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Cobra 361 Attacking Tactic by Passion4FM 14.1.4!
New tweak for 14.3.1 released! There's a new write up so make sure you read it in order to know how to make the tactic work http://www.mypassion4footballmanager.com/2013/11/football-manager-2014-attacking-tactic-cobra-3-6-1.html

Newest version! 14.3 http://www.mediafire.com/download/02usksah84fs25d/Passion4FM-FM14-AttackingTactic-Cobra361.tac

For many years I've been using other people's tactics. I've had various success, but I always felt like i wanted to create my own unique and winning tactic. I was tinkering, thinking, writing it up on a piece of paper, feeling like an evil scientist. Luckily, I managed to create a system that worked, and worked well!

I like creating tactics, based on principles from real life football. In recent times I've become a fan of defences consisting of 3 defenders, naturally inspired by the way Juventus plays under Antonio Conte. The principles of his playing style also struck home with me. The idea was simple – press, run and track back. Teamwork and work rate. No fixed build-ups, variation in the play and a great combination of fluidity and discipline. Another philosophy I like is Jurgen Klopp's words that in a way also reflect Conte's playing style: "If every player runs more than 12km in a game, you will win every game"

The name of the tactic comes from it's shape (it's a plane !) and it's deadliness, so the American fighter plane P-63 KingCobra fits the description well.

FM14 Cobra 3-6-1 - The Formation

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-O4sndsBjj5Q/Un0x3qr-jpI/AAAAAAAAM3o/4a-npSty0No/s300/FM14-Cobra-3-6-1-team-instructions.pnghttp://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5u3vTQUWh00/Un0ymj-gwyI/AAAAAAAAM34/l-0XYp_7UJU/s320/FM14-cobra-3-6-1-heat-map-small.png

The formation is called 3-6-1, but technically it's a 3-1-4-1-1. It's an unusual but interesting shape, taking bits and pieces of different tactical systems. Apart from the 3 man defence, the most striking feature (and perhaps the most important) is the diamond shaping up in the middle. Diamond formations are often used (Fatih Terim's Galatasaray) to dominate the midfield area, and restrict space for the opposition. Natural passing triangles are created and the restricted space makes it hard for opposition to pass through the midfield area. The negative part of the system, is the natural lack of width, where the fullbacks are expected to venture forward in order to provide it. This gives away loads of space on the flanks to be exploited by the opposition.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xcdhkP4vef4/Un1E3RHoc_I/AAAAAAAAM4I/SZ0N_f8fqXI/s400/FM14-cobra-3-6-1-midfield-diamond.png

In order to balance that, the width in the tactic is created by two wingers positioned much higher up the pitch than fullbacks (Fatih Terim's diamond) or wingbacks (Conte's 3-5-2), that will rely on their work rate and stamina to run up and down the pitch, tracking back opposing wide players. Because you have 3 central defenders, the exposed flank is covered in a much better way, the defensive midfielder in the diamond providing extra protection for the middle central back.

In defence, the wingers will man-mark opposing wingers, harassing them and forcing them into mistakes. In attack, they will offer additional passing options for the midfielders, upset opposition with direct runs and cross the ball into the box.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_py195yb_gY/Un1HUrqSkwI/AAAAAAAAM4c/eV5LiJVRCiM/s300/FM14-cobra-tactic-specific-marking-wingers.png

When in possession, the team will push higher up, the wingers will provide wide passing options, in order to stretch the opposition. Because of the diamond midfield, most of the opposition will be concentrated on dealing with it and restrict the midfielders space, the wingers will be left with acres of space on the wing.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-STshu0VSbBQ/Un1FVN_LGeI/AAAAAAAAM4Q/ixg0VXUqP4c/s300/crosses-from-wide.pnghttp://1.bp.blogspot.com/-W6vG_UjSNJI/Un1Ih8bQYkI/AAAAAAAAM4o/MzaaRQhxhvU/s320/FM14-tactic-crossing-from-wings.png

Your attacking midfielder and striker will constantly drift around, making them difficult to mark. They will make themselves available for passes, and exchange quick one-twos with each other to either open up space for an on-rushing central midfielder or themselves.

