U.S. Soccer

Klinsmann Calls 26 Players for Decisive World Cup Qualifiers

CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2016) – U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has named 26 players to the roster that will train in advance of the decisive World Cup qualifiers of the Semifinal Round. The team begins gathering Sunday in Jacksonville.

The U.S. travels first to face St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2 in (3:30 p.m. ET - beIN SPORT). Four days later, the MNT closes out Group C action against Trinidad & Tobago (8 p.m. ET – FS1, UniMas) [TICKETS].

ALL TO PLAY FOR

Heading into the last two matches, the United States sits in second place in the group on seven points, three behind T&T and one ahead of Guatemala. The MNT has its destiny in its own hands, since two wins would guarantee a spot in the Hexagonal. However, the only way the U.S. can qualify on Matchday 5 is beating St. Vincent AND Trinidad winning at home against Guatemala. Any other combination means that the matches on Sept. 6 will determine which two teams advance out of the group [STANDINGS & SCENARIOS].

CONSISTENCY FROM COPA AMERICA

After taking fourth place in Copa America Centenario this past June – tying the USA’s best finish in the tournament - Klinsmann has kept most of the group together, recalling 19 of the 23 players from the roster.

“We definitely think that the group that got fourth in the Copa America deserves a certain priority going on to the next World Cup qualifiers because they did tremendously well in the Copa America,” Klinsmann said. “It was an exciting tournament with great games. The whole group learned a lot, playing teams like Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina. This is a big stage, and they deserve to come back and confirm what they did in the tournament in these upcoming, very important World Cup qualifiers. We are preparing for these two games very seriously, with a lot of urgency because we want to finish off our group in first place if possible, and this group of players gets the chance to do that.”

STRONG STRIKE FORCE

Despite the absence of Clint Dempsey due to health concerns and Gyasi Zardes due to injury, the U.S. attacking corps enters in fine form. Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore is back with a vengeance, tallying five goals in his last six matches. Bobby Wood began his Bundesliga career at Hamburg by scoring the team’s opening goal of the campaign. San Jose captain Chris Wondolowski has recorded nine goals in 21 matches, while Jordan Morris is tied at the top of Seattle Sounders FC strikers with eight goals.

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MNT Aug 28, 2016

Klinsmann Convoca a 26 Jugadores para Partidos Decisivos de la Eliminatoria Mundialista

CHICAGO (28 de agosto, 2016) -- El director técnico de la Selección Masculina de Estados Unidos Jurgen Klinsmann convocó a 26 jugadores a la nómina que entrenará antes de los importantes partidos de la Ronda Semifinal de la eliminatoria mundialista. El equipo empieza a reunirse el domingo en Jacksonville.

EE.UU. primero viajará a enfrentarse a San Vicente y las Granadinas el 2 de septiembre (3:30 p.m. ET; beIN SPORTS). Cuatro días después, la U.S. MNT cierra el Grupo C contra Trinidad y Tobago (8 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMás) [BOLETOS].

A JUGAR POR TODO
Al iniciar los últimos dos partidos, Estados Unidos se encuentra en el segundo lugar del grupo con siete puntos, tres menos que Trinidad y Tobago y uno más que Guatemala. La U.S. MNT maneja su propio destino, ya que dos victorias garantizarían un puesto en la fase Hexagonal. Sin embargo, la única manera que EE.UU. pueda clasificar en el Día de Partidos 5 es ganarle a San Vicente y que Trinidad y Tobago gane en casa contra Guatemala. Cualquiera otra combinación significa que los partidos el 6 de septiembre determinarán cuales dos equipos avanzarán fuera del grupo.

CONSISTENCIA DE LA COPA AMÉRICA
Después de tomar el cuarto lugar en la Copa América Centenario en junio -- empatando el mejor puesto de EE.UU. en el torneo -- Klinsmann ha mantenido la mayoría del grupo, convocando a 19 de los 23 jugadores de ésa nómina.

