Harry Kane is poised to restart his challenge to Alan Shearer's Premier League goals record when the English top flight resumes.

A provisional start date of June 17 has been agreed by stakeholders and the Tottenham striker recently said he would be fully fit from the first game of the division's return.

Kane has not played since January 1, when he suffered a serious hamstring injury – rupturing a tendon in his left leg – during Tottenham's 1-0 defeat at Southampton.

Had the 2019-20 run to its normal calendar, Kane would have been unlikely to play much of a part, if any, of the conclusion to Spurs' season.

But the three-month halt caused by the coronavirus pandemic means Spurs now have their captain back for their final nine games, as they look to bounce back into the European places from their current position of eighth.

Kane's remarkable Premier League record all began with an April purple patch.

At the beginning of April 2014, the man who has gone on to become England captain was a lively enough Tottenham prospect, albeit struggling for game time in the Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor era.

Kane had yet to score in the English top flight, either for Spurs or in an unproductive loan spell at Norwich, although he had done better in stints in the lower leagues with Millwall, Leyton Orient and Leicester City.

His world changed thanks to a stroke of ill-fortune for Soldado, the goal-shy Spaniard injured in a thumping 4-0 defeat at Liverpool, giving Kane a chance to make his first Premier League start.

Tim Sherwood was in his final weeks as Spurs boss, but it was he who promoted Kane and a three-game scoring run was the result, changing the course of Kane's career and Tottenham's history.
 

BAD LUCK FOR BLACK CATS, BLOW TO BAGGIES, COTTAGERS CONDEMNED

Before starting against Sunderland on Monday, April 7, Kane had made eight Premier League appearances in his career - including three for Norwich - and had not netted in 170 minutes of action.

In the 2013-14 Premier League season, he had featured for only 32 minutes in four brief forays from the bench, having a mere two shots.

Sherwood and predecessor Andre Villas-Boas gave Kane plenty of domestic cup and Europa League opportunities, but an EFL Cup strike at Hull had been his only goal of the season.

Kane landed the Premier League goal he craved by prodding home a Christian Eriksen cross from the left in a 5-1 slaying of Sunderland, before headers in the 3-3 fightback at West Brom and 3-1 home win over relegation-bound Fulham gave him three goals in 13 days.

STILL ROUGH AROUND THE EDGES

Starting from the Sunderland game, Kane had 26 shots in six consecutive starts, with an impressive accuracy of 73.3%, let down only by being unable to convert as many of those chances as he would have wanted. Those three in three games were his only Premier League goals of the campaign.

Opta's expected goals model - known as xG - shows that Kane might have done better. He had an xG figure of 4.56 goals for that period, but it would not be long before Kane began exceeding the forecasts of such metrics.

MAKING HIS MARK FOR POCH

Kane was back on the bench for the start of the 2014-15 season as the Mauricio Pochettino era began, but a flood of Europa League and League Cup goals led to inevitable promotion within the Spurs ranks.

He ended that campaign with 21 Premier League games in 34 appearances, netting once every 122.9 minutes of action and far exceeding his 14.46 xG prediction.

GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND

Opta's xG measurements are based on the nature of the chance falling to a player, including looking at whether opportunities are defined as big chances.

Kane has consistently surpassed the xG metrics, demonstrating how clinical he has been, often taking chances when it appeared he stood only a slim chance of scoring.

In 2015-16 he bagged 25 Premier League goals (xG: 21.75), in 2016-17 he grabbed 29 in 30 games (xG: 18.59), in 2017-18 Kane hit 30 goals in the top flight for the first time (xG: 24.79), and last season his 17 goals in 28 games defied xG of 14.77.

During the current, coronavirus-disrupted campaign, Kane has netted 11 times in 20 Premier League games (xG: 7.19), again often proving his team's driving force.

CLIMBING UP THE CHARTS

It all began with that April 2014 burst, with Kane now up to 136 Premier League goals, putting him 13th on the all-time list.

Still just 26 years old, he has plenty of time to move closer to Shearer's record of 260 goals in the competition and is within striking distance of former Tottenham favourites Teddy Sheringham (146), Les Ferdinand (149) and Jermain Defoe (162).

