The Sports Archives – How to be a Real Soccer Fan

With World Cup fever reaching its height and the whole world being interested in soccer like never before, even people who’ve never really had much of an interest in the sport are starting to get a little excited by all the fun. You should definitely think about taking more of an interest in the sport and following it more closely going forward if you’re one of the people getting excited right about now. It’s such an incredible sport with so much to offer newcomers like you.

But where do you start when you want to become a real soccer fan and follow the support more closely? That’s a good question because there are lots of things you can do that act as answers to it. We’re going to talk about just some of the things you can do to start on your path to becoming a real and dedicated fan of the sport. So read on now and put what you learn into action as soon as possible.

Follow a Particular Team

First of all, you need to decide precisely which time you’re going to follow as a fan. After all, every fan needs to have a team that they can call their own. If you don’t have this, you will end up watching games as a neutral, and although that can be fun and entertained, it doesn’t have the emotional attachment that comes with being the fan of a particular team. So find one that’s close to you if you want to attend soccer matches in person on a regular basis.

Analyse the Tactics

As you start watching more soccer matches, you should find ways to assess and analyse the tactics. You will learn so much about the sport and how it’s played if you know how tactics work and what makes the most successful teams successful. The coaches and managers that rule the world today are the ones that have a close and intricate understanding of tactics that work in both attack and defense. It’s fascinating to learn how all this works when you dive in.

Track Breaking News Throughout the Day

One of the things that’s most fun about following a sport is following all of the news as it happens. In the world of soccer, it’s particular fun to watch all the transfers heat up in the summer. After the World Cup is over, this is where most fans will turn their attention. Which teams will add stars to their lineup? And which teams will come out of the summer and into the season with a weaker side than last year? Track the news as it break, and you’ll find out for yourself.

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Know the Stats

A big part of the modern game of soccer is statistics. If you’re used to following American sports where statistics have been established as an integral part of the game, this will be an easy thing to pick up. Everything from pass completion percentages to shots on target are tracked and analysed. Most interesting of all are the possession stats. So often you find that more possession doesn’t mean more goals or wins. Teams can conserve energy by letting the opponent have the ball and then hitting them on the counter.

Attend More Live Matches

Attending live matches is always more fun and more interesting than doing it as a fan on the sofa. So no matter what level of soccer your local teams plays at, do your best to attend matches and see the game played in person. Nothing beats being in the stands and seeing it all unfold in front of you. You’ll soon grow to realize that watching sports from your armchair simply can’t beat this way of appreciating the beautiful game.

Display Your Team Allegiances and Loyalties

Once you have a team that you call your own and you want to follow them closely going forward, you need to make sure you show the world your colors. This is what following soccer is all about. You can get badges, patches, shirts scarves and a million other items. So don’t be afraid to show your allegiances and loyalties to the rest of the world. It’s part of what makes following a soccer team so much fun; your team becomes part of your identity.

Learn About the Sport’s History

Every sport has a history, and the history of soccer goes way back to the 19th century. There’s so much to learn, and the sport really took off and started impressing people with its complexity with the Hungarian team of the 1950s, and then later the great Brazilian teams the Total Football side of the Dutch, featuring Johan Cruyff. There’s so much to learn, and you could even simply focus on learning about the history of the sport in your particular part of the world.

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Explore the Soccer Culture in Various Nations

Another interesting thing about soccer is that each nation has its own culture and its own way of playing. As mentioned earlier, the Dutch way is associated with Total Football, which England has historically been more direct. Then you look to the intricate play of Brazil, which has always managed to excite fans all over the world. Every country has a different approach and that’s all part of what makes it the most popular sport on the planet.

Understand Those Big Rivalries Better

When you’re new to the sport, one of the things that you will need to try to do is understand the rivalries that take place in soccer. The incredible rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham or Barcelona and Real Madrid can’t be topped by any other famous rivalries in other sports. They’re sometimes based on location, and other times based on a competitive history that goes back a century or more.