"Definitivamente pensamos que ese grupo que terminó en cuarto lugar en la Copa América merece cierta prioridad al enfrentar los próximos partidos de eliminatoria mundialista porque hicieron muy bien en la Copa América," dijo Klinsmann. "Fue un torneo emocionante con buenos partidos. Todo el grupo aprendió mucho jugando contra equipos como Colombia, Ecuador y Argentina. Éste es un escenario grande y merecen regresar y confirmar lo que hicieron en el torneo en estos próximos, y muy importantes partidos de eliminatoria. Estamos preparando para estos dos partidos muy seriamente y con mucha urgencia porque queremos terminar en primer lugar del grupo si es posible, y este grupo de jugadores tiene la oportunidad de hacer eso."

FUERZA EN EL ATAQUE
A pesar de la ausencia de Clint Dempsey debido a razones de salud y de Gyasi Zardes debido a una lesión, el cuerpo de ataque de EE.UU. llega en buena forma. El delantero del Toronto FC Jozy Altidore regresó arrasando, anotando cinco goles en sus últimos seis partidos. Bobby Wood empezó su carrera en la Bundesliga con el Hamburgo anotando el primer gol del equipo de la temporada. El capitán de San José Chris Wondolowski lleva nueve goles en 21 partidos, mientras que Jordan Morris está empatado en la cima de la lista de goleadores del Seattle Sounders FC con ocho tantos.

SALTANDO POR LAS ISLAS
Jugando contra naciones que son islas en su casa presenta más retos que lo que aparenta. Además de enfrentar a rivales determinados, hay cuestiones de viaje, clima, condiciones de campo y otras idiosincrasias que combinan para que obtener resultados sean una verdadera prueba. En la eliminatoria para las Copas Mundiales de la FIFA 2002 y 2014, partidos contra equipos del Caribe fueron hasta la raya y casi le costaron a EE.UU. un puesto en la ronda final. Para la U.S. MNT, el viaje a San Vicente empieza con varios cambios de avión. Debido a que el tamaño de la pista de aterrizaje en la isla no está lo suficientemente grande para que puedan aterrizar jets, el equipo aterrizará en Barbados y cambiará a una serie de 19 avionetas para completar el viaje. Se ocupará un avión solamente para el equipaje del equipo, la mayoría del cual se quedará en Jacksonville. El Estadio Arnos Vale de 11,000 asientos - mejor conocido como los Playing Fields - albergará el partido. Construido en 1981 como sede para el cricket, es la casa del Winward Islands Cricket Team. El estadio no tiene luces reflectoras, y de allí proviene el inicio temprano.

APOYO DE LOCAL EN JACKSONVILLE
EverBank Field y los aficionados en Jacksonville han demostrado ser excelentes anfitriones para la U.S. MNT y el equipo ha respondido de igual manera. Con un apoyo impresionante y una superficie de juego excepcional, EE.UU. ha obtenido dos victorias y anotado siete goles, cediendo solamente dos goles. En el 2012, un triplete de Landon Donovan y goles de Michael Bradley y Jermaine Jones impulsaron a EE.UU. a una victoria de 5-1 contra Escocia. En el último partido de despedida antes de la Copa Mundial de la FIFA 2014, Altidore anotó dos en la victoria de 2-1 contra Nigeria. En general, EE.UU. tiene un registro de 4-0-0 en Jacksonville que data desde 1997.

NÓMINA DE ESTADOS UNIDOS POR POSICIÓN:
ARQUEROS (3): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough), Ethan Horvath (Molde FC), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
DEFENSAS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha BSC), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar González (Pachuca), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), Caleb Stanko (FC Vaduz), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
DELANTEROS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg SV)

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Aug 28, 2016

Klinsmann Q&A: "Approach These Games with a lot of Urgency."