It is little wonder Kane has been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid, but to Spurs he is surely priceless.

The Serie A season is set to resume from June 20, Italy's sports minister has confirmed.

Italy's top flight was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but clubs were permitted to return to contact training this month.

Following a meeting with prime minister Giuseppe Conte, Vincenzo Spadafora announced on Thursday that the intention is for the 2019-20 campaign to return next month.

Coppa Italia semi-final games are to be held on June 13, with Serie A to get back underway the following week.

The Serie A season is set to resume from June 20, Italy's sports minister has confirmed.

Italy's top flight was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but clubs were permitted to return to contact training this month.

Following a meeting with prime minister Giuseppe Conte, Vincenzo Spadafora announced on Thursday that the intention is for the 2019-20 campaign to return next month.

Coppa Italia semi-final games are to be held on June 13, with Serie A to get back underway the following week.

"Italy is starting up again and it is only right that football does, too," Spadafora said on Thursday.

"The league resumes on June 20 - I have already consulted with prime minister Conte. I hope we can complete the Coppa Italia in the week from June 13 to 20. It would be a signal to the benefit of all Italians, given it's the competition shown on public service [television].

"My wish is coming true for the whole world of sport to start again at the same time. We deny the story that I had any reservations about the world of football."

Juventus were a point clear of Lazio at the top of the table with 12 games remaining when the league season was suspended.

They were due to face Milan in the second leg of the Coppa semi-final in Turin on March 4, with the first leg having finished 1-1.

The other semi-final was also finely poised, with Napoli 1-0 up against Inter ahead of their second leg at the San Paolo.

The news comes after the Premier League announced plans to resume 2019-20 from June 17, having also suspended matches in March.

The Bundesliga returned last month and LaLiga intends to get back underway in June, with only Ligue 1 from among Europe's top-five leagues to declare the season over.

Premier League clubs fearing a cancelled season could decide their fate away from the pitch can breathe a sigh of relief after it was confirmed the top flight is set to return on June 17.

The 20 clubs have either nine or 10 fixtures each still to complete and though the title race may have already nearly reached the finish line, there is plenty to be decided further down the table.

Here, we take a look at the crucial fixtures that will determine the title, European qualification and the battle to avoid relegation.

 

MD30: Tottenham v Manchester United

Scott McTominay's derby-settling winner against Manchester City had helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer build up plenty of goodwill back in March, but the United momentum has surely been halted by the lengthy break.

They have a tough assignment first up against a Tottenham side that will likely have Harry Kane back from injury.

Solskjaer, whose own squad is set to be boosted by Marcus Rashford's return, has a fine record against the 'big six', though, and a win here - against a club led by his predecessor Jose Mourinho - would boost United's top-four hopes and significantly damage their opponents'.

 

MD31: Liverpool v Crystal Palace

It is a matter of when, rather than if, the Reds wrap up their first top-flight title in three decades, with Liverpool needing just two more wins to guarantee they will be crowned champions.

Should City lose to Arsenal when the league resumes, Liverpool could seal the title across the road from Anfield with a win at Goodison Park.

But the likelihood is Klopp's side will face Palace - the team who helped derail their title bid in 2014 with the 3-3 'Crystanbul' draw - knowing victory would end their long wait for Premier League glory.

 

MD35: Sheffield United v Chelsea

Beyond Liverpool's imperious march to the title, the story of the 2019-20 Premier League season has been the Blades' magnificent campaign following promotion last term.

The top four is still a realistic possibility for Chris Wilder's side, particularly if they can win their game in hand against Aston Villa and close the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea to two points, but they face a fight to qualify for the Europa League regardless.

They still have some tough fixtures left on the schedule, with Wolves, Everton and Tottenham their other three home games, but this contest against Frank Lampard's Blues will have a big say in their Europa League, or Champions League, chances.

 

MD35: Tottenham v Arsenal

Champions League regulars in recent seasons, there is a distinct possibility that neither Tottenham nor north London rivals Arsenal are even in Europe's second-tier competition next term.

