By Martin Samuel for the Daily Mail
No rest for the timid. The hope that England could qualify for the round of 16, win the group with a game to spare, and allow players a breather before the knock-out round commenced, evaporated north of Doha with a performance as tame and lame as Monday’s win over Iran was boldly impressive.
Here, England reverted to this year’s type. They were slow, cautious and made to look ordinary by a United States team that was bright and energised but, again, failed to win.
Gregg Berhalter’s players had the best chances and the best of the game but have scored just once in two matches and will go out if they fail to beat Iran next week.
United States largely outplayed England in their World Cup clash as Harry Kane looks on after missing a late chance to score
Furious England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford barks orders at his defence on a frustrating night for the Three Lions in Qatar
With England lacking creativity, there was surprise that Manchester City star Phil Foden (centre) was not called upon
England were poor but know they just have to avoid a bad defeat by Wales in their final group game to progress
England remain in charge of the group but are vulnerable to a defeat in a final match with Wales in which it is feared form could go out of the window, trumped by passion, emotion and the nagging suspicion Gareth Bale has a date with destiny.
Lose and, if the other game has a winner, England are relegated to second spot in the group and in all likelihood a second round meeting with Holland, who should top Group A with a win over Qatar.
And while defeat would still count as a huge shock – Wales have been very poor in this tournament so far – the confidence that followed England’s opener drained from those invested in Gareth Southgate’s team as it laboured to gain a foothold in this match.
Bright starts in each half soon evaporated and when Southgate made his first changes after 69 minutes, one of them was to introduce Jordan Henderson for Jude Bellingham in the heart of midfield. The young man, a star of the group opener, was struggling here and his coach clearly wanted the Liverpool captain’s experience to make sure the damage was limited to two points dropped, not three.
Christian Pulisic (10) had the best chance of the game for the USA, rattling the crossbar with a rising first half effort in Al Khor
Weston McKennie reacts after missing an excellent chance to fire USA in front having fired a half-volley over the crossbar
England (4-3-3): Pickford, Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Bellingham (Henderson 68), Rice, Saka (Rashford 77), Mount, Sterling (Grealish 68), Kane.
Subs not used: Walker, Pope, Phillips, Dier, Coady, Alexander-Arnold, Foden, White, Ramsdale, Wilson, Gallagher.
USA (4-3-3): Turner, Dest (Moore 77), Zimmerman, Ream, Robinson, McKennie (Aaronson 77), Adams, Musah, Weah (Reyna 83), Wright (Sargent 83), Pulisic.
Subs not used: Reyna, Ferreira, Horvath, De la Torre, Long, Morris, Roldan, Carter-Vickers, Yedlin, Acosta, Johnson, Scally.
Jack Grealish came on for Raheem Sterling and immediately looked livelier on the flank, but there is no escaping that this was a dreadfully below par performance, a slap in the face after the promise of game one.
England could have won it in injury time when Harry Kane misdirected a header from a Luke Shaw free-kick but, had it gone in, the win would hardly have been merited.
With the possible exception of Harry Maguire and John Stones – Maguire has now repelled with more headers than any player in the tournament – nobody looked entirely comfortable. Even goalkeeper Jordan Pickford flapped at a second-half corner from Christian Pulisic, in totally unnecessary fashion.
Southgate will see silver linings, as managers do, and one was certainly the steadfast displays of the centre-backs, who largely saw off the fear England would concede late and lose.
Yet was this the work of potential champions, given what we have seen of France, Spain and Brazil? No, it was not.
It was a sobering experience, and the idea that England could coast into the last 16, rested, fresh and buoyant, proved a fanciful one. It’s a nail biter next Tuesday and little that England did here will have convinced Wales they are not in with more than a puncher’s chance of – if not qualifying, because they would need to win 4-0 – certainly messing with England’s long term prospects.