Ahead of the decisive World Cup qualifiers against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2, and four days later home to Trinidad & Tobago, U.S. MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann discusses why the roster represents a continuation of Copa America and the approach to these two matches.

ussoccer.com: The roster looks a lot like the group that finished in fourth place in Copa America this summer. Are you looking to build on the success and performances from this summer?
Jurgen Klinsmann:
“We definitely think that the group that got fourth in the Copa America deserves a certain priority going on to the next World Cup qualifiers because they did tremendously well in the Copa America. It was an exciting tournament with great games. The whole group learned a lot, playing teams like Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina. This is a big stage, and they deserve to come back and confirm what they did in the tournament in these upcoming, very important World Cup qualifiers. We are preparing for these two games very seriously, with a lot of urgency because we want to finish off our group in first place if possible, and this group of players gets the chance to do that.”

ussoccer.com: The job of qualifying for the final round isn’t finished, and we could be in a pressure situation for the last game against Trinidad. What is the message to the group going into this camp?
JK: “Our message for players coming into this camp for the two World Cup qualifiers is very clear: approach it with a lot of urgency. It’s not easy to go into those Caribbean countries and get the results, so it’s not going to be easy in St. Vincent on a very difficult field with heat and whatever else to get the goals as quickly as possible. We’ve got to be patient, but we have to play with urgency and determination in our approach. That’s how we are going to go and prepare for that game. Depending on the result between Trinidad & Tobago and Guatemala, we will see if that takes us to a decisive game in Jacksonville against Trinidad & Tobago. We love to play in Jacksonville. Jacksonville is a very good place for the senior National Team because the games that we’ve played there before, we’ve always had tremendous support and a great crowd behind us - very loud, enthusiastic and emotional. So it will be fun to be back in Jacksonville.”

ussoccer.com: You have called in 27 players for the camp, which includes some younger faces in the larger pool. What are the reasons for having this bigger group?
JK: “Bringing in a little bit of a bigger group gives us opportunity, depending on what happens in the first game and also paralleled in the Trinidad & Tobago against Guatemala game, that we might be able to change certain things for the second game, but the priority is the group that played in Copa America. They need to get the job done in St. Vincent, and then see how we can modify little things. It also gives us a chance during a couple of days to work with a couple extra guys - younger guys - that we’ve had an eye on since quite a while, like Caleb Stanko or Rubio Rubin. They are players that are knocking at the door and are doing well in their club environment, so that’s nice to see them. Then we have the situation with the suspended players - Michael Bradley and Michael Orozco - and they are not eligible for the first game. Jermaine Jones is still struggling with his knee injury, so we will take it one day at a time with him. So having a couple extra guys is a good thing. We are going to go with only 23 players down to St. Vincent, so a few will stay behind. Hopefully we get the job done down there and then we can adjust for the second game.”

ussoccer.com: With the European seasons just getting underway and MLS and Liga MX in full swing, will that inform decisions about the rosters for these two games?
JK: “Having Liga MX and the MLS running strong in the middle of their seasons and the European-based players just starting, it’s always tricky for some players because they are not in a full run yet, but it’s always something we’ve dealt with in the past. Once players come into the National Team environment, they adjust and know how important World Cup Qualifying is and they’re going to step it up. I’m not worried about the Europeans being behind a little bit.”

ussoccer.com: We are going back to Jacksonville, which has shown great support for the National Team. What has your experience been like in Jacksonville, and how important will that support be on Sept. 6 against Trinidad?
JK: “We are thrilled to be back in Jacksonville because Jacksonville treats us super. If you look back on the past couple of years, we had two friendlies there - one against Scotland and a sendoff game for the 2014 World Cup against Nigeria with a win and a great crowd. We know that we are in good hands as Jacksonville.”

ussoccer.com: A number of MNT strikers are finding the back of the net recently. How important is it to have your strikers rounding into form coming into this camp?
JK: “What makes us optimistic going into these qualifiers is watching our strikers scoring goals. Clint Dempsey has been back scoring and we wanted to have him here, but of course his health comes first. We’re thinking of Clint and hoping that he will be okay. With our other forwards, Jozy is back scoring. Jordan Morris is doing really well. Then we’ve had the European-based players Bobby Wood and Rubio Rubin starting their season right now. It looks good. Wondolowski is scoring as well, and Gyasi Zardes is also, so that’s a good thing for us. We know our strikers are hungry for goals, and hopefully they can start with that right away in St. Vincent.”

ussoccer.com: Once again there is a situation coming into September matches where several players are still being impacted by the transfer window, either with late moves or their future still in the balance. Does that have an effect when they come into camp?