Soccer is the most popular sport on the face of the earth for a reason, so if you’re just get started with following it or you’ve been spurred on by the World Cup, use the tips and advice here to take your interest in the sport further. It’s very rewarding to do so, so you certainly won’t regret it.

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The Sports Archives – 3 Tips for Improving Your Athleticism in a Hurry

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You’ve been noticing for a while that your general-purpose fitness isn’t quite where you’d want it to be, but it’s only when you’ve made a commitment to get involved in more physical pursuits and hobbies that you’ve actually noticed just how much your level of conditioning is holding you back.

Maybe you’ve started playing a regular game of tennis with some friends, or maybe you’ve joined a martial arts class, but have discovered in either case that you just can’t keep up and find your enjoyment of the activity severely diminished by the fact.

You know you want to get fit, but you don’t want to have to struggle through months of training before your conditioning improves. Is there any solution?

Luckily, yes. Here are things you can do to improve your athleticism in a hurry.

Focus on HIIT workouts

HIIT, short for High-Intensity Interval Training, is a form of exercise which emphasizes short bursts of activity done to absolute failure, followed by periods of rest, and then repeated for circuits.

Sprinting to one end of a field, walking back, then sprinting across again, is an example of a form of HIIT training.

Recent research has found that just a few minutes of HIIT — 10 minutes, or in some cases, considerably less — can be as, or more effective than traditional jogging done for much longer periods of time.

HIIT also seems to have positive effects in terms of boosting metabolism and protecting and promoting muscle growth, whereas more drawn-out, conventional forms of cardio typically lead to chronically elevated levels of stress hormones and reduced muscle mass.

There’s a reason, after all, why professional sprinters always appear much more muscular than competitive endurance runners.

By doing a couple of HIIT workouts a week, you can expect to see rapid boosts to your cardiovascular fitness. Though you may want to consider using a pair of insoles from for added comfort.

Perform resistance exercises that demand serious exertion and endurance

It’s possible to weight train in such a way that your heart rate never really increases substantially.

This is likely to be the case if, for example, you do isolation exercises only and stay well clear of training to failure.

To boost your athleticism, however, you should ideally emphasize those resistance exercises that demand serious exertion and also endurance, so as to train both your muscular endurance, while also encouraging strength gains, and improving your cardiovascular conditioning.

Kettlebell swings and squats are good examples of such exercises.

Improve the way you’re fuelling your body

Sometimes, poor athletic performance is largely due to the fact that you just haven’t given your body the fuel it needs to operate at its peak.

If you eat at a caloric deficit, you will always have less energy and drive in the gym. If you eat a low-carb diet, you won’t have the glycogen stores available to power you through a full-force anaerobic workout, and are likely to hit the wall much sooner than you would otherwise.

Try eating significantly more food, and a wider variety of foods, for a week or so and see how your performance is affected.

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The Sports Archives – 5 Ways to Get Prepared for Golf Season

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining and warm weather is here. Spring is a great season, but the real season we’ve been waiting for is golf season. Warmer weather means it’s time to get out and golf! Here are five tips to help you get the golf season started out on the right foot. If Tiger can make a comeback, you can too!

1. Cardio

It’s been a while since you’ve golfed. If golf is your main source of exercise, you’re more likely than a little out of shape. Before you start trying to go 18 holes, it’s important that you do what you can. Cardio workouts are a great way to work on your stamina. One easy way to start out is by going on a 20 to 30-minute walk 3 times a week.

If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can get outside and go for a run and/or hike. Join a workout class at the gym, become familiar with the cardio equipment or attend a cycling class to get in shape. Just remember to take it slow at first, an injury is the last thing your golf season needs.

One of the best parts of golf from a health standpoint is the cardiovascular benefits. With hill-filled course of 18 holes, it’s no wonder why golf can be considered a cardio exercise for many. While golf carts can minimize the amount of time walking, keeping up with cardio exercise of the course is still a great way to increase your endurance on those long rounds of golf.

2. Practice

Don’t worry if your golf skills are a little rusty at the beginning of the season. A several-month hiatus can wreak havoc on your putting and driving game. Practice is the simple recipe for catching up on your golf game. In fact, there are a few things you can do to prepare. First, practice putting. You can do this with a DIY setup at the office or at home. Setup some small objects to putt around and work on your touch.