England came under bombardment for much of the game but excellent defending from Harry Maguire (6) kept USA at bay
Mason Mount had England’s best opportunity to score in the first half but his low shot on goal was well saved by Matt Turner
Kane at times had to play as a defender for England as he robs Pulisic of the ball inside the Three Lions’ penalty box
A draw was the fair result but the United States will be far happier with their performance – graphic from Sofascore
It is three World Cup meetings for these nations now and for all the presumption of superiors and inferiors, football-playing aristocrats versus soccer ball upstarts, England are yet to win. P3 W0 D2 L1 F1 A2, that is England’s record against the United States. Not the best, is it? And while the modern United States may still be considered underdogs against the best sides in Europe that significantly understates their abilities.
They’re awkward. Hard running, high pressing, no little danger, too. The days when the best American players could only get a game at Coventry, or Luton, have long passed. These days, they are as likely to play in the Champions League with Chelsea, or Borussia Dortmund, and it showed.
England started well, dominated the early exchanges, but after 15 minutes began to lose the midfield and didn’t truly get it back for the rest of the match.
Berhalter’s side hit the bar, forced the odd save from Pickford and had good chances that missed the target. On points, they were the better team. England only came back into it late in each half. It was a sobering experience after the six-goal euphoria of the win over Iran, but the United States are a better side no matter what the form line of the two non-European teams in Group B suggests.
Jude Bellingham struggled to make an impact in England’s midfield and was substituted during the second half
Southgate would have been far from happy with his side’s poor performance following on from a 6-2 victory over Iran
Whereas Iran sat back, the States got on the front foot, allowing England no time on the ball and threatening down the flanks. It looked promising after nine minutes when Bellingham slipped a pass through to Bukayo Saka, who cut the ball back to Kane. Walker Zimmerman – in the minority of American players, forging a career in Major League Soccer with Nashville SC – did well to block, when England’s captain looked poised to score his first goal of the tournament.
And that was it, for around 36 minutes, until a fabulous run by Luke Shaw put in Saka who shot over from close range. A minute later, Mason Mount had a shot tipped round by Matt Turner in America’s goal. Between those episodes it was USA all the way.
As crummy sports chants go, one of America’s favourites – the win song – ranks among the worst. ‘We believe that we will win,’ chorus the fans. Really, and who the hell are you exactly, think the rest of the stadium. It’s vague, generic, unspecific and to English ears inspired little bar derision. The team, however, was made of sterner stuff.
The supporters may espouse chuckle-headed optimism but the players tried to do something concrete instead. From the 17th minute, when Haji Wright got in front of Maguire and headed just wide, to the 43rd when an attempted header from Christian Pulisic was misjudged, came off his shoulder but still skirted Pickford’s goal, the USA were a threat.
Kane and McKennie battle for the ball during England’s record 12th goalless draw at the World Cup finals
After an impressive display, Sergino Dest (2) was forced off injured late on for the United States in the Group B encounter
They had dominated Wales in their first group game and seized the narrative here, too. Players who looked so assured against Iran, like Bellingham and Declan Rice, were stretched. Others, like Kieran Trippier, were diving in, anxiously, to extinguish fires.
In the 25th minute, a lovely cross from the right by Timothy Weah was met on the half volley by Weston McKennie, of Juventus. From the upper tiers the pitch looked lush but some of the technical failings suggested it had its own challenges and McKennie got under the ball and sent it soaring over the bar.
Just three minutes later a shot by Yunus Musah – the one that got away, having represented England at age group level for four years while playing his football at Arsenal – had the sting removed from it by Rice and proved an easy collect for Pickford. The next attack brought more of a challenge, Pickford nowhere as a left foot shot from Pulisic ricocheted off the bar. England were pushed ever deeper into their own half.
The excellent Sergino Dest of AC Milan then cut inside from the right flank, only for his shot to be deflected over and, while England started the second-half better, a wonderful tackle by Leeds’ Tyler Adams on Saka, encapsulated the difference in energy levels between the teams, England once again reverting to a tepid ponderousness when challenged. Do Southgate’s team believe that they could win? They need to start playing like it, then.
Follow Sportsmail’s live blog for the World Cup Group B clash between England and USA.
USA have battled to a credible draw, and will be in the last 16 if they beat Iran next week. England only need to avoid a 4-0 defeat to progress to the last 16 – but they won’t escape criticism too easily after that poor display.