Both are currently outside the top seven but within three points of Wolves and the Blades, who currently occupy the final two Europa League spots – presuming City's European ban stands.

This derby therefore has extra significance. The possibility of no European football in 2020-21 could also prompt Kane and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang to seek pastures new when the transfer window reopens...

 

MD36: West Ham v Watford

The destination of the title may be a foregone conclusion but the battle to avoid the drop is far less clear.

Even Norwich City, six points adrift, will believe they can survive given they must still face West Ham, Brighton and Hove Albion and Watford.

Only goal difference currently separates West Ham and Watford from the bottom three and they meet in a pivotal contest towards the back end of the season.

 

MD38: West Ham v Aston Villa

The Hammers are no stranger to final-day drama - their draw with United in 1995 handed the title to Blackburn Rovers, while Carlos Tevez's winner at Old Trafford in 2007 helped ensure they stayed up.

David Moyes' men may need more heroics if the fight to avoid relegation goes to the wire.

Villa will begin the resumption in 19th place, two points behind West Ham, but with a game in hand. All eyes could be on London Stadium on the final day.

After what will have been a three-month absence, the Premier League is set to restart on June 17.

The first games following the coronavirus pandemic will see Manchester City take on Arsenal and Aston Villa play Sheffield United, before a full round of fixtures begins on June 19.

Liverpool are a maximum of two wins away from clinching a first title in 30 years, though they could secure the trophy against Everton at Goodison Park on matchday 30 if City lose their first match back against Arsenal.

There is also plenty to play for in the race for European qualification and the battle against the drop.

We look at the outstanding 92 games in the 2019-20 Premier League season.

Matchday 28

Aston Villa v Sheffield United
Manchester City v Arsenal

Matchday 30

Aston Villa v Chelsea
Bournemouth v Crystal Palace
Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal
Everton v Liverpool
Manchester City v Burnley
Newcastle United v Sheffield United
Norwich City v Southampton
Tottenham v Manchester United
Watford v Leicester City
West Ham v Wolves

Matchday 31

Burnley v Watford
Chelsea v Manchester City
Leicester City v Brighton and Hove Albion
Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Manchester United v Sheffield United
Newcastle United v Aston Villa
Norwich City v Everton
Southampton v Arsenal
Tottenham v West Ham
Wolves v Bournemouth

Matchday 32

Arsenal v Norwich City
Aston Villa v Wolves
Bournemouth v Newcastle United
Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United
Crystal Palace v Burnley
Everton v Leicester City
Manchester City v Liverpool
Sheffield United v Tottenham
Watford v Southampton
West Ham v Chelsea

Matchday 33

Burnley v Sheffield United
Chelsea v Watford
Leicester City v Crystal Palace
Liverpool v Aston Villa
Manchester United v Bournemouth
Newcastle United v West Ham
Norwich City v Brighton and Hove Albion
Southampton v Manchester City
Tottenham v Everton
Wolves v Arsenal

Matchday 34

Arsenal v Leicester City
Aston Villa v Manchester United
Brighton and Hove Albion v Liverpool
Bournemouth v Tottenham
Crystal Palace v Chelsea
Everton v Southampton
Manchester City v Newcastle United
Sheffield United v Wolves
Watford v Norwich City
West Ham v Burnley

Matchday 35

Aston Villa v Crystal Palace
Bournemouth v Leicester City
Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester City
Liverpool v Burnley
Manchester United v Southampton
Norwich City v West Ham
Sheffield United v Chelsea
Tottenham v Arsenal
Watford v Newcastle United
Wolves v Everton

Matchday 36

Arsenal v Liverpool
Burnley v Wolves
Chelsea v Norwich City
Crystal Palace v Manchester United
Everton v Aston Villa
Leicester City v Sheffield United
Manchester City v Bournemouth
Newcastle United v Tottenham
Southampton v Brighton and Hove Albion
West Ham v Watford