JK: “Every time you go into a National Team qualifying window in early September is a bit tricky because FIFA has that rule to close the transfer window on August 31st. Player who are not transferred before August 31st, or maybe are in jeopardy on not knowing where to go, bring that kind of atmosphere into the National Team environment. So this is not ideal. We had this in the past where we had transfers done at the last moment and it was real difficult for players to focus on what is really important, meaning the game. So hopefully our players will be all set as quickly as possible over the next couple of days, knowing where their future takes them, we can focus fully on the World Cup qualifiers.”

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MNT Aug 28, 2016

USA Leaning on Copa America Tested Roster to Complete Semifinal Round Qualifying

As the MNT approaches its final set of matches in the Semifinal Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, the message is pretty clear: There’s all to play for when it comes to getting the USA to CONCACAF’s Final Round of World Cup Qualifying, better known as “The Hex”.

In naming his roster for the Sept. 2 match at St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Sept. 6 home game against Trinidad & Tobago [TICKETS], MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is leaning heavily on players that took part in Copa America Centenario to get the qualifying job done, with 20 of the 27-man roster having helped the U.S. to a fourth-place finish at the tournament in June.

“We definitely think that the group that got fourth in the Copa America deserves a certain priority going on to the next World Cup qualifiers because they did tremendously well in the Copa America,” Klinsmann told ussoccer.com. “It was an exciting tournament with great games. The whole group learned a lot, playing teams like Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina. This is a big stage, and they deserve to come back and confirm what they did in the tournament in these upcoming, very important World Cup qualifiers. We are preparing for these two games very seriously, with a lot of urgency because we want to finish off our group in first place if possible, and this group of players gets the chance to do that.”

With the top two teams in each of CONCACAF’s three Semifinal Round World Cup Qualifying groups advancing to “The Hex”, the U.S., who sits in second place in Group C, is well-placed to move through to the final round which kicks off in November. Simply put, a win by the MNT at St. Vincent on Friday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET – beIN Sports) would point all eyes to Trinidad’s home match against Guatemala later that night. A victory by the Soca Warriors would give both T&T and the United States safe passage to “The Hex” and make next Tuesday’s clash in Jacksonville a battle for first place in the group.

A draw or Guatemala win in Port of Spain on Friday would make things much tighter, with all three teams playing for two spots in the final round next Tuesday.

CONCACAF Semifinal Round World Cup Qualifying - Group C

Team

GP

W

L

D

Pts.

GF

GA

GD

Trinidad & Tobago

4

3

0

1

10

11

3

+8

USA

4

2

1

1

7

10

3

+7

Guatemala

4

2

2

0

6

7

6

+1

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

4

0

4

0

0

3

19

-16

With the different scenarios and the suspensions of midfielder Michael Bradley and defender Michael Orozco for Friday’s match at St. Vincent in mind, Klinsmann elected to bring a larger-than-normal group for this camp.

“Bringing in a little bit of a bigger group gives us opportunity, depending on what happens in the first game and also paralleled in the Trinidad & Tobago against Guatemala game, that we might be able to change certain things for the second game, but the priority is the group that played in Copa America,” he said.”