90+3min: Late chance for England! Luke Shaw whips in a late ball into the box, but Kane is unable to steer his header on target.
90+3min: Still don’t think we have had a yellow card in this game as Musah brings down Grealish out wide on the left for England. The Three Lions ending the game on the attack.
90+1min: Into four added minutes and England win a corner. Their first in… a long, long time.
Maguire wins the header but his nodded effort into the ground has all the power sucked out of it and allows Turner to collect.
On a night when England have lacked creativity, Southgate has still not turned to Phil Foden who with his head resting on his hand can only look on from the bench.
88min: Not that this game is over yet – far from it. But a point is far from a bad result for England. Four points with their current goal difference will probably be enough to get them through, as Rashford’s curling shot from 25 yards out is comfortably saved by Matt Turner.
85min: USA just look like they still have more confidence on the ball. The passing has been quicker and shaper, while when England get the ball there is a hesitation and a lack of tempo. It’s as if Gareth Southgate’s side have been told to play with a US version of a football – if you catch my drift.
83min: A couple more subs for the US as Gio Reyna is now unleashed after replacing Weah while Josh Sargent is on for Haji Wright.
81min: Into the final 10 minutes, and while England have largely weathered that earlier USA storm, you can still only see one team winning this game and it’s not Gareth Southgate’s side. They look like they could play all night and not have another shot on goal.
78min: USA are making a change now Brenden Aaronson is coming on as he replaces Juventus star Weston McKennie.
USA, going for the win, also send on Shaq Moore for Sergino Dest.
Marcus Rashford is also on for England as he replaces Saka.
EXPERT VIEW FROM THE US: The world are waking up to the talents of this young American team. Even without Reyna – whose benching infuriated US fans – they’re showing off their pace and raw talent.
Pulisic might be best-known to an English audience, but there will be a few more names added to the household list come full-time. Regardless of the final result, they’ve done themselves proud today… but that said, a win has to be on their minds.
72min: About as good as it has got for England so far in this half. Jack Grealish runs at the American defence but despite getting into the box he is evetually tackled as the States’ clear their lines.
69min: Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling depart and on come Henderson and Jack Grealish. Will that wake England up?
67min: No pressing at all from England on USA in the Americans’ half. They look knackered. England though are about to make a change.
64min: I’ve lost count at the amount of corners USA have won now. The pressure is piling on England as Pulisic keeps whipping those balls in. Even Harry Kane is basically playing as a centre-back now.
Southgate is in talks with his assistants and it looks like he is preparing Jordan Henderson to come on. Not quite the creative option I had in mind…
61min: The way this is going, it’s a big surprise Gareth Southgate hasn’t made changes. If USA score in the next few minutes I can’t help he is going to cop a bit of blame for this. His side desperately need alterations and needed them for quite a while now.
58min: Roars come up from the USA fans, as Pulisic sees a shot deflected behind before going to take a corner where the vocal American fans are. USA getting on top again.
55min: This has been about the most comfortable England have looked on the ball for a long time, the big problem for them though is they cannot create anything from an attacking perspective.
I just wonder if Gareth Southgate might be thinking of putting someone on to change that such as Jack Grealish or Phil Foden.
52min: Antonee Robinson gambles on a counter going forward but after Pulisic loses the ball it allows Bukayo Saka room to attack down the right instead.
Before the Arsenal man can get a ball into the box though, US skipper Tyler Adams gets across to make a crunching but fair challenge to put the ball out of play. Excellent defending.
49min: No changes so far. USA counter through Haji Wright and after cutting inside he has a shot blocked before the ball falls for Weston McKennie. From 25 yards out he drills a shot towards goal but it is well over the crossbar.
No changes. Worth noting the USA were back on the pitch early for the second half, with England a little bit later out. USA wilted against Wales in their first game – can they now go the full 90 minutes against England?
USA look a yard sharper all over the pitch, will that intensity drop off like it did against Wales?