While your team is attacking, your central defenders will patiently sit back, and intercept any cleared balls. Because you will have around 6-7 players around the opposition box, the space will be so restricted that the opposition will be forced into a long-ball clearance your central defenders are happy to intercept, thus making your team the attacking side again.

In defence, the wingers will drop back to cover the flanks, nullifying the opposing wingers. With the added 3 central defenders, this will somewhat resemble a catenaccio style defence, with 5 defenders in line (2 central backs on tight marking, the 3rd offering support where needed). In addition the 3 midfielders in the centre of the park, will drop in front of the defence, making it extremly difficult to pass through the middle, often forcing the frustrated opposition into a hopeful long shot.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-T6SITL1q7Lw/Un1SUze92UI/AAAAAAAAM5g/qqTrq7mAwE8/s300/FM14-tactic-cobra-records-8-clear-cut-chances.png

To conclude – this tactic brought me huge success in FM13, and works equally well in Football Manager 2014 (as it is a successful system not a single tactic). I've had great results with the teams i've played with, dominating the opposition with 20+ shots per game, whereas the other teams had often less than 7 (most off target). Once this attacking tactic gets 100% fluid, you will see great runs from the central midfielders, beautiful pass exchanges in the diamond and solid defending.

Cobra 3-6-1 works even with players without any skills!

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-vAzjFhUItLY/Un1NX1490TI/AAAAAAAAM5E/OFJBMb0EcKE/s300/FM14-Tactic-cobra-records-gibraltarian-league.png

Player types needed

It is important for all players to have good work rate, teamwork, anticipation and stamina. In general, don't underestimate mental traits, they are important!

Goalkeeper – I chose the sweeper keeper, as he will be more comfortable with balls played in behind the defence. I also feel that's what modern football requires from goalkeepers nowadays and i chose it for my system as well. You want a regular good shot stopper, but it's important that he has good aerial stats in order to intercept crosses into the box.

Central Defenders – The 3 central defenders(2 on defend, one on cover in the middle) will clear any long balls, and through balls behind the defence. As such, they should all be aerially dominant, and the one in the middle should be quick(or at least the quickest of the three). Normally, for the covering the defender I try to get at least 11 acceleration, but the more the better. In the right-hand spot I put my best heading defender for set pieces.

Defensive Midfielder – He will protect the defensive line, offer support for the wingers and generally win the ball back, intercept passes and man mark any AMC to exclude him from the play. He will also fullfill some playmaking responsibilities, so the type of player you should look for is a deep-lying playmaker, with more epmhasis on defensive attributes. He should be able to pass the ball, as well as having good ratings for decisions, work rate, stamina, tackling, marking and determination. If he can in addition offer a physical presence it's a good bonus.

Central Midfielders – The box-to-box pair in the middle of the park is very important for the tactic to work. They run alot, and contribute to all phases of play. Stamina, work rate and teamwork is essential. In addition they should possess all the important techincal attributes to both attack, create and defend. Prime examples of such players can be Joao Moutinho, Jack Wilshere, Sami Khedira or Ilkay Gundogan. You can go with two equal midfielders, you can combine a more offensive one with a more defensive one too. It's up to you and maybe the strenght of your opposition. They will get lots of shot opportunities from around 14-15 metres.

Wingers – The defensive wingers balance the team, as they act as a flank box-to-box type player. They will contribute in defence, the build up and offense. They notch up alot of interceptions and assists. In addition they will contribute with goals. They require work rate, stamina, decisions and crossing. In addition they will benefit from acceleration, pace, dribbling(although not hugely important) and passing. In terms of the attributes they recquire defensively, it's good if they have decent tackling and marking(11 will do). However, I find that even regular wingers with poor defensive attributes can easily make up for it with work rate, as they will just harass the opposing winger into a mistake.

Attacking Midfielder – This is the player that will link the play, and if the central midfielders are the lungs, he should be considered the brain of this tactical system. The advanced playmaker will run around to find space, make himself available for passes and pass the ball on to other players, as well as supporting through balls for onrushing central midfielders, wingers or the striker. You want a creative player with good decisions, dribbling, passing, work rate and teamwork. He will also score some goals so finishing is a nice bonus.