Second, become very familiar with your local driving range. If the weather doesn’t permit this, there could be an indoor driving range or golf simulator to practice on nearby. It’s important to get that muscle memory back and to get in shape. Trying to go straight out on the course without practice could mean a lot more than some sore muscles!

There are a few drills to practice when using a simulator that can particularly helpful. First, fixing the dreaded hook. In order to get rid of that hook once and for all is by practicing at a slower speed. Butch Harmon told Golf Digest that every player should “practice swinging your arms a little slower and turning your body more aggressively to the finish. Make sure you transfer your weight to your front foot coming down and turn your lower body to face the target. Get your hips turning all the way through, and you’ll stop the face from snapping closed on the ball.”

Another drill to consider is changing your focus. Rather than aim for targets that are far away, begin with closer ones. This helps you zero in on your target more clearly and will help as you increase distance on the actual course.

3. Warm-Up

While we’re on the subject of avoiding injury, make sure to warm up. This should be something you do before every game, but it’s especially important at the beginning of your golf season. This includes stretching before, with the primary focus being on warming up your back, arms and shoulders. Make sure you know where your tight spots are and work on a stretching routine you can stay consistent with.

In addition to stretching, make sure you warm up your golf swing before your game. Try and get to the golf course early and hit a few long balls and stop by the putting green. Going into the first hole without warming up could cost you a few hits! Work out your kinks early, and you’ll impress your golf buddies.

4. Check Your Equipment

It’s key to do an audit of your golf equipment before the start of every season. Are your clubs old and in need of a repair or upgrade? Do you need to stock up on golf balls? Is it time to invest in some better golf shoes? Give yourself an honest assessment. New golf technology and clubs come out every year.

As the golf season takes full swing, more and more equipment will come on the golf radar. From drivers to irons, it’s important to look at your current equipment and find where it needs improvement. Do you need a better game-improvement iron? Ask yourself what you need, what you can afford and what will improve your game the most. Better equipment and technology can make a big difference.

5. Get Your Mind Ready

It’s important to realize you’ll have some rust to shake off, no matter how much practice and prep work you put in. Stay positive and shake off a bad hole or bad round. You’ll improve and get back into the groove soon enough. However, the more time you spend getting ready for the golf season, the more confident you will be. Just remember to have fun and stay positive.

These are just a few tips to help you get ready for your best golf season yet. From first-time golfer, all the way up to pro, remember to have fun and enjoy golf. Get out there, enjoy the weather and make this your best yet.

By Matt at

Matt is an avid golf enthusiast and part of the team. When he’s not working on his fairway shot, you will find Matt writing about his passion for the process of the game.

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The Sports Archives – Common And Not So Common Injuries In Golf

The phrase ‘swing and a miss’ is usually only heard in the sport of baseball. But you can also hear it in golf when someone misses their long drive swing. Granted it’s purely to tease the opponent but perhaps it’s no laughing matter. In baseball, the swing taken by the batter is laterally mobile. However for golfers, they’re doing something that’s not natural to the human body in that, they swing in the vertical axis. The sport is less tense but injuries in golf are actually just as common as any other sport. You wouldn’t think so because it just seems as though people walk around a lot and eventually smack a little ball further down the field. You’d be surprised at the types of injuries golfers have to contend with and if you did, you’d probably wince. For those who think golf is for the old fogeys that just want something to do in their retirement, you’re about to get see why golf may be a young man’s game after all.

The Woes of Shoulders

Daring to enter the world of golf as a beginner, you’ll soon be asked about your drive. The drive is the first crucial swing at the start of a hole. It’s the one clear opportunity you have to put some distance between you and your rivals on the green. A giant powerful swing of the club, connecting with the ball, sends it potentially hundreds of feet forward. Your body is being torqued and all your energy is being transferred from your muscles right into the tip of the club.