“They need to get the job done in St. Vincent, and then see how we can modify little things. It also gives us a chance during a couple of days to work with a couple extra guys - younger guys - that we’ve had an eye on since quite a while, like Caleb Stanko or Rubio Rubin. They are players that are knocking at the door and are doing well in their club environment, so that’s nice to see them. Then we have the situation with the suspended players - Michael Bradley and Michael Orozco - and they are not eligible for the first game. Jermaine Jones is still struggling with his knee injury, so we will take it one day at a time with him. So having a couple extra guys is a good thing. We are going to go with only 23 players down to St. Vincent, so a few will stay behind. Hopefully we get the job done down there and then we can adjust for the second game.”

The U.S. plays the return fixture against a St. Vincent side that it easily dispatched with a 6-1 win last November in St. Louis and while Vincy Heat have lost all four matches in the semifinal round so far, the MNT is all too familiar with the rigors of World Cup Qualifying matches in the Caribbean.


Jordan Morris

Bobby Wood

Jozy Altidore

Chris Wondolowski

Facing elimination from 2002 World Cup Qualifying in the team’s last semifinal round game at Barbados, the U.S. contended with wet and patchy field conditions and didn’t find the back of the net until Clint Mathis gave the U.S. a lead in the 63rd minute in what ended up being a 4-0 rout in Waterford. More recently, humidity combined with a muddy pitch in Antigua & Barbuda saw the MNT need a 90th minute header from Eddie Johnson to earn a 2-1 win away to the Benna Boys during the semifinal round in 2012.

This time around, the trip to St. Vincent will provide its own unique challenges. Because of the small size of the airport in the Caribbean nation, when the team travels from Jacksonville to Kingstown on Wednesday, it will first make a pit stop in the nearby Caribbean island of Barbados. From there, the team will take three propeller planes into Kingstown.

 Playing St. Vincent at Arnos Vale Stadium provides more challenges. An 18,000 seat venue, the ground primarily serves as a cricket stadium. Because there are no lights, the game kicks off in the sweltering and humid mid-afternoon hours on the island.

“Our message for players coming into this camp for the two World Cup qualifiers is very clear: approach it with a lot of urgency,” said Klinsmann. “It’s not easy to go into those Caribbean countries and get the results, so it’s not going to be easy in St. Vincent on a very difficult field with heat and whatever else to get the goals as quickly as possible. We’ve got to be patient, but we have to play with urgency and determination in our approach. That’s how we are going to go and prepare for that game.”

Originally slated to be part of this camp, the MNT will have to do without Clint Dempsey, with the veteran forward having to undergo medical evaluations for an irregular heartbeat.

“Clint Dempsey has been back scoring and we wanted to have him here, but of course his health comes first,” said Klinsmann. “We’re thinking of Clint and hoping that he will be okay.”

Even without Dempsey, Klinsmann has plenty to feel good about regarding the form of the strikers he has summoned. Coming back from a hamstring injury that saw him miss out on Copa America Centenario, Jozy Altidore has bagged five goals and an assist in his last seven matches for Toronto FC, while Bobby Wood tallied his first goal for Hamburg in the club’s season opening 1-1 draw with Ingolstadt on Saturday.

“What makes us optimistic going into these qualifiers is watching our strikers scoring goals,” said the MNT manager. “With our other forwards, Jozy is back scoring. Jordan Morris is doing really well. Then we’ve had the European-based players Bobby Wood and Rubio Rubin starting their season right now. It looks good. Chris Wondolowski is scoring as well, and Gyasi Zardes is also, so that’s a good thing for us. We know our strikers are hungry for goals, and hopefully they can start with that right away in St. Vincent.”

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MNT Aug 28, 2016

Semifinal Round Situation: Two to Go, And All to Play For

Going into the final two matches of the Semifinal Round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, there is still a lot very much up in the air. Sitting in second place with seven points, the USA’s place in the final round still must be secured. Should the MNT advance, the blue print for the Hexagonal has already been set, and it could start off in massive fashion. Below is an explanation of where we are, where we can go, and what happens after.

CONCACAF Semifinal Round World Cup Qualifying - Group C

Team

GP

W

L

D

Pts.

