March 21st, 2011
01:10 PM ET

Champions League predictions: Chelsea to triumph?

Can Carlo Ancelotti guide Chelsea to European glory?
Can Carlo Ancelotti guide Chelsea to European glory?

The draw for the quarterfinals of the European Champions League, according to many pundits, has set Barcelona on a collision course with arch-rivals Real Madrid for the final four. Some even suggested the winner of this explosive, if mooted, semifinal would go on to lift the European Cup at Wembley on May 28.

I would like to offer a different opinion.

While there is no doubt in my mind that Barca and Real are the world’s two best teams, but there are factors that lead me to believe the winner of the Champions League may actually come from the other side of the bracket. Yes, the side containing Inter Milan and Chelsea.

Why do I believe these two teams have what it takes to win the title? Two words: momentum and drive.

Let’s start with the defending champions. I was fortunate enough to be at the Allianz Arena when the Nerazzuri knocked Bayern out of the competition in the round of 16. After a tumultuous first half, featuring some kamikaze defending, Inter showed the passion, drive and discipline that characterized the side’s victorious march to the European crown last year. This was a very similar team to the one commanded by Jose Mourinho last season, and it will be a dangerous proposition in this competition. It still has a lot of talent and a lot of experience.

Following a disappointing start to the season with Rafa Benitez, who made all the wrong moves trying to change what had been a successful blueprint with Mourinho, Inter have stormed back. Since Leonardo became coach, the Nerazzuri have won 14 of 19 games in all competitions. That is a success rate of 74%. Impressive.

I believe the momentum gained since the Brazilian coach’s arrival will help catapult Inter to the semifinals of the competition. And if momentum is the force that drives Inter, then it is drive that will fuel Chelsea’s fire.

This is a team that was assembled by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Jose Mourinho with one goal in mind: to win the European Cup. The Blues came close twice. They reached the semifinals in 2005 and the final in 2008 when they agonizingly lost on penalties to Manchester United.

If you compare the team that lost three years ago in Moscow to the one that is lining up currently, you will find that not too much has changed. The spine of the team is still the same. Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba are all still leading the charge.

This is a side that has had to live with the frustration of missing out on football’s top prize and can’t wait to lift the European Cup. The fact the final is in London, is another reason why in my mind, they are a very dangerous team to face in this competition.

You are probably thinking that if I am picking Chelsea as a title contender, then I am assuming they will beat Manchester United in the quarterfinals. The answer to that question is yes.

Just like I predicted at the beginning of the season, United will go on to win the English Premier League title, but they are not strong enough to beat Chelsea in a two-legged tie right now. Their midfield is not good enough to win Europe’s top prize and whoever lines up in the middle of the park for them will not be able to deal with Jon Obi Mikel, Michael Essien, Ramires and Lampard. That is a fact. Add to that Wayne Rooney’s struggles and you find that the three-time European Cup champions will be no match for Carlo Ancelotti’s boys.

So, on we go. Imagining I am right and Chelsea and Inter meet in the semifinals, what do I expect to happen next? Well, I without wanting to dodge the question, I think Chelsea will go through and face Barcelona in the final.

And then … then anything can happen, because as dominant as Barcelona have been this season, I believe they are tired and won’t be at their best in two months’ time. Pep Guardiola hasn’t rotated his squad enough to guarantee they will be fresh at the end of May when the trophy is decided. Chelsea’s physical style could rattle the Spanish giants just like it did two seasons ago in the semis. And in one game on English turf, the Blues could upset the almighty Barca.

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soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. Njemnobi Nonso Innocent

    Pedro Pinto's Prophetic Postulation. I believe in It.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  2. Arti

    Just as last week Mr. Pinto is wrong again! First of all I doubt whether Chelsea will advance to the semis as I do think ManU is the stronger side. Second, Real and Barca are too dominant as that either Barca or Real would lose against either Inter or Chelsea in the final.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  3. Akan Uteh

    I believe in this prophesy and i pray it comes to pass.

    March 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  4. Mulualem Mekete

    Chelsea will advance to the SF and Inter will dump chelsea,but on the other side Madrid and Barca reache to the SF comfortably but the unlike the previous laliga meeting Madrid will reach to the final with Inter.so according to my prediction wembley will host the final by MADRID and INTER!

    March 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  5. Nate

    I totally agree with Pero's prediction. Chelsea cannot wait to lift the UCL trophy. That's the only trophy that matters most to them. Their current form speaks volume of their intent.