Matchday 37

Aston Villa v Arsenal
Bournemouth v Southampton
Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United
Liverpool v Chelsea
Manchester United v West Ham
Norwich City v Burnley
Sheffield United v Everton
Tottenham v Leicester City
Watford v Manchester City
Wolves v Crystal Palace

Matchday 38

Arsenal v Watford
Burnley v Brighton and Hove Albion
Chelsea v Wolves
Crystal Palace v Tottenham
Everton v Bournemouth
Leicester City v Manchester United
Manchester City v Norwich City
Newcastle United v Liverpool
Southampton v Sheffield United
West Ham v Aston Villa

It might have taken a long time to be completed, but Manchester United's signing of Bruno Fernandes quickly began to look like one of this season's best pieces of business.

While the player himself insisted he was not responsible for an upturn in form that saw the Red Devils go 11 games unbeaten in all competitions, few can deny the impact he has made since joining in January for an initial fee of £46.5million (€55m).

In fact, his form saw him rewarded with the Premier League Player of the Month award for February, making him the first United player since Anthony Martial to win the prize for the month of his debut.

The 25-year-old was also the first Portuguese player to win the award since Chelsea midfielder Deco in August 2008.

Fernandes will be under pressure to pick up where he left off with the Premier League provsionally scheduled to return on June 17, three months after the coronavirus pandemic forced its suspension.

As Opta data shows, he certainly looks like the man who could fire United back into next season's Champions League...

- Since his debut on February 1, Fernandes has been involved in five Premier League goals, scoring twice and assisting a further three. No other player can match that tally over the same period. The closest are Mohamed Salah (four goals), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (three goals, one assist), Diogo Jota (three goals, one assist), Robert Snodgrass (two goals, two assists), Sadio Mane (three goals, one assist) and Nicolas Pepe (one goal, three assists).

3 - Indeed, no player has managed more Premier League assists since February 1 than Fernandes. Pepe, Roberto Firmino and Ross Barkley are the other players on three.

19 - Perhaps unsurprisingly, Fernandes is top of the charts for attempted shots since his debut. He has recorded 19, as many as Raul Jimenez and Jay Rodriguez and more than Calvert-Lewin and Salah (both 17).

11 - Fernandes has created 11 chances for team-mates (including assists), the same number as Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Ondrej Duda and Andrew Robertson. Only three players have recorded more since his debut: Joao Moutinho (12), Dwight McNeil (13) and James Maddison (16).

20 - Fernandes is the 20th different United player to win a Premier League Player of the Month award. That tally is the joint-best in the competition, alongside Arsenal.

The 2019-20 Premier League campaign has at last been given a date from which to resume.

The competition, suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, will return from June 17 and, all being well, be played to its conclusion.

The disruption came with Liverpool just two wins away from a first league title in 30 years, while Manchester United had been improving in pursuit of Champions League qualification.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at the most interesting facts relating to England's 'Big Six' and their campaigns so far.


LIVERPOOL

- Jurgen Klopp's side are top of the pile but do not look as defensively solid as they did in the 2018-19 season. Liverpool have conceded 21 times in the league this term, just one goal fewer than in their entire previous 38-game campaign.

- Roberto Firmino finally ended a long wait for an Anfield goal against Atletico Madrid in March. It was his first home Liverpool strike in 20 games in all competitions since netting against Porto in April 2019, 337 days earlier.

- The Reds were just starting to wobble slightly. With the defeat at home to Atletico, Liverpool had lost four of their past six matches in all competitions – as many defeats as in their previous 67 games.


MANCHESTER CITY

- Manchester City have lost seven Premier League games this season, one more than in their previous two campaigns combined.

- Heading into the break, Sergio Aguero had scored 180 Premier League goals for Manchester City. Only Wayne Rooney – 183 for United – has scored more for a single team in the competition's history, with Aguero passing Thierry Henry – 175 for Arsenal – earlier this term.

- Kevin De Bruyne is the first player to register 15 or more assists in three different Premier League seasons. Only Cesc Fabregas had previously done so in more than one campaign.


CHELSEA

- Chelsea have lost five Premier League home games already this season. Only in 1994-95 – seven times – have they been beaten more often at Stamford Bridge.