GF

GA

GD

Trinidad & Tobago

4

3

0

1

10

11

3

+8

USA

4

2

1

1

7

10

3

+7

Guatemala

4

2

2

0

6

7

6

+1

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

4

0

4

0

0

3

19

-16

The top two teams from the group will move on to the “Hex” that begins in November. In looking at the table, three of the four countries are still alive: Trinidad & Tobago, the USA and Guatemala.  As a reminder the tiebreakers are as follows:

Goal Differential

Goals For

Here is the remaining schedule:

Sept. 2, 2016

St. Vincent & The Grenadines vs. United States

 

Trinidad & Tobago vs. Guatemala

Sept. 6, 2016

United States vs. Trinidad & Tobago

 

Guatemala vs. St. Vincent & The Grenadines

What to watch for on Sept. 2

If the United States beats St. Vincent AND Trinidad beats Guatemala on Matchday Five, then both will have qualified. T&T needs only a point from their home match to secure advancement. Any other combination of results would leave the future unsettled for all three teams until the final day.

Now, if the MNT and T&T both win and are through to the Hexagonal, the next fight is for first place in the group. Why does that matter? We’ll get to that.

If those results happen, Trinidad will be in first with 13 points and the United States in second with 10 points. This would mean that only a U.S. victory on Matchday Six at home would give it a chance to take top spot in the group. As you see above, Trinidad also currently holds the advantage in goal differential (+1) and goals scored (+1). So, keep an eye on not only the results but the scorelines!

If the U.S. beats St. Vincent and Trinidad ties Guatemala on Sept. 2, a USA victory at home against T&T would guarantee the MNT first place.

If the U.S. beats St. Vincent and Guatemala beats Trinidad, that would leave both T&T and the USA with 10 points and Guatemala with nine. In that case, things get really, really interesting…

What to watch for on Sept. 6

Obviously it all depends on the results from MatchDay Five. For the Guatemalans, a victory away in Port of Spain is vital to substantially keeping their hopes alive, especially with their final match at home against St. Vincent. Two wins in two games gets the job done.

Same goes for the United States. Two wins equals advancement. If the USA beats St. Vincent and ties Trinidad, it can finish no less than tied on points for second place, which then triggers the tie breakers.

Regardless of the specific circumstance, the game in Jacksonville will be – how do you say … HUGE!

Let’s get back to why. The schedule matrix for the six teams competing in the Hex has already been established. The random draw took place July 8 in Miami.

Possible USA Hex Schedule

Date

USA as C1

USA as C2

Nov. 11, 2016

vs. Mexico

vs. B1

Nov. 15, 2016

at B1

at A2

March 24, 2017

vs. A2

vs. B2

March 28, 2017

at B2

vs. Mexico

June 9, 2017

vs. C2

at C1

June 13, 2017

at Mexico

at B1

Sept. 1, 2017

vs. B1

vs. A2

Sept. 5, 2017

at A2

at B2

Oct. 6, 2017

vs. B2

at Mexico

Oct. 10, 2017

at C2

vs. C1

If the MNT finishes in first place in the group, they enter the final round as C1. And wouldn’t you know which team C1 hosts in the opening game? Think #DosaCero. That’s right – the United States would host Mexico on Nov. 11 at a stadium to be … ahem … determined. Just as intriguing, with Costa Rica in pole position in Group B, the second match for Team 1 would most likely be away to Los Ticos four days later. As it turns out, it doesn’t snow in Costa Rica in November (or any time, for that matter).

Should the U.S. finish in second place, they become C2 and would still be at home. And here comes that Costa Rica game again! The other intriguing part of the C2 schedule is back-to-back home games for Matchdays 3-4, and back-to-back away games for Matchdays 5-6 and 8-9.

So you see, where you finish in the semifinal round matters a great deal on the roadmap to Russia. But to be there, you’ve got to get there, making these next two matches absolutely critical. While it may have seemed September was a sleepy time, the MNT needs your support now more than ever.

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MNT Aug 28, 2016
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