Striker – The goalscorer. Drifting around, exchanging one-twos with other players and getting on the end of team-moves. He will pounce on through balls, finish crosses and sometimes create the goal himself. He will also take part in the build up, not only sitting in the box. Composure, finishing and off the ball is important, but the more complete the striker is the better for your team.

Setting up Training for better Tactical Familiarity

Setup of General Team Training:

In terms of team training I have the match preparation on 50% until the tactic is fully fluid. Other than that I have:

In pre-season: Fitness – Very High, Match Prep – Tactics only 50% (if it's fully fluid put Attacking Movement), no rest before or after match

In season: Balanced – High, Match Prep – Teamwork 30%, rest after match

Setup of Individual Player Role Training

I like to give my players role training, as I believe this gives best results and makes them more complete. This is of course up to you, in how you want to develop your players but this is what I do with this tactic for individual training.

Goalkeepers – Sweeper Keeper
Central Defenders – Ball Playing Defender
Defensive Midfielders – Deep Lying Playmaker
Central Midfielders – Box-to-Box Midfielder
Wingers – Defensive Winger
Attacking Midfielders – Advanced Playmaker
Strikers – Complete Forward

Player Preferred Moves (PPM)

I'm a fan of training players preferred moves, as I believe it helps them become better players and benefits my tactic. As such, I try to unlearn all negative PPMs (shoots from distance, dwells on ball etc.) or all that contradict my tactic (tries long passess, cuts inside etc.). Some Player preferred moves don't have to be unlearned (or unlearned and replaced) even though they're not listed and you should just make the judgement on it yourself. All players in my tactic benefit from PPMs except for the goalkeeper and the central defenders. The PPMs are listed in order from most to least important.

Defensive Midfielder
Tries Killer Balls Often
Dictates Tempo
Comes Deep to Get the Ball
Shoots with Power

Box-to-Box Midfielder
Tries Killer Balls Often
Get Forward Whenever Possible
Shoots with Power

Defensive Winger
Runs with Ball Often
Knocks Ball Past Opponent(if quick or poor dribbling)
Tries Killer Balls Often
Likes to Switch the Ball to the Other Flank

Advanced Playmaker
Tries Killer Balls Often
Runs with Ball Through Centre
Moves Into Channels
Plays One-Twos

Poacher
Runs with Ball Through Centre
Places Shots
Moves Into Channels
Plays One-Twos

Setup of Opposition Instructions

Alot of varied opinions on this. People will tell you they don't help or that they do. I use them, I believe they do help your team, but it's up to you if you want to use them. The effect of them is hard to test as well.

If you want to use opposition instructions you can let one of your staff do it, given he has good ratings for tactical knowledge and defending. If you want to do them yourselves, here's how I set them up:

All opposition with a weaker foot – Show onto weaker foot
All opposition with long shots 14 or more – Close Down – Always
All opposition with Bravery 11 or less – Tackling - Hard
All defenders with Decisions, Concetration or Composure 10 or less – Close Down - Always
All midfielders and strikers with pace and acceleration of 11 or less – Closing Down and Tight Marking – Always
(however this can be flexible, some players might for example have pace 13 and acceleration 11 or something similar, and you can apply the OI to them as well. This comes down to your own judgement)

The last opposition instrucion you will have to do, and that is very important for the tactic to work is to apply specific marking before every game. Always instruct your wingers to specifically man-mark opposition opposing wingers(or wingbacks/fullbacks if you encounter a wingless formation). In addition, if your opponent plays one AMC you should instruct your DM to specifically man mark him and put mark tighter as a player instruction.

Pay attention to formation changes! If your opponent suddenly withdraws his wingers or AMC, and you dont alter your specific marking, your players will be marking completely wrong areas of the pitch and unbalance the formation (the change should include removing ''mark tighter'' or putting it back on if you have to switch to marking an AMC again).

