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Boris Gelfand
Number of games in database: 2,619
Years covered: 1982 to 2015
Last FIDE rating: 2741 (2751 rapid, 2743 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2777
Overall record: +513 -270 =1068 (56.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      768 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Indian (119) 
    E12 E15 E17 E16 E14
 Slav (116) 
    D15 D17 D10 D12 D11
 Semi-Slav (114) 
    D45 D47 D46 D43 D44
 King's Indian (110) 
    E92 E97 E94 E98 E73
 Queen's Gambit Declined (89) 
    D37 D38 D31 D39 D30
 Catalan (80) 
    E06 E04 E01 E09
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (412) 
    B90 B92 B23 B30 B96
 Sicilian Najdorf (222) 
    B90 B92 B96 B93 B91
 Petrov (123) 
    C42 C43
 King's Indian (123) 
    E97 E60 E94 E81 E92
 Slav (90) 
    D12 D11 D17 D19 D10
 Semi-Slav (88) 
    D43 D45 D47 D44 D48
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Gelfand vs Shirov, 1998 1-0
   Mamedyarov vs Gelfand, 2011 0-1
   Gelfand vs Jobava, 2011 1-0
   Gelfand vs Kramnik, 1994 1-0
   Gelfand vs Anand, 2012 1-0
   Gelfand vs Anand, 2012 1/2-1/2
   Gelfand vs Adams, 2013 1-0
   Gelfand vs Anand, 1993 1-0
   Nakamura vs Gelfand, 2013 0-1
   Gelfand vs Aronian, 2013 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2001)
   FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007)
   Anand - Gelfand World Chess Championship (2012)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Manila Interzonal (1990)
   FIDE World Cup (2005)
   Rubinstein Memorial (2000)
   Rising Stars - Experience (2010)
   World Cup (2009)
   Bermuda Round Robin (2004)
   FIDE Grand Prix Paris (2013)
   FIDE Jermuk Grand Prix (2009)
   FIDE Grand Prix London (2012)
   16th Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2007)
   Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup (2008)
   Karen Asrian Memorial (2008)
   Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup (2007)
   20th Amber Tournament (Blindfold) (2011)
   Olympiad (2008)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Match Gelfand! by amadeus
   Gelfand's Games 4 Study by jakaiden
   Boris Gelfand: My Most Memorable Games by Resignation Trap
   English: Boris Gelfand Collection by chess.master
   Boris in the najdorf by deepthinker
   Najdorf - 6. Be3 by pcmvtal
   USSR Championship 1989 by suenteus po 147

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Boris Gelfand
Search Google for Boris Gelfand
FIDE player card for Boris Gelfand

(born Jun-24-1968, 47 years old) Belarus (federation/nationality Israel)

[what is this?]
IM (1987); GM (1989); Soviet Junior Champion (1985); European Junior Champion (1989); Olympiad Gold Medalist (1990); World Cup winner (2009); Candidate (1991, 1994, 2002 (Dortmund - PCA), 2007, 2011 and 2013); World Championship Challenger (2012).


Boris Gelfand's longevity as a player, and his ability to maintain his playing strength, are legendary. Born in Minsk in Belarus (then part of the USSR), he emigrated to Israel in 1998 where he currently resides. One of the most experienced of the elite players in the world, he has been a contender for the World Championship for most of his life, starting in 1991 when he first contested the Candidates, and culminating with his closely fought if unsuccessful challenge for the world crown in 2012 when he was 44 years old.


<Age> Gelfand won the Junior Championship of the Soviet Union with 9/11 in January 1985, at the age of 16, a half point ahead of Vassily Ivanchuk. He came =1st (2nd on count back to Joel Lautier) in the World Junior Championship in 1988 and became European Junior Champion in 1989.

<World> In 1990, Gelfand won the Manila Interzonal to qualify as a Candidate for the 1993 World Championship. At the 1991 Candidates, he prevailed over Predrag Nikolic, but was then defeated in the quarter final by eventual Candidates winner and championship challenger Nigel Short. He qualified for the FIDE 1994 Candidates event by winning the last Interzonal in Biel, beating Michael Adams and Vladimir Kramnik only to lose to Anatoly Karpov in the finals.

Gelfand competed in all the knockout tournaments that either determined the World Championship, or was part of the World Championship cycle apart from the 2004 tournament in Tripoli. In the knockout tournament that was held in Groningen in 1997, he defeated Lautier in round three, where he was seeded directly because of his results in the last FIDE cycle, and then beat Vladislav Tkachiev and Alexey Dreev before bowing out to the winner of the tournament, Viswanathan Anand. In the world championship knockout tournament of 1999 held in Las Vegas, Gelfand was seeded into the second round where he defeated Jonathan Speelman, and then beat Lautier in round three before losing to the eventual winner, Alexander Khalifman. In 1999 in New Delhi, he was again seeded into round 2 where he defeated Emir Dizdarevic, and then Jeroen Piket in round three before he was defeated by Alexey Shirov in round four. In the 2001-02 knockout tournament held in Moscow, Gelfand lost to Peter Svidler in round 5 after defeating Alexis Cabrera, Leinier Dominguez Perez, Aleksander Delchev and Zurab Azmaiparashvili. He played in the 8-player 2002 Dortmund Tournament, which was the Candidates for the Classical World Chess Championship match in 2004, but failed to reach the semi-finals after coming third in the quadrangular round robin preliminary round.