    March 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  6. tuffymacca

    Well,well i dont agree with u the winner of the UCL will come frm the other side .Its goin to be either Mighty Barca or the aristocratic 9 time European Champions , Real Madrid CFC .

    March 21, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  7. Demóstenes

    Chelsea is strong but they lack winning tradition. I believe that ultimately it will be Real or Barcelona that will lift the title.

    Barça has a good team, but Real has the Mourinho effect. He seldom loses.
    Manchester has no chance.

    Abraço.

    March 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  8. samuel jumbo

    i really appreciate chelsea win against mancity yesterday

    March 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Reply
  9. Thomas

    No way!! Chelsea will come out empty handed; no ch league nor the league title. And while they're at it they might as well sell Torres..what a waste of 50 K's!!
    Good luck, though🙂

    March 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  10. Soccerfan

    "then anything can happen, because as dominant as Barcelona have been this season, I believe they are tired and won’t be at their best in two months’ time" So at the end the whole article is bcz you FEEL that the barcelona is going to be tired? that´s the best analysis ever...

    March 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  11. Raul

    Dear Pedro,

    I check your column regularly and I usually enjoy it, but I have to say I am puzzled at this. You are the same person who said not so long ago that Man. U. would win the premier league at the expense of Chelsea. Yuou argument was that Chelsea was too old and tired. Now you say that they will win the Champions League and beat much better teams to it. Barcelona tired? La Liga is certainly physically demanding, but so is the Premiership, and both Barcelona and Real Madrid have younger yet experienced teams. Who is not to say that in two months time it will be Chelsea feeling the pinch?

    Regards

    March 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  12. Laurence

    I am loving this analysis, it does make sense.

    March 21, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  13. Philip

    That's a figment of your imagination! Man. United will beat Chelsea in a two-legged tie any day. The only thing that separated the two sides weeks back was the terrible Martin Atkinson who's stock-in-trade is to give Chelsea a soft penalty all the time. People have failed to give United the credit they deserve this term. You underate them at your peril!

    March 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  14. joshua tebu

    i have the strong believe that chelsea fc can win the champions league

    March 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Reply
  15. adebayo

    Pinto u ar just nothing bt a great prophetic football pundit .

    March 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Reply
  16. chelsea samba

    c'mon you blues!

    March 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  17. TD

    Wishful thinking. Dream on boy!

    March 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Reply
  18. martin curran

    madrid #2 in the world? porto #3 is suppose

    March 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  19. BA - Setubal, Portugal

    I doubt Chelsea could win, they are no match to Barça or Real Madrid, they can reach the final, but win in it if it´s one of these 2 is highly unlikely.

    March 21, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  20. Nkem Okoro

    yes i am a Chelsea fan and naturally love this analysis. however, i think he is right some how. i still dont believe that Chelsea cannot clinch the EPL this season. Everything is possible. That reason for which chelsea will beat United in d quarter finals,could also be the same reason,united may lose d EPL to Chelsea.

    March 21, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  21. hassan jeremiah

    This is a free world..so every one has the right to OPINE,this is simply your words....Though a manchester united fan,indeed barca and chelsea look highly favoured but i still admire Man utd for a treble this season

    March 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Reply
  22. Bern

    Chelsea wont win it because they dont have their best player available for them in the Champions League. Im obviously talking about Luiz. He is playing amazing lately.

    March 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  23. tony

    United will beat Chelsea and in the CL and would have beaten them earlier if not for a bad ref..Chelsea made a huge mistake by choosing Torres over Luiz to be eligible for the CL. Also, by the time the CL starts United should be almost completely healthy. That is why United will win..

    March 21, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  24. Leslie

    Makes a lot of sense except that he picked the wrong team to win...the Reds will, hands down.

    March 21, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Reply
  25. sriram

    Its a great feeling when carlo ancelotti backs his side, its amazing, though Chelsea is not going to do any good to me it feels great to support Chelsea.

    March 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  26. Nweze Clinton

    The prediction may most likely, come to pass. After watching these teams played lately, i believe it's only Chelsea that ve what it takes to be @ the final....Pinto your prediction/forcast is a wise words that must not be ignore...but all this depends on how coach Carlo Ancelotti approach their next games tactically.

    March 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  27. bamaiyi uche

    what a rattling theory that will remain indelible in the minds of chelsea's fans.off we go

    March 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  28. George Samuel

    I agree with you, I really hope that Chelsea can pull it off this year after coming so close before. This year is Chelsea's year to lift the big ears.🙂

    March 21, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  29. Bugsy Nero

    pedro Pinto fails to mention the treat posed by real madrid who are as hungry for the title as any other strong contenders, and are currently coached by the master -Mourinho the great!