- The Blues are also winless away from home in the league in 2020, drawing three and losing one of their four matches. They last endured a longer such run in the 2015-16 season, failing to taste victory over seven straight away trips.

- Frank Lampard has been reliant on homegrown talent this season. Only Leicester City (31) and Southampton (24) have more goals from English players than Chelsea's 21 – level with United.


MANCHESTER UNITED

- United are unbeaten in 11 in all competitions, but their points return of 45 is still their lowest through 29 games of a Premier League season.

- Bruno Fernandes inspired their change in fortunes, though, and he has been involved in more Premier League goals (five – two goals, three assists) since his February 1 debut than any other player.

- At 25 years and 86 days old, United have the youngest average starting XI in the Premier League this season.


TOTTENHAM

- No side have kept fewer clean sheets in the Premier League than Tottenham's four this season. The last time they kept so few in the first 29 matches of a campaign was in 2006-07 (also four).

- Spurs had been missing Harry Kane (131.18 minutes per goal), Son Heung-min (152.31 mins per goal) and January signing Steven Bergwijn (280.5 mins per goal) through injury. Dele Alli has the best minutes per goal ratio – 298 – among the rest of the squad in all competitions this season. Perhaps the break may have done them some good...


ARSENAL

- Arsenal have drawn 13 Premier League games this season – already their highest such tally since 17 in 1993-94.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 17 goals have been worth 16 points to Arsenal this season. Only Sadio Mane's 14 goals have been worth more (18 points) to a single club.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have confirmed there will be no domestic cricket played before August 1 due to coronavirus.

While England are set to go up against West Indies in a behind-closed-doors Test series in July, the County Championship and Twenty20 Blast will not go ahead until at least August.

England's domestic season had already been delayed twice, but with uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic continuing, the planned start date of July 1 has been pushed back a further month.

An ECB statement released on Thursday said: "The specifics of the season remain subject to ongoing advice from UK government and health experts, but the ambition remains to host domestic men's and women's cricket across England and Wales later this summer.

"The Professional Game Group (PGG) will look to outline a number of opportunities for domestic play, which will be presented to the ECB Board in June.

"These plans include a number of options for both red-ball and white-ball cricket including matches played at all first class grounds, the use of a regional group model as well as consideration for matches played behind closed doors or with a limited number of supporters while strictly adhering to government guidance on social distancing.

"As the ongoing COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, these scenarios will be worked on and assessed."

Recreational cricket is also still on hold, with nets and training facilities only allowed to be used for exercise.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: "Naturally we want to see cricket being played at every level. We remain hopeful of seeing both domestic and recreational cricket this season and planning with the PGG has allowed us to map a number of potential scenarios for domestic play.

"Across the recreational game it has been heart-warming to hear of clubs where players have returned to the nets.

"As children start returning to school in the coming weeks, we look forward to exploring how those guidelines and learnings can be deployed for cricket. This can then see the recreational game continue its phased return as soon as we have government approval."

The Premier League season will resume on June 17, according to widespread reports, with Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United.

Those Wednesday fixtures, the first of the 92 remaining in a season that has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, represent games in hand for the four teams involved..

Once completed, each of the 20 Premier League clubs will have played 29 games.

A full round of matches will then take place the following weekend, as Liverpool - with a 25-point lead at the top - aim to secure their first top-flight title in 30 years.

The Premier League hopes to complete the campaign by or on August 2, with the FA Cup final potentially taking place the weekend after.

No matches have been played in the Premier League since March 9 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused the suspension of sport across the globe.

A total of 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the league.

However, with teams having returned to contact training this week, the Premier League – following a shareholders meeting on Thursday – is poised to confirm a restart date for the competition.

Football in Germany has already got back under way, with three rounds of Bundesliga fixtures having been played behind closed doors.

LaLiga has been granted permission to restart in the week commencing June 8, while Serie A clubs are awaiting the green light from the Italian government to resume next month.

The Premier League season is set to resume on June 17 with Manchester City hosting Arsenal and Aston Villa taking on Sheffield United.