Shoulder injuries are perhaps the most common in the game. This is because in recent findings, the thick muscles such as the deltoids don’t get to play the starring role as one would have thought. The rotator cuff bares the brunt of your own power. It connects the tissues from your shoulder to your upper arm. Due to the isolation, this small muscle often gets torn or suffers from tendonitis. To treat your shoulder pain, a common form of pain alleviation is the RICE procedure. Rest, take it easy at work and home, and miss your planned weekend golf for a while. Ice is your friend, numb the pain and like the pied piper attract a swarm of new blood cells to the affected area. Compression is going to stop the muscle from tensing up and causing more pain. Elevation is the final step, don’t let your shoulder carry on having to work by dangling your arm; lift it up and rest it on a pillow.

Photo credit Joseph McKee

Don’t Do A Barrel Roll

Growing up and watching gold on television, as children we were always drawn to one aspect. The little zippy golf buggies seemed like tremendous fun. With their electric power and snappy handling qualities, it kind of reminded us of bumper cars. They’re practical because on some golf courses the distances are so vast that walking them seems inefficient for a smooth day of many players going through all the holes. They’re not very fast either, with top speeds only getting to around 15 – 20mph. With just two pedals and a limited turn circle, a low center of gravity and dedicated pathways on many courses, you would think that these golf carts would be relatively safe.

As of 2015, a study conducted in 2015 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, showed that 18,000 golf cart-related injuries are still taking place every year. Everything from little scrapes and bruises, to frantic visits to the emergency room, these injuries are in part to driver error and outdated carts. Searching for the best golf cart to buy can be a headache in itself. Thankfully some websites come with thorough reviews that have been derived from real-world use. All too often golf carts are assumed to be simple and thus the on-paper facts are relied upon to judge the quality of the cart when selling. With the reviews, you can judge for yourself the engine specifications, the size and capacity for both humans and equipment, and the construction such as body type, brakes and frame. The compare feature is particularly useful as two products at a time can be contrasted to help you make the right decision.

Thy Enemy is the Sun

The allure and romanticism about golf are that you’re on your own, surrounded by lovely greens as far as the eye can see. Alone, you have time to think and sketch out your life. All you need to focus on is the ball and the control of your clubs. The elements play a huge role in golf as winds and rain can change a match in a heartbeat. It’s a sport that is accustomed to being played in the spring and summer, as the bright sun will illuminate every inch of the course.

However sunburns are a regular occurrence. Temporarily damaged eyesight happens when you’re tracking your ball through the sky and accidentally look directly into the sun. Dehydration is the main enemy however, as being out in its glorious presence saps the energy and sweat from your body. Always bring extra water bottles with you on the course. If you can, take them in a cooler so they remain chilled. Take an umbrella with you just in case you are met with a heatwave. Wear deeply tinted sunglasses and a cap to protect your eyes. Normally golf clubs and open courses will have locker rooms. When you arrive and change clothes into the appropriate attire, cover your arms, neck, face and lower legs in suncream. This saves you the embarrassment of leaving the course looking like a tomato.

A tender shoulder after a round of golf is a bad sign. One’s technique can be smooth and biomechanically sound, but rotator cuff muscles are small and thin. They can easily become sprained, tear and become inflamed. Use the RICE method to treat your injury. Older golf carts are just dangerously outdated. Newer products in this range have thicker more grippy tires and much safer handling. Drink up on your day on the green, but save the cognacs for afterwards. All you need during play is an abundant supply of chilled water to avoid dehydrating on an 18-hole course.


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The Sports Archives – World Cup 2018: Common Football Injuries You May See!

Fans around the world may not be the ones on the pitch and taking part in what is arguably the most exciting event every four years, but World Cup 2018 is upon us and we are all involved in some way or another. Most of us kick back and watch the games unfold on the big screen while others – the lucky ones – have got hold of some tickets to watch their home country play in the thick of the action in Russia. The world is watching the players move seamlessly around the pitch, aiming for glory for their country and the pressure they are under to train and perform starts weeks in advance of the fixtured games. The players spend their lives training for matches, and if you are a keen football player then you’re going to be well aware of the types of sports injuries that are possible for your favourite players as they push themselves to be the best.