England need to get some of that energy in their second half performance #ENGUSA #WorldcupQatar2022
USA have soaked up much of what England have thrown at them, and when Gareth Southgate’s side have lost the ball (and it’s happened often) USA have been very dangerous on the counter attack.
Gregg Berhalter’s team have had the best chances with Pulisic and McKennie and if they play like that again in the second half, England will need to step it up to avoid defeat.
USA fans engage in rousing chorus of 'I believe that we will win, I believe that we will win.' England fans' response is less than complimentary.
45+1min: One added minute and England finally have a shot on target! Neat link up play sees Mason Mount pick up the ball 25 yards out but his low bottom corner drive is well tipped wide by Matt Turner.
45min: England’s first dangerous attack for what must be at least half-an-hour. Luke Shaw does well to reach the byline on the left and while his cut-back finds Bukayo Saka, the Arsenal star can only fire over with his snapshot under pressure.
43min: USA are finding so much joy attacking the right flank and they create yet another opportunity! The cross finds Pulisic but once more he can only glance a header wide – one that Jordan Pickford admittedly had covered.
41min: Gareth Southgate’s side are hanging on as we approach half-time. Sergino Dest goes on a menacing run as he runs at Harry Maguire inside the box, but the Manchester United defender stands up well to block the eventual shot out for a corner. One England clear.
40min: Only one team in it right now. England have done next to nothing with the ball… except for giving it away. Gareth Southgate’s side still have not had a shot on target.
SO CLOSE 😳
Christian Pulisic smashes one off the bar for the USA! #ITVFootball | #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/yF1RMixrvH
WHAT A SHOT by Pulisic!!!
The USMNT was this close to taking the lead! pic.twitter.com/HTAs0gyshf
‘Although Gregg Berhalter’s side have only had 32 percent of possession, they’ve started attacking more since a nervy start and Weston McKennie really should have scored.
‘The midfielder’s been in fine form for Juventus but will have to step up to convert far-and-few chances given to the Stars and Stripes.’
31min: USA go even closer! England are all over the place at the moment as Christian Pulisic now rattles the crossbar from the edge of the box. If USA were to score in the next few moments, you can’t say they wouldn’t deserve it. They have England rattled.
This was the best look so far for the USMNT pic.twitter.com/R0qF6u7kaw
Bit of a let off for England! 😬
Weston McKennie with the best chance of the game so far#ITVFootball | #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/zx4Th0N3qb
28min: I’m starting to lean towards USA being the better side here. Yunus Musah takes a shot from 25 yards and while it takes a deflection off Declan Rice, the ball swerves favourably straight to Pickford. Once again, the “USA!” chants go up.
25min: What a chance for USA! Tim Weah whips in a low cross towards the penalty spot, where an unmarked Weston McKennie fires a first time half-volley over the bar. He should score to be honest and that is a huge let-off for England – Three Lions keeper Jordan Pickford is furious with his defence as he barks instructions at them.
That’s the best chance of the game so far.
22min: I think Gregg Berhalter will be the happier of the two managers so far. England have largely controlled the game but USA have been defending very well and look quite calm at the back. Matt Turner has still had nothing to do really in the USA goal.
19min: A bit more like it from the United States. They have their first attack of the game, with Haji Wright heading wide at the near post under pressure from Maguire.
Not a bad effort, that. Not too much else the forward could have done there. USA fans are now finding their voices inside the ground with the “USA!, USA!…” chants.
‘David Beckham, who has kept an uncharacteristically low profile, slipped into the stadium shortly before kick-off and took a seat in a hospitality box.’
13min: England getting on top now. Harry Maguire (yes, Maguire!) makes a mazey run into the box as he beats a couple of defenders but the ball eventually finding Mason Mount on the edge of the box who can only fire over the bar.
Kane a few moments later has another chance but again can’t get a shot on target.
10min: Now we can wake up though! England build a good attack into the box, with Bukayo Saka cutting back to Harry Kane. The striker’s shot looks goalbound but Walker Zimmerman is alert to make a crucial block.
8min: Just about the most inactive of starts to any World Cup game at these finals so far. I don’t think we have had an attack yet.