Gelfand finished 6th at the FIDE World Cup (2005), which produced 10 Candidates for the 2007 Candidates tournament, defeating Watu Kobese, Ruben Felgaer, Levan Pantsulaia, and Dreev in the preliminary rounds. In the two rounds of matches at the 2007 Candidates, Gelfand won both the Candidates Match: Gelfand - Kasimdzhanov (2007) and the Candidates Match: Gelfand - Kamsky (2007) to qualify for the FIDE World Championship Tournament (2007) in Mexico City, where he tied for second with Kramnik, a point behind the winner, Anand. Subsequently, he won the World Cup (2009) by defeating Judit Polgar, the then reigning World Junior Champion Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Dmitry Jakovenko, and Sergey Karjakin to reach the final, where he then faced former FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov, winning the match 7-5 in a playoff. In doing so he qualified for the World Championship Candidates (2011) for another shot at the World Championship in 2012. He played and defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov by 2.5-1.5 (+1 =3 -0) in the first round of the World Championship Candidates (2011), moving into the semi final where defeated Gata Kamsky in the tiebreaker; the result was 2-2 (+0 -0 =4) in the classical games, 2-2 (+1 -1 =2) in the rapid tiebreaker, and 1.5-0.5 in his favour in the blitz tiebreaker. He faced Alexander Grischuk in the final match, and after five draws, Gelfand won the sixth and final game thus gaining the right to challenge Viswanathan Anand for the world crown. The Anand - Gelfand World Chess Championship (2012) was played in Moscow in May 2012, and Gelfand lost in the rapid game tiebreaker 1.5-2.5 (-1 =3) after drawing the 12 games played under classical time controls 6-6 (+1 -1 =10). As the loser in the World Championship match, he qualified to play in the World Championship Candidates (2013) in London, where he placed a rating-enhancing 5th with 6.5/14 (+2 -3 =9).

Gelfand’s results in the FIDE Grand Prix 2008-2010 were modest, coming 11th. His 2014 World Championship campaign started well when he placed =1st alongside Veselin Topalov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov at the FIDE Grand Prix London (2012), scoring 7/11 (+4 -1 =6; TPR 2836) and netting GP 140 points from the event. However, his 10th place out of 12 placement at the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2012) and his =9th at the FIDE Grand Prix Beijing (2013) eliminated him for the contest for the top two in the Grand Prix series, and attendant qualification into the 2014 Candidates Tournament. However, a strongly motivated player, Gelfand placed =1st (2nd on tiebreak) at the FIDE Grand Prix Paris (2013) alongside Fabiano Caruana to place 4th in the Grand Prix series with 325 points.

He had another chance to qualify for the Candidates via the World Cup (2013) to which he qualified by rating; he defeated Bangladeshi GM Ziaur Rahman in the first round, Uzbek GM Anton Filippov in the 2nd round and Ukrainian GM Alexander Moiseenko in the third round. However, he was eliminated by eventual semi-finalist French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the Round of 16 (round 4), reversing the same result against the same player in the same round of the World Cup of 2009.

Qualifying by rating for the 2014-15 Grand Prix Series portion of the 2016 World Championship cycle, Gelfand was =1st alongside Fabiano Caruana with 6.5/11 in the first leg of the Series, namely the FIDE Grand Prix Baku (2014). This earned Gelfand 155 GP points. In the second leg, the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2014), Gelfand suffered a lapse of form, placing =11th and earning only an extra 15 GP points. Although he performed strongly at the final leg of the series at FIDE Grand Prix Khanty-Mansiysk (2015), it was insufficient to qualify for the Candidates Tournament of 2016.

His remaining chance to qualify for the Candidates in 2016 by his own effort was dashed at the World Cup (2015), for which he qualified via his rating, when in the shock of the first round he was defeated by the young Chilean IM Cristobal Henriquez Villagra and eliminated from the Cup. His final and somewhat slim chance is to be nominated as the Organizer's wild card entry for the Candidates Tournament.


Gelfand has an imposing tournament record dating back to the late 80s. He won or came =1st at Klajpeda 1988, Majorca (GMA) 1989, Moscow 1992, Wijk aan Zee 1992, Manila 1993, Chalkidiki 1993, Biel 1993, Dos Hermanas 1994, Debrecen and Belgrade in 1995, Vienna and Tilburg in 1996, Polanica Zdroj in 1998 and 2000, and Malmö in 1999. He also won at Pamplona Tournament (2004). In 2005, he was =1st with Pentala Harikrishna at the Bermuda International (2005) and 1st at 38th Biel Chess Festival (2005). In 2010 he was in the Experience Team that narrowly lost against the Rising Stars at the Rising Stars - Experience (2010), although he top scored in the tournament with 7/10. He also won outright first with 7/10 at the 2010 NH Tournament in the Netherlands.