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Sadly, there is no one fixed way for your favourites to eliminate the possibility of injury, except sitting out and on the bench. And no one wants to do that. Being a part of the World Cup is something that you tell your grandchildren’s children if you’re around to do it, so really, it’s about avoiding it as best they can. Players in the World Cup are professional; they’ve got training sessions most days every week that are conditioning their bodies into an athletic state to hopefully avoid any injuries occurring. Dealing with an injury is not the place to cut corners, which the professionals know about, and the most common types of injuries that you may see during this year’s competition are as follows:

  1. Hamstring pulls, strains and tears
  2. Strains to the groin
  3. ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury and other knee twisting injuries
  4. Ankle sprains
  5. Injuries in the feet; Achilles and metatarsal

While professional players will have on-hand medical staff and physiotherapists for injuries during a game, they’ll also have the help away from the public matches when injuries that start in the hips or knees radiate to the back. A lot can be said for injuries to the spine caused by the constant pressure on running and training, and spine surgery isn’t something to feel less than serious about. It’s important that professional players keep a close eye on the fall out from any injury gained whilst playing football, purely because of how quickly things can change. Some players are unlucky enough to suffer things like concussion and hernia as a result of their gameplay, but it’s not as common as the five injuries that we’ve listed above. So, once these multi-million-dollar players are injured, how do they prevent it from happening again?

The best thing to understand for anyone playing football in their spare time is that the chances of even gaining an injury in the first place can be pushed right down by following a few simple sporting rules. These are:

  • Always get fitted for the right shoes. You won’t see the professional footballers in shoes that aren’t professionally fitted to the right arch, height and width of their feet. Feet take an awful lot of impact when playing football, so it is so important to be vigilant when you buy your football boots.
  • You would only notice this if you’re watching really closely, but all footballers who are playing are wearing shin pads and protection around their ankles. The socks that they train in are keeping these in place, and while it can feel a little warm to play in, it’s worth it when a tackle can decide if you skin your ankles or not!
  • One of the biggest ways to prevent injury while playing football is to correctly warm-up. It may be tempting to dash out onto the pitch and join in the fun, but no professional player does this. Even the subs during the game can be seen keeping warm and limber on the edge of the pitch – just in case they are called to step-up and into place!

When you – and the professionals, of course – are preparing your body for a football match, there are some things that should be focused on more than others. The first is proprioception and balance, and the second is how flexible you are. Not many outside the athletic field have heard of proprioception, but it refers to how the body senses movement. When you’re on a football pitch, you need to be able to be intuitive about the location of your fellow players, but even more so you need to know what your own limbs are doing. The more focused on proprioception you are, the better your body will respond to you and avoid you being a crumpled heap on the floor. The professionals engage in SAQ training to hone this skill, and this covers speed, agility and quickness. For you at home, you could choose to purchase a wobble cushion, which can help you to really improve your balance before you get on the pitch. Then, you have to focus on your flexibility. Simple, regular stretches throughout the work day can keep your body fluid and flexible, ready to train properly for matches.

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The World Cup this year is already dogged with reports of players that cannot play due to injury. For some people, the standard ways to fix and allow an injury to heal are not easy because what you need is time and patience to get well again. If you are the sort of person who doesn’t want to hang around and wait to get back out there, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Choosing not to wait for an injury to heal is not the way to go, otherwise you could cause more damage that is irreversible and will mean football is off the cards for you forever. Plenty of footballers over the years have had to walk away from the game due to injury; let’s hope no more do over the course of the 2018 World Cup.

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The Sports Archives – Team Sports Alternatives to Football

There has forever, and a day been people supporting, cheering, and even traveling the world to watch their favorite sports teams play. Currently, the World Cup is in play, and as always it leads more people to want to be more active and get into the sport or at the very least a sport. But, it’s not just about football, rugby or the NFL. Oh no… there is a whole world out there; the team sports world has so much more to offer. So, let’s take a look at some of the best.