Those Wednesday fixtures, the first of the 92 remaining in a season that has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, represent games in hand for the four teams involved.

Once completed, each of the 20 Premier League clubs will have played 29 games.

A full round of matches is then planned take place from June 19, as Liverpool - with a 25-point lead at the top - aim to secure their first top-flight title in 30 years.

All weekend games are set to kick-off at different times, with midweek matches taking place across Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: "Today we have provisionally agreed to resume the Premier League on Wednesday, June 17.

"But this date cannot be confirmed until we have met all the safety requirements needed, as the health and welfare of all participants and supporters is our priority.

"Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches. 

"The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home.

"We will continue to work step-by-step and in consultation with all our stakeholders as we move towards resuming the 2019-20 season."

It has been reported the Premier League hopes to complete the campaign by or on August 2, with the FA Cup final potentially taking place the weekend after.

No matches have been played in the English top flight since March 9 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which caused the suspension of most sport across the globe.

A total of 12 people have tested positive for coronavirus after 2,752 tests across the league.

However, with teams having returned to contact training this week, the Premier League – following a shareholders meeting on Thursday – confirmed a restart date for the competition.

Football in Germany has already got back under way, with three rounds of Bundesliga fixtures having been played behind closed doors.

LaLiga has been granted permission to restart in the week commencing June 8, while Serie A clubs are awaiting the green light from the Italian government to resume next month.

Chips Keswick has retired after seven years as Arsenal's chairman, the Premier League club have confirmed.

Keswick, who turned 80 in February, has been on the Gunners' board since 2005, the year before the club's home, Emirates Stadium, opened.

He was appointed chairman in 2013 and his departure leaves majority owner Stan Kroenke, his son Josh Kroenke, Philip Harris and Ken Friar as the four members on the board.

"It has been an honour to be the chairman of this great football club," Keswick said in a statement on the club's official website.

"Arsenal has always held a special place in my life and that will remain the case in the future. 

"I made my plan to retire at the end of this season clear to the board, before the global health crisis we are now experiencing.

"The club is in safe hands with Stan and Josh, the board and the executive team.

"I know Arsenal will emerge strongly from this situation and I look forward, like all our supporters around the world, to seeing the team in action as soon as possible."

Harry Kane does not need to leave Tottenham to win trophies, according to the club's former striker Jurgen Klinsmann.

The England international has yet to win a major honour with Tottenham and admitted in March he would contemplate moving on if he did not feel the club were progressing.

Dimitar Berbatov and Teddy Sheringham have both urged Kane to consider swapping Spurs for Manchester United, as they did during their own careers, if he wants to lift trophies.

Klinsmann also departed north London at the peak of his career to join Bayern Munich, but he is convinced Kane can achieve his career ambitions under Jose Mourinho.

"He can achieve anything he puts his mind to," Klinsmann told talkSPORT. "He's so, so talented, exceptional and he's now into a stage of his career where he is far more mature. 

"He's not the young lad anymore, even if you think of him as a young player.

"Watching him from a distance, you wish him titles. When you play a professional career, and you get the opportunity to play in a top-five team in any country in the world, then it's about winning titles.

"And so, I keep all my fingers crossed for Spurs and for him that he can collect trophies - that's what it is all about at the end of the day.

"That's why I left in 1995. Even though I loved it at White Hart Lane, I had to leave for Bayern Munich because I said, 'well I'm running out of time. I'm 31 years old and I need to win a couple more trophies'.

"But he has that chance with Spurs, he has a fantastic coach, he has a fantastic team and we all keep our fingers crossed that it happens sooner rather than later."

Mourinho was appointed as Mauricio Pochettino's successor in November with the aim of ending Tottenham's 12-year wait for silverware.

The Portuguese has had a mixed start to life at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but Klinsmann insists he is the perfect choice for his former club. 

"Jose is an absolutely exceptional coach. Obviously he has his philosophy, his way of doing things," he said.

"With his experience and knowledge, he has an amazing humour as well, I just hope that things will fall into place and they get the success that they deserve."

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