Records and Achievements with Cobra 3-6-1

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-uuLHS45TQt8/Un1NX6_lTJI/AAAAAAAAM48/rHt5EkXcSzA/s320/FM14-tactic-cobra-records-ekstraklasa-winner.png

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XbLsZd8nGT8/Un1NXzXFz1I/AAAAAAAAM44/FkjdaUmPvzg/s320/FM14-tactic-cobra-UEFA-Europa-League-Stages.png

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Akqadt9aWqc/Un1P1O5gYOI/AAAAAAAAM5U/m4GeJYjsOl8/s200/FM14-cobra-records-legia-lech.png

http://i.imgur.com/GI84yf4.png

http://i.imgur.com/kNpSIXy.png

http://i.imgur.com/RewVCo6.png

http://i.imgur.com/Hn98GnX.png

Some results with the latest tweak (v2)

[img]http://i.imgur.com/VwJmvsc.png" alt="http://i.imgur.com/jKOFFkf.png[/img

[img]http://i.imgur.com/VwJmvsc.png" />

http://i.imgur.com/e7E1gEk.png

http://i.imgur.com/5Xkys03.png

http://i.imgur.com/iLwRtfW.png

http://i.imgur.com/yiBM1uH.png


This tactic comes from Passion4FM a fantastic Football Manager Blog
Discussion
Going to give it a go with Southampton in my second season! First season with my own tactic finished 9th, 4th highest scorers in the league (impressive), 4th highest conceders in the league (not so impressive) hopefully this will leak less goals! I'll let you know how I get on!


First game went well, away to Norwich won 4-2

How do you train and untrain preferred moves? I've done it before but it just comes up as blank in the "Request from" dropdown...

Second game Arsenal at home won 2-0 and dominated the stats

(I can't take screenshots for some reason)

«This comment has been edited»
Going to give it a go with Southampton in my second season! First season with my own tactic finished 9th, 4th highest scorers in the league (impressive), 4th highest conceders in the league (not so impressive) hopefully this will leak less goals! I'll let you know how I get on!


First game went well, away to Norwich won 4-2

How do you train and untrain preferred moves? I've done it before but it just comes up as blank in the "Request from" dropdown...

Second game Arsenal at home won 2-0 and dominated the stats

(I can't take screenshots for some reason)



some PPMs are bugged and for some reason cannot be unlearned, i have the same, but it's always either runs down right or left don't remember which. otherwise it's as you say - through training -> new preferred move -> unlearn what you dont want
Results really dried up after about 10 games :/ still beating teams I really should be beating but a lot of the wins have turned into draws and more and more losses are creeping in. Could be due to fatigue (Dec/Jan/Feb - pretty much 2 games a week all through)
Results really dried up after about 10 games :/ still beating teams I really should be beating but a lot of the wins have turned into draws and more and more losses are creeping in. Could be due to fatigue (Dec/Jan/Feb - pretty much 2 games a week all through)


important to rotate with this tactic, especially midfield covers alot of ground, i usually only play players with 93% fitness or more. the squad stays more happy, due to all players having playing time, and you can avoid fatigue like you say.

i also notice in my saves that even though i dominate games in terms of shots and CCC i tend to lose games. ME is still very glitched in the way that players tend to miss the most ridiculously easy chances.

but as to results drying up - try to experiment with match prep, as in put attacking movement if you dont score or def positioning if you concede.