    March 21, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  30. Roger Adamson

    Looks like young Pedro, (or is it Peetroo??) has it all sussed out. What he completely doesn't take into account is how each and every game is a new roll of the dice, and has NOTHING to do with current form, momentum, drive or passion. You think when Manchester United obliterated Arsenal in the semi-final a couple of years ago people didn't think that having also taken out Barca the year before that in the semi-final, that they wouldn't also rip them apart again in the final, especially with Tevez, C Ronaldo and Rooney in attack, with Scholes, Carrick, Fletcher in mid-field and Rio in defense? No, they were totally humiliated in the final by Barca, in a game which actually surprised more people by Uniteds limp performance, having killed Arsenal the game before. Do you see what I'm saying? Current form, or upcoming form according to your so called 'that is a fact' intuition, is quite frankly a joke.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Reply
  31. ken kinyash

    i would think off chealse liftn the cup,but one thing am not sure off,havn beaten Manu in the league,personally i dont think they can do it on the same season to beat Manu twice,so i bet on Manu elleminatn chealse,

    March 21, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Reply
  32. Manuel

    I have to agree with must of what you said except the reational behind Chelsea winning the finals.

    If being tired is what's going to make Barca lose, then you haven't been following them closely. One of the reason why Pep makes few rotations is because his team doesn't make the physical efforts other teams like Real do. That's what happens when you have almost 70% most of the time.. you don't have to run after the ball.

    And Mourinho losing to the team he built? Highly unlikely to my accounts

    March 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  33. makiling

    what a fearless forecast pedro! i admit this is within the realm of the possible. i am not a loyalist of any team, just a football lover. however, its hard to go against barca. but then again, arsenal showed they can be beaten. so i think its really wide open.

    March 22, 2011 at 1:25 am | Reply
  34. wale

    Well said pedro chelsea all the way!!

    March 22, 2011 at 2:06 am | Reply
  35. Kiran Cherian

    Pedro .... I would worship the ground you walk on if Chelsea were to win the Champions league. I guess i am equally frustrated, as the players are.

    I get the same feeling too, somethings have to give.. somethings got to change.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:45 am | Reply
  36. Bahman mirlashari

    chelsea vil be the champion of 2010,2011

    March 22, 2011 at 5:23 am | Reply
  37. Rasaq Kasim Olayemi

    I agreed with all Chelsea coach have says, but i want you to know that you in football you can not predict because anything can happen at any time, Barcelona their team is strong enough to face because of their understanding ways of playing football. for me Barcelona is favorite to win the trophy.

    March 22, 2011 at 6:39 am | Reply
  38. Lungisani Mkhize

    I laugh at your predictions with disdain. You discount Manchester United at your own perill.I believe chealsea has had a rather walk in the park type route to this stage. It ends here, because of the way that your rather faulted argument goes,those that don't understand football would be lead to believe that mommentum plays football matches.Really mister pedro, what an uneducated arguement.if you said you would like to see chealsea in the final because that is the team you rooting for, then I would have some respect for this your very pointless article.

    March 22, 2011 at 7:24 am | Reply
  39. Wasswa Charles Jude

    Pedro can go ahead and postulate but in Sir Alex Ferguson we have a man who can grind water out of a stone. Never mind that Chelsea have beaten United through very painful and questionable refereeing once already this season. Chelsea cannot beat united four times in one season. It will not matter that they need this one more than anything. it is exactly that hunger for a revenge that will be there undoing. My prediction is a draw with an away goal at the Bridge. United beats teams because they play as a unit and have belief. Chealsea is a bunch of talented but individual players. I hope Pedro you can catch my drift.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:18 am | Reply
  40. ogbonna Ofurum

    i believe the bluês will make it to the finals

    March 22, 2011 at 9:35 am | Reply
  41. alehandro

    Earlier this season you wrote that Chelsea is too old and tired to win the Premier League. You also said the Premier League is in crisis and its clubs are not fit to scrub the boots of Barcelona and Real Madrid. But now Chelsea, a team that could possibly end the season as the 3rd, 4th, or 5th best team in England, will win the Champions League! Where's the consistency in your opinion? A couple of good games and your predictions do a 180! That's schoolboy logic. Chelsea has done nothing this season to even be sure of getting past United in a two-leg tie, let alone Inter and Barcelona. But that's alright for you. You tipped Bayern Munich to win it last week, so if Chelsea fail you can just move on to the next remaining club. You'll get it right in the end.