5min: Not the quickest start to a game I have ever seen. England controlling the ball at the moment but it’s all walking pace.
It’s making Antonio Conte’s Tottenham side look like an all-out attacking blitz of a side – and we all know they don’t turn up until the second half.
No armbands of course for the England team but the Wembley arch is lit up in support of the LGBT+ community…
We're with you ❤️ pic.twitter.com/SoqNDakeBM
Here is a reminder of the team news as we get going.
England: Pickford, Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Bellingham, Rice, Saka, Mount, Sterling, Kane.
Subs: Walker, Grealish, Henderson, Rashford, Pope, Phillips, Dier, Coady, Alexander-Arnold, Foden, White, Ramsdale, Wilson, Gallagher.
USA: Turner, Dest, Zimmerman, Ream, Robinson, McKennie, Adams, Musah, Weah, Wright, Pulisic.
Subs: Reyna, Ferreira, Aaronson, Horvath, De la Torre, Long, Morris, Roldan, Moore, Carter-Vickers, Yedlin, Acosta, Sargent, Johnson, Scally.
By default really. As both sides’ national anthems are impeccably observed, the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ just has more of a kick to it than ‘God Save the King’ doesn’t it?
No points for anthems, though – just goals. Let’s go…
Remember England can be the first side through to the last-16 if they win tonight. USA will be looking to snatch a victory a day after Thanksgiving to put them in control of Group B heading into the final round of matches.
Everyone looks in place back in the UK though…
Just like the first game there appears to be issues with fans accessing the stadium, and partly explains why the stadium is still just 75 per cent full approaching kick off.
It appears transport dropping supporters off at the ground has been a little slow this evening but hopefully they all get in before kick-off.
Watching it again – I blame that silly Jabulani ball. It never was any good…
Another chapter to be written between @England and the @USMNT. 👀
Throwing it back to 🏴 v 🇺🇸 in 2010.
100 – Bukayo Saka today makes the 100th England appearance at a major tournament by an Arsenal player, with the Gunners the fourth team to provide a century of player appearances at major tournaments for the Three Lions (also Man Utd, Liverpool and Spurs). Stocked. pic.twitter.com/tRFs1plZUy
Lots going on there – looks like some sort of Rorschach test. Or for those of you born before the 1990s – do you remember those Magic Eye things from the mid-1990s. They never worked for me.
England will be through to the last-16 if they win this evening. USA cannot advance tonight but they can take a giant step towards doing so if they grab what would be a surprise victory.
Iran’s win over Wales earlier though has blown this group open a bit.
(If you don’t – England lost 2-1 despite taking the lead with that Kieran Trippier free-kick. “It was nearly complete, it was nearly so sweet”)
0 – England name an unchanged starting XI for the first time since doing so in the 2018 World Cup semi-final against Croatia. Settled. https://t.co/obyn4siTD2
Now to the other elephant in the room I haven’t addressed yet – the last World Cup meeting between the teams.
Back in 2010, England got off to a superb start after taking the lead through a Steven Gerrard (which half the country missed due to adverts on an HD channel) but Rob Green’s error allowed Clint Dempsey to equalise before half-time.
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Of course with only Wright coming in for the United States, that means there is once again no place in the starting XI for Borussia Dortmund forward Gio Reyna.
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Holland and Ecuador have just played out a 1-1 draw and that means it leaves Qatar unable to finish in the top two of Group A.
More details on that result shortly, but in just over a week the host nation have been dumped out – it’s only the second time ever it’s happened at the first stage of the World Cup, with South Africa having tasted a group stage exit in 2010… at least they took it to a final game though.
Just the one change from the United States with Norwich striker Josh Sargent making way for Haji Wright of Turkish side Antalyaspor – the forward is picking up just his fifth cap.
Let's get it. 🇺🇸
Full Lineup Notes » https://t.co/qSHZK24Kol#USMNT x @Visa pic.twitter.com/e6ny2Ve6Tq
An unchanged #ThreeLions side to face USA! 👊 pic.twitter.com/PpW7qzX3zJ
No confirmation on this yet, but it looks like England have named the same starting XI that defeated Iran and that of course would mean starts for Harry Kane and Harry Maguire.