Lacrosse, although the game originated from Canada, it has long been a game that people have enjoyed. It’s a rough and ready game, and back in the old days a game could last three days and involve a thousand players on a single field. It’s moved on since then to become a popular game in most schools and swam itself across the pond to the UK too. You’re going to need a fair bit of stamina to make it through a game, and not be afraid for some body contact.

Walking Basketball. This one might sound a bit strange, but it takes the high-speeding crowd please and slows it down to the point that the over-50s can enjoy it too. The rules are all the same except it has to be slowed down to meet the needs of the players. This one is particularly great if you have knee damage or are trying to keep active as you get older.

A favorite team sport in the Netherlands, Taiwan, and Belgium is Korfball. This is a mixed gender sport and is very similar to basketball. Both teams vie to get the ball into the opposite team basket. It is a non contact sport, and ‘duels’ are only allowed by same-sex players. It is still highly active and fast-paced, providing a great cardiovascular workout.

Any Harry Potter fans around? Although you might be seeing this sport on any time soon, it really does exist. Muggle Quidditch. There are indeed broomsticks; sadly you won’t be flying anywhere while playing though. Much like the movies, there is one seeker, three chasers, two beaters and a keeper. All of which have to be carrying a broomstick at all times. But what about the golden snitch? Well, that quick little thing is replaced by a person called a ‘snitch runner’ – who is allowed to run to pretty much wherever the like, apart from into buildings and up trees.

If all of those don’t sound like something you’d want to do, then what about Ultimate Frisbee? Mixed genders, two teams of seven, non-contact, and perhaps most surprisingly for a team sport: No referee. You aren’t allowed to run with the frisbee and players are governed by themselves. Likely lending to a great team sport with plenty of sportsmanship and spirit.

So while football is center stage right now, if you’re thinking about checking a team sport out, consider some of those.


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The Sports Archives – Senegal Beats France in the 2002 World Cup

Senegal’s Papa Bouba Diop (C) celebrates his goal as he runs away from France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez (C Rear) while Youri Djorkaeff (L), Frank Leboeuf (L Rear), and Emmanuel Petit (R) react at World Cup Finals in Seoul May 31, 2002. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

The World Cup is the pinnacle of competition for any soccer player and fan. It is the moment where, every four years, the 32 best teams in the world get to compete for the greatest prize on offer. In 2002, the World Cup in Japan and South Korea was set to begin with a great clash between Senegal and France.

The clash was symbolic because it represented the current World Cup holders, France, getting a chance to defend their title. There were a few players from 1998 who were no longer on the team. But many still were. The likes of Patrick Vieira, Marcel Desailly, Lilian Thuram, Thierry Henry and Fabien Barthez had been there and seen it all. They were in the prime of their careers, and they were among the favorites to win the World Cup again. It is rare that we see a team win back-to-back World Cups, but France were still expected to reach the semis or the final.

However, what no one expected was a 1-0 Senegal win. No one expected this African nation, who had never been in a World Cup before, to get anything but a defeat from this game. In fact, the question among pundits and betters was regarding the number of goals France would score. The world was stunned when the final whistle blew and Senegal had gotten a 1-0 win. They had beaten the defending champions and favorites France – they had gotten a win in their first ever World Cup game.

It was Papa Bouba Diop who got the only goal of the game in the 30th minute. A France response was expected, but it never came. They did attack more in the second half, but it appeared the team had left its spirit at home, as they had no answer for the resolute Senegalese defense.

The trajectory for both teams in that tournament was decided by that first game. Senegal reached the quarter finals, while France did not even make the group stages. It was a humiliating tournament for France, with so many star players who did not deliver an iota of what they could on their best day. And for Senegal and its players, it was a fairytale. Their fans were just happy to get the chance to see the team at such a stage. They were not expecting anything, let alone a place among the best eight teams in the world.

The game is one that soccer fans will always remember. Why? Because it teaches us two lessons about the sport. The first lesson is that simply because we do not know anything about a team, does not mean we should write them off. Senegalese players were not famous until that game, but it does not mean they were lacking in quality. And the second lesson is that if you want to remain the best, you must give it your all in every game. The French players thought their reputations were enough to win that game, but you do not win soccer games on reputation.

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