do you follow the changes in opposition formations and react accordingly?
I use a similar yet slightly more attacking version of this, which rigidly could be called a 2-3-2-1-2 but floats in the space somewhere between a 4-4-2 and a 3-5-2. The third defender you've shown there, I've moved up into defensive midfield as a very defensive yet very creative deep lying playmaker to link the play better. Before I came up with this I was actually using something similar to your 'Cobra' but found myself in a quandary. I like to use a short passing style with only selected members being allowed to use a longer passing range but I found in the 3-5-2 that it's a bit more incisive to play longer into the 2 strikers and if you use a short passing style then you end up with lots of easy possession with the 3 defenders but struggle to get the ball forward enough to cause a real threat in behind. So what i did was push the most central of the 3 into defensive midfield and have the diamond you have but with 2 strikers ahead of it. The only other difference I have is instead of wide players being in the midfield line I have them playing as wing backs but on full attack so they get forward like wingers and stretch the space high up but have a starting position slightly deeper for defensive cover. With all of this now I have over 60% possession in literally every game and even against the 'big teams' away from home rarely drop below 55%. Some games at home I've had up to 80% possession and 20-30 shots on goal. I think this formation could be slightly better than the 'Cobra' as it will control a match for you and possession is held in midfield rather than the defence and can be moved forward into strikers quicker. Although the play this I think maybe you need 2 world class defenders or atleast 2 defenders who are comfortable in the air and fairly quick over the ground (min. jump 15/16+, min. accel 13/14) because like you said when you press so high with the midfield all they have is the long ball and once you shut that down then they don't have much going forward. At the moment I've been playing this formation for about a season and been tinkering with the 3-5-2 for about 2 and a half seasons and I'm now in 2038 and what I've started to find is teams will start to go long in order to avoid the high press especially if they have a big man upfront and that can get a bit dangerous as I only sit 3 (CB's and DLP) and press the rest which leave me at times 3on2 or 3on3 which unless you have an equally beastly centre back then it ends up being a tough game. But overal great post but I still think you will come to the same conclusion I have after a while of playing the 3-5-2(1-1), especially if you watch alot of the games, too much possession with the back 3 and if they aren't top grade on the ball then can get slightly dangerous when teams want to press high themselves. Reply if you want me to add some screenshots from my current FM13 season (I'm waiting until xmas to get FM14 as a present to myself lol).
I use a similar yet slightly more attacking version of this, which rigidly could be called a 2-3-2-1-2 but floats in the space somewhere between a 4-4-2 and a 3-5-2. The third defender you've shown there, I've moved up into defensive midfield as a very defensive yet very creative deep lying playmaker to link the play better. Before I came up with this I was actually using something similar to your 'Cobra' but found myself in a quandary. I like to use a short passing style with only selected members being allowed to use a longer passing range but I found in the 3-5-2 that it's a bit more incisive to play longer into the 2 strikers and if you use a short passing style then you end up with lots of easy possession with the 3 defenders but struggle to get the ball forward enough to cause a real threat in behind. So what i did was push the most central of the 3 into defensive midfield and have the diamond you have but with 2 strikers ahead of it. The only other difference I have is instead of wide players being in the midfield line I have them playing as wing backs but on full attack so they get forward like wingers and stretch the space high up but have a starting position slightly deeper for defensive cover. With all of this now I have over 60% possession in literally every game and even against the 'big teams' away from home rarely drop below 55%. Some games at home I've had up to 80% possession and 20-30 shots on goal. I think this formation could be slightly better than the 'Cobra' as it will control a match for you and possession is held in midfield rather than the defence and can be moved forward into strikers quicker. Although the play this I think maybe you need 2 world class defenders or atleast 2 defenders who are comfortable in the air and fairly quick over the ground (min. jump 15/16+, min. accel 13/14) because like you said when you press so high with the midfield all they have is the long ball and once you shut that down then they don't have much going forward. At the moment I've been playing this formation for about a season and been tinkering with the 3-5-2 for about 2 and a half seasons and I'm now in 2038 and what I've started to find is teams will start to go long in order to avoid the high press especially if they have a big man upfront and that can get a bit dangerous as I only sit 3 (CB's and DLP) and press the rest which leave me at times 3on2 or 3on3 which unless you have an equally beastly centre back then it ends up being a tough game. But overal great post but I still think you will come to the same conclusion I have after a while of playing the 3-5-2(1-1), especially if you watch alot of the games, too much possession with the back 3 and if they aren't top grade on the ball then can get slightly dangerous when teams want to press high themselves. Reply if you want me to add some screenshots from my current FM13 season (I'm waiting until xmas to get FM14 as a present to myself lol).


thanks for your comments

i have actually not noticed trouble going forward, my wingers effectively stretch the play and track back as well, i have loads of interceptions because they are higher up the pitch, so it's tougher to play around it. the diamond is good at keeping possession higher up the pitch, defenders happily get it forward

i also dominate possession and shot count but i find the current ME somewhat unrealistic and glitched, as i sometimes end up pulling my hair out when i have 2-3 CCC and 20+ shots vs opponents 0 CCC and maybe 2 shots on target and end up losing or drawing. Players miss way too easy chances on open goal.

as to that it's fm13 - the fm13 version of cobra was arguably a better tactic, but again i think it's due to the buggy ME because if i start hitting the obvious chances i get i'll start dominating, so if you like to check the FM13 version of this it's here - http://www.mypassion4footballmanager.com/2013/05/football-manager-2013-best-attacking-tactic-3-6-1-inspired-by-antonio-conte.html
It has to be said.. You have presented this formation in such a sublime way, very, very nice indeed.
I will follow your instructions and give it a go sir.
Thank you very much!
I've always been a big fan of the 3 at the back, but that's within FIFA, I've never been so successful with it in FM, but let's have a go.