    March 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  42. fola

    hahahahahaha.i love the comments on Pedro's post. Pedro must really be having a laugh thinking Chelsea can win the title let alone beat man utd in a two legged tie. the rascal called luiz is not playing in the champs league and neither will atkinson be there as the 12th man for chelsea so no,it aint happenig that chelsea makes it to the semis.

    March 23, 2011 at 9:43 am | Reply
  43. Chidon success 78

    I can't predict the club that will-win the title.because football changes,all we have to do is to wait till then..ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS THAT, I LOVE THE BLUES .good luck to Chelsea

    March 23, 2011 at 9:56 am | Reply
  44. kasonde

    chelsea wont beat man u next round, chelsea have a problem with their strikers. man u will crush them. REMEMBER manu beat arsenal with 7 defenders in their line up, and know arsenal are stronger than chelsea

    i predict man u or inter in the final vs barca or real.

    real will have although game against spurs but i hope real will win.

    right now barca, manu, inter or real in that order are favourites to win it.

    March 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  45. Moses Ekunu

    Pintu, now u can wake up from your dream! How do u include Ramires among the solid Chelsea mid fielders? If only u knew how Ancelloti is disinterested in Chelsea football and always relaxed since Abramovich is his friend. U dont seem to being Spurs, they are also from London!

    March 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  46. moses onyeka onuegbu

    chelsea will definitely conquer europe

    March 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  47. lamparp edyboy joseph

    Chelsea would certainly dominate manutd. If the most eager players r been used

    March 24, 2011 at 6:31 am | Reply
  48. chibyke

    I wont say much about d UCL quaterfinal bt i will point out one obvious thing "never underestimate d capabilities of CHELSEA" road to wembley have always being favourable to Chelsea and 4rm how it seems right now, if Chelsea can beat Man u then d likes of inter, madrid and barca dont stand a chance at wembley.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:45 am | Reply
  49. chibyke

    For those who think ref. Killed man u game against CHELSEA u should remember that penalty is man u's specialty bt that doesn't change d fact that CHELSEA are waxing stronger "ITS FUNNY HOW ONE MOMENT CAN RE_DEFINE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE". CHELSEA have touched the root of their problem and now they are enjoying football stability if you envy CHELSEA you can only do urself the favour, write ur club tell them to reinforce their team with new strong willed and ambitious players. To CHELSEA am only saying DONT LET MEDIA HYPE KILL OUR SPIRIT COS WE ARE STRONG AGAIN AND THATS WHAT MAKES THEM TALK.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:59 am | Reply
  50. Omar

    I just want Chelse to win...they can do it and they will

    March 24, 2011 at 7:09 am | Reply
  51. Ilyas omen

    why not wait and beat manu 1st, before canting your chickens,

    March 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  52. wise200

    chelsea will triumphant

    March 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  53. Masaaba Alan

    In the premiership Manu thrive on referee favouritism and sitting back and getting the opponents on the counter, this I don't think can work in the Champion's league against Chelsea. Chelsea are surely not going to let Manu sleep past them like in 2008. Then Mourinho is not going to give Barcelona breathing space incase the two meet again.

    March 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  54. obu udeozo

    IT WILL GIVE MY SOUL PEACE THAT 'A HOME BOY' FINALLY FINDS SOLACE FOR A HUGE LEAP OF FAITH – into a Premier League side that appeared jinxed for a long while. I wish Mikel Obi and Chelsea the best of TIMES. obu udeozo

    March 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  55. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    May is far away. All eight teams look capable of proving Senhor Pedro wrong. It is too early to predict. There are many matches in the domestic league and teams are busy preparing to book places for next year's CL. The domestic Cups too are still to be won. I am going to be patient and wait wishing the teams all the very best in their campaigns.

    March 26, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  56. Emmanuel Enyeminko

    Who ever think Chelsea will win the champions league is a big lie.They have to defeat United which is also impossible. The color red will. always cover the color blue when it comes to what matters.Example champions league or whatever competition that matters most. Thank you. Emmanuel Enyeminko, Accra, Ghana.

    March 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  57. Emmanuel Enyeminko

    And so i don't agree with Pedro's prediction.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  58. Uncle s.

    I agree chelsea will prevail. David luiz, ramirez, and kalou are flourishing. Torres is about to. Drog respects anel too now. They are the shizzin!

    March 27, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Reply
  59. Uncle s.

    Chelsea all the way! Ramirez, luiz, drog, malouda, lampard, torres, kalou, anelka, ivanovic essien is too much for others.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  60. Uncle s.