Team news on the way very soon…
A fan in a Donald Trump mask with a ‘Make Qatar Great Again’ shirt, a supporter wearing USA’s classic 94′ strip with dungarees and of course fan England fan dresses as a lion…
Still no sign of any of the England and USA players, so stepping in are former Italy and Ivory Coast internationals Alessandro del Piero and Didier Drogba respectively.
Not bad replacements are they? Both were unplayable at their peaks.
We are heading towards team news dropping as the sides make their way to the stadiums. Gareth Southgate has already hinted that he will start Harry Kane and Harry Maguire who picked up knocks following the victory over Iran.
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Battles on and off the pitch this evening. Which side will be best at drumming up the support?
Outside Al Bayt 🥁🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/t7nEy4rXom
IAN LADYMAN: Can one good result and performance wipe away six months of struggle all by itself? It seems we are about to find out.
There was a moment, when England trailed 2-0 to Germany at Wembley in September, when it was tempting to wonder if the national team would ever play well again.
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They will once again be playing in their home colours, which means USA will be playing in change strip today.
Former England defender MARTIN KEOWN believes the Three Lions are all set to win this one, and that they have the professionalism to see the game out. We are just two and a half hours away from the 7pm GMT kick-off by the way – doesn’t time fly?
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United States are regulars at the tournament, and before the disastrous failure to reach the last World Cup in Russia had played in every finals since 1990.
That appearance at Italia ’90 though was their first in 40 years after that win over England.
Their best showing though came in the first ever tournament where after reaching the semi-finals they were thumped 6-1 by Argentina on their way to what FIFA retrospectively have awarded as a third place finish.
Aside from that win over England, they wouldn’t taste victory at the finals again until they hosted the tournament in 1994.
The former Everton striker and legend of the American side has implored Gregg Berhalter to put Gio Reyna in his starting line-up to face England.
Reyna was a surprise exclusion from the team against Wales, and the US went on to struggle to break down its opponents in a 1-1 draw on Monday.
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"We have to be ready for it." 🤜🤛@trippier2 gave his thoughts ahead of the game on today's episode of #LionsDen with @marksandspencer: pic.twitter.com/BkUTVfmibH
There’s no getting away from it I’m afraid, England fans. We are going to have to address the elephant in the room at some point.
I am of course referring to USA’s shock 1-0 win over England in 1950, that eventually helped dump the Three Lions out of their first World Cup.
This is a cracking read though, and it highlights the tragic and very unfortunate years the match hero Joe Gaetjens would later suffer.
Read more below
It certainly made me double-take, but it appears the pre-match presentation taking place at Al Khor Stadium appears to be just a dress rehearsal for later on.
it’s hard to tell right – I mean let’s face it, one sub-plot of this tournament so far has been the empty stadiums…
Of course it’s not all about England though – the United States know how to shut England down at a major tournament, and here are the stars looking to follow in past footsteps for the national side.
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England were left sweating after the win over Iran, with Harry Kane having picked up a knock on his rather fragile ankles.
But while many were fearing on the fitness of the England captain ahead of the USA game, MARTIN SAMUEL believes Gareth Southgate’s side have evolved to not rely on the England captain quite so much.
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Qatar put up a bit more of a fight today but it still wasn’t good enough to get anything out of their game against Senegal as they went down 3-1.
Having lost their opening game 2-0 against Ecuador they will be just the second ever host nation to be knocked out of the opening stage of the World Cup if Ecuador fail to beat Holland when that game kicks off at 4pm GMT.
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England know a win tonight would be enough to see them through to the last-16 – and probably as group winners too given the thumping they gave Iran.
You can find out more about the group permutations though below…
And for those of you who have had a rather busy morning and need a catch up – here is how Wales crumbled late on against Iran to leave their World Cup hopes hanging by a thread.
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With Iran grabbing a dramatic late win over Wales earlier today, we are still none the wiser of knowing who is going to be heading into the last-16 of this stage.
We may do after 90 minutes of this game though as I welcome you to our live coverage of England vs United States.
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