«This comment has been edited»
It has to be said.. You have presented this formation in such a sublime way, very, very nice indeed.
I will follow your instructions and give it a go sir.
Thank you very much!
I've always been a big fan of the 3 at the back, but that's within FIFA, I've never been so successful with it in FM, but let's have a go.


let me know how it goes
let me know how it goes


Well I've been using your 361 tactic.
I must say, you are correct in that it truly does dominate, but a lot of focus must be placed on; the payer types you have at your disposal vs. the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition, like you said.
You gave perfect instructions on dealing with this, it gives the feel of playing football managers of old, as I feel more hands on, and actually you have also enlightened me to a lot of techniques on dealing with certain opponents players, thank you for that.
Now I'll say that, for me, this tactic is better implemented during a game, to either hold the lead or press-on.
So many come backs and 1-nils with this tactic, late goals, and yes, you have pinpointed an realism glitch in the game I believe, I get a lot of domination with the tactic but hardly any reward, unless I'm down a goal or two down or a two up 2 3rd's of the game through.
It's weird, but very entertaining.
I go from rage to joy in a matter of minutes, haha. So for anyone looking to try this out, you must study what the man, pollackattack has articulated for us FM heads. It's definitely worth it.
Oh and my Boston United team are in League 2 now, struggling, but they've come along away.

«This comment has been edited»
Would love to see you create a more, conventional formation, with your own edge to it sir.
Thanks again.
Well I've been using your 361 tactic.
I must say, you are correct in that it truly does dominate, but a lot of focus must be placed on; the payer types you have at your disposal vs. the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition, like you said.
You gave perfect instructions on dealing with this, it gives the feel of playing football managers of old, as I feel more hands on, and actually you have also enlightened me to a lot of techniques on dealing with certain opponents players, thank you for that.
Now I'll say that, for me, this tactic is better implemented during a game, to either hold the lead or press-on.
So many come backs and 1-nils with this tactic, late goals, and yes, you have pinpointed an realism glitch in the game I believe, I get a lot of domination with the tactic but hardly any reward, unless I'm down a goal or two down or a two up 2 3rd's of the game through.
It's weird, but very entertaining.
I go from rage to joy in a matter of minutes, haha. So for anyone looking to try this out, you must study what the man, pollackattack has articulated for us FM heads. It's definitely worth it.
Oh and my Boston United team are in League 2 now, struggling, but they've come along away.


glad to hear your notions

i am working on a tweak for the tactic i hope to release during the day, it makes the tactic less dominant in possession but a bit more direct and aggressive

as to a conventional tactic - i have a 433 going on but havent tested it since beta so it will take some time
awsome posting!
New tweak is out. be sure to update to the newest version
Outstanding tactic. Really appreciate all the detail as well.

Just piloted it through my first season with Tottenham and ended up winning the Premier and Europa league. Premier league record was 30-4-4, absolutely outstanding results (Soldado also won golden boot). I added to the roster, but it wasn't necessary. Upgraded strikers (Bought Batshuayi, sold Adebayor) and added midfield (Clement Grenier), plus LM (Ayew, who I highly recommend).

I don't always dominate the shot totals as the pictures show, but this formation really doesn't give up much to the opposition. Scoring was 85 for and 29 against.
Outstanding tactic. Really appreciate all the detail as well.

Just piloted it through my first season with Tottenham and ended up winning the Premier and Europa league. Premier league record was 30-4-4, absolutely outstanding results (Soldado also won golden boot). I added to the roster, but it wasn't necessary. Upgraded strikers (Bought Batshuayi, sold Adebayor) and added midfield (Clement Grenier), plus LM (Ayew, who I highly recommend).

I don't always dominate the shot totals as the pictures show, but this formation really doesn't give up much to the opposition. Scoring was 85 for and 29 against.


Fantastic!
is this available for FM15 or FM16
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