    Of course. Chelsea is too awesome now. Luiz, ramirez, plus drog et al. Torres is on his way.

    March 27, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Reply
  61. Uncle s.

    Chelsea are v hungry. They now have luiz, ramirez plus all the regulars are still there. Torres will peak soon. Watch and weep barca.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:03 am | Reply
  62. goddins

    pedro,your premonition was acurrate.with chelsea's recent form,king drogba,comander tery,almighty luiz,wonderful ramires,G&counsellor mikel,the host of others will send any team to hell.do i talk of the world most feared striker torres.u aint seen noting.

    March 29, 2011 at 10:02 am | Reply
  63. Petr

    1. How can a football analyst say Man United doesnt stand a chance against Chelsea or any other team for that matter? are they not a top team like Chelsea?
    2. Speaking of London, Is Chelsea the only team from there left in the competition? whatever happened to Spurs, didnt even get a mention.
    3. Writing of Inter Milan too if they face Chelsea?
    4. Barca will burn out by May when they meet Chelsea? Will Chelsea be sleeping from now till May to be fresher?

    March 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  64. opeyemi

    I don't agree with your predictions.the reason s that if barca r going to burn like you said, every team from the EPL would burn out. Bcause they've played more games than any other league in european.would really want barca 2 win cause of their style of play, humility of their players.

    March 30, 2011 at 11:24 am | Reply
  65. com4ter

    blue wil rule uefa wtout rula.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Reply
  66. aganzi apoly

    god predict the best

    April 1, 2011 at 1:53 am | Reply
  67. taiwo

    can chelsea EPL and championsleague.isl Torres a good buy for chelsea.

    April 1, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  68. Ram Riva

    The problem that Chelsea has, is called Manchester United...the Red Devils will beat them, and go on to win the Champions League but in the EPL as well....with Sir Alex Ferguson claiming their 19th title....
    So much for their conquest of Europe.....
    GO Manchester United !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!....

    April 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Reply
  69. Lekan Somorin

    I really admire the analysis, but it goes without saying that tenecity and doggedness will win this year's Cup. And I know Chelsea has these. You are very right!

    April 2, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
  70. okomekelvin

    Football is a game of skill strength and starminal and i think chelsea has those quality and that means they will win the title

    April 3, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  71. Pedropintoishigh

    So much for you Inter and Chelsea semi! Both losing 1 legs at home. Utd's midfield is weak but central defence drives them. Schalke won't lose by 3 at home, so whats your final looking like now?

    April 7, 2011 at 6:39 am | Reply
  72. Zlatan32

    Inter is weak as the past couple weeks have shown in both the league and in Europe. Inter will probably put up a better fight vs Schalke who will not probably lose by enough to drop to inter especially in Germany, btw you didn't even mention them in your article a disrespect that will see them through to the semis. Also if the past has said anything Chelsea is weak vs United in Europe and it will be proved again as they take their away goal to Old Trafford where they have not lost yet in the league (yes i know its harder in Europe but their home form is all wins and 1 draw in the league). Real and Barca will clash and it will be a great 2 games hopefully. The winner however in my mind will be homegrown this year as to both Chelsea and United, granted they get through Schalke are used to playing at Wembley where they have played more than any of the other teams.

    April 9, 2011 at 8:38 am | Reply
  73. Asagade niyi.

    i 2 i belive chelseal can win.

    April 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  74. blessing

    Chelsea fans we are going to the top,nothing can stop the blues from going to the top.The God of soccer is our strenght.

    April 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Reply
  75. kevin

    chelsea will never conquer Europe xxx they only attempted it once in 2008 and thats because they had a better squad than theyve got at the moment !!!! United have the experience of the champions league and will triumph over chelsea xx

    April 11, 2011 at 10:38 am | Reply
  76. SAMUEL ADDO

    Chelsea fans we are going to the top,nothing can stop the blues from going to the top.The God of soccer is our strenght.

    April 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  77. Edwin Thomas

    The article was bold! No doubt had me believing that Chelsea could actually go all the way! Guess the Finals will be a repeat of 2009....and I do literally mean a REPEAT!

    April 12, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  78. bube erick

    madrid schalke 04 finals..
    the special 1 can always.i think its like year 2000 or 2002 with real madrid valencia or real madrid bayern leverkusen.madrid and a very inspired side like schalke.come may.

    April 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Reply
  79. Matias

    It looks like the league will be ended with no more than 5 matches to play. The advantage Manchester has over other clubs is impressive. United got better, City got better and all other teams either got worse ot stayed even as the most.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:59 am | Reply

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