officials, referees, and members of the Polish Football Federation (PZPN). See this, from a Belarussian blog called Polish Police and Administrative Corruption, ‘Footballers get prison in match fixing scandal’,(26 September, 2009).

Here are clubs who have recieved penalties and/ or relegations since the corruption investigation began in 2005. [Note- clubs who have regained promotion to the Ektraklasa, or who have remained there, are highlighted in bold...
Penalized clubs after the 2006-07 season...
Arka Gdynia-relegated to 2nd Level in 2006-07 as result of corruption scandal/ -5 points for 2007-08. {Since have regained promotion.}.
Gornick Leczna- relegated from 1st to 3rd Level in 2006-07/ -6 point for 2007-08.
Gornick Polkowice- relegated from 2nd to 4th Level/ 70,000 zloty penalty [100,000 zloty=around 17,000 pounds]/ -6 points for 2007-08.
Ostrowiec Swietokryzynski- relegated from 2nd to 3rd Level in 2006-07/ -6 points for 2007-08.
Penalized clubs after the 2007-08 season…
Zaglebie Sosnowiec- after 2007-08, were relegated from 1st Level to 3rd Level (one relegation by finish, plus one relegtion as punishment for corruption).
Korona Kielce- after 2007-08, were relegated to 2nd Level for corruption. {Since have regained promotion.}
Zaglebie Lubin- *Polish champion in 2006-07.- after 2007-08, were relegated to 2nd Level for corruption.
Club penalized after 2008-09 season…
Jagellonia Bilaystock- started 2009-10 season at -10 points/ fined 300,000 zloty.

I have included a list of all-time champions, but take it with a grain of salt, because there is no way you are going to get me to believe that the widespread corruption in Polish top flight football only began in the mid 1990′s, and ended around 2007. And even if it did only begin with the Barber, in the mid-1990′s, in Wronki, that still ends up smearing around 11 or 12 seasons of Polish football at the very least (when you factor in the fact that Amica Wronki got to the first division in 1995, and serious investigations into the corruption scandal began in 2006). This basically calls into question, at minimum, the legitimacy of all those titles won betweeen 1995-96 to 2006-07. In fact, one of the champions during this time period, Zaglebie Lubin in 2007, were caught for corruption, and penalized one season after their title.
Let’s focus on the present, and the future, of Polish football. And since that immediate future includes a co-hosting with Ukraine of the UEFA Euro 2012 competition, my hope is that the glare of the media spotlight will help to prevent a return to corruption in professional Polish football.

Below are the 4 Polish venues for the UEFA Euro 2012 competition, to be co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
The first venue shown (Warsaw) will become the primary home of the Polish national football team, once the Euro 2012 competition is finished. The other three venues, post-Euro 2012, will become the homes of three different Polish clubs…Lechia Gdansk, Lech Poznan, and Slask Wroclaw.

Here is the site connected with the construction of the Polish National Stadium, which in Polish is called Stadion Narodowy, Stadion Narodowy w Warszawie .
‘Progress of works at the National Stadium- pictures from 1st March’



Pitch, ‘Stadium Spotlight: Gdansk, Euro 2012′, by Tom Dunmore.


Poznan…, ‘Euro 2012 stadiums- Lech Poznan’.



At , thread: ‘Stadiums, Wroclaw (Slask)’, submitted by Rozsbisurmaniony on Dec, 1, 2009, Wroclaw stadium: architectural renderings, photos, and info.


From the Voices In Football site, here is a nice article illustrated with photographs, of a trip to a Lower Silesian/Upper Silesian derby between Slask Wroclaw and Ruch Chornów, the match being held in Wroclaw [no date given on this, but I believe this is from December, 2009, by Damon Main]… ‘Slask Wroclaw v Ruch Chornów’.


Thanks to the contributors to the pages at and
Ekstraklasa page at ;
Ekstraklasa w pilce noznej.
Thanks to World Soccer magazine World
Thanks to E-F-S site, for attendance figures

Thanks to Demis World Map Server, Demis World Map Server.

Thanks to, for the aerial photo of the Poznán Stadion construction [transl.].

March 4, 2010

England: 2009-10 FA Cup, Sixth Round Proper.

Filed under: 2009-10 FA Cup — admin @ 11:53 am

FA cup news, fixtures, results at , FA Cup news.

Just one of the Big 4 (Chelsea) is still alive in the Sixth Round of the 2009-10 FA Cup. And with Aston Villa and Tottenham still standing, represented are two of the three clubs trying to gate-crash the Big 4. Three other clubs here are from the category of Premier League clubs in good form…Fulham, Birmingham City, and Stoke City.
That leaves two unlikely members of this group of 8…2nd Level, and relegation-threatened Reading; and the-just-entered-into-administration Portsmouth, whose very existence has been under threat of late. Portsmouth, of course, were the winners of this competition just two seasons ago, and their overspending on salaries of players who helped them win the 2007-08 FA Cup is part of the reason the club is now in such a mess. Nevertheless, Pompey is but one win away from a return trip to Wembley Stadium, where the two Semi-Finals matches that make up the following round will be played.
On the map for this round, I have added profiles, which include photos of 2009-10 home and away jerseys. Thanks to these sites for the photos… The Onion . UK Soccer . Subside Sports .

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