Other strong results include 2nd at Linares 1990, 3rd at Tilburg 1990, 3rd at the Reggio Emilia of 1991/92, 2nd in the category 16 tournament in Munich 1993, 3rd at Dortmund in 1996, 2nd in the 14th Dr Milan Vidmar Memorial tournament in Slovenia, 3rd at Biel 2001, 2nd at the category 18 tournament in Cannes in 2002 behind Topalov, =3rd at Dortmund Sparkassen (2006), and 4th at the Tal Memorial (2006) a half point behind joint leaders, Ponomariov, Peter Leko and Levon Aronian. In 2009, he came 2nd behind Ivanchuk at Bazna Tournament (2009). Also in 2010, he came 2nd in the King's Tournament (2010) behind Magnus Carlsen. In the lead up to his World Championship contest with Anand, Gelfand competed at the category 21 Tata Steel (2012) tournament at Wijk aan Zee, finishing 9th out of 13, scoring 5/13 (+2 -5 =6; TPR 2675). In April/May 2013, he came =1st with 5.5/9 at the category 20 Alekhine Memorial (2013), coming 2nd on tiebreak behind Aronian and then went one better in June with an extraordinary outright win at the category 22 Tal Memorial (2013) - ahead of outright 2nd placed Magnus Carlsen - on the day before his 45th birthday. This result also raised his rating to a career high of 2773 in the July lists and returned him to the top 10.


Gelfand played in ten Chess Olympiads, representing the Soviet Union once (1990), Belarus twice (1994 and 1996), and Israel eight times (2000-2014). In 1990, he won the team gold medal playing board 2 for Soviet Union, in the Olympiad (2008) held in Dresden, he won the team silver medal and also individual silver medal playing board 1 for Israel and in the Chess Olympiad (2010) held in Khantiy Mansiysk, he won team bronze playing board 1 for Israel.


Gelfand is a team player and has participated in the German Bundesliga, and team championships in Israel, Spain, Poland, and Russia. He has also been part of the European Team Championships, the European Club Cup, the Russian Club Cup and the World Team Championships, the last in 2005, 2009 and 2015. One of his best results was assisting his Moscow team ShSM-64 to win the Russian Team Championships (2010) with 16 out of a possible 18 match points. Playing for SHSM-64, he won team bronze at the 28th European Club Cup (2012) concluded in October 2012.


Outside of the world championship cycle, Gelfand has played matches in France against Etienne Bacrot in 2002 which he lost 2.5-3.5, and a drawn match (2-2) against David Navara in the Czech Republic in 2006. In 2015 he lost the Ding Liren - Gelfand (2015) match by 1-3 (=2 -2).


Like most top players, Gelfand is a skilled rapid player. He was =1st with Kramnik in the rapid play section of the 2001 Amber event, and outright 1st in the 2002 edition of Amber's rapid play section. He came first in the 2002 Cap d'Agde, defeating Karpov in the final. In 2003, he defeated Polgar in the George Marx Rapid Match (2003) and in 2007, he came =1st at the Villa de Canada de Calatrava (2007), following up with =1st at the Pivdenny Bank Chess Cup (2008) in Odessa. He also won the 2009 ACP World Rapid Cup (2009) with a 3-1 win over Svidler in the finals and won the Leko - Gelfand Match (2010) rapid match in Hungary by 4.5-3.5. Most recently, he defeated Aronian in the Leon Rapid (2010) and made the final of the London Chess Classic (Knockout) (2013). However in July, he lost a rapid match to Svidler by 3-5.


Gelfand has been one of the top 20 players in the world, rated 2700+, for most of his life.

He first entered the top 100 in July 1988 with a bullet, when he leapt to #33 in the world while still an IM, one who had just turned 20, and has remained in the top 100 since that time.

His highest ranking to date at was in January 1991 when he was #3 in the world behind Kasparov and Karpov, with a rating of 2700. With the exception of March 2012 (when he was ranked #22 in the world), Gelfand has remained in the top 20 since January 1990. He has also been rated 2700+ since January 1990.

Gelfand's highest rating to date was 2777 in November 2013 when he was ranked #7 in the world.


In 2005, Gelfand published a book titled My Most Memorable Games.

Interview: Part 1 -; Part 2 - and Part 3 - Live rating list: Extended biography of Gelfand at the official FIDE 2012 World Championship website: Article by the Indian Express dated 6 May 2012:

Last updated 13 September 2015

 page 1 of 106; games 1-25 of 2,645  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Gelfand vs Veremeichik 0-147 1982 MinskE12 Queen's Indian
2. B Itkis vs Gelfand  1-040 1983 BLR-chA48 King's Indian
3. Gelfand vs Veremeichik  1-059 1983 BLR-chA46 Queen's Pawn Game
4. B Maryasin vs Gelfand 1-066 1983 BLR-chB95 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6...e6
5. Gelfand vs V Litvinov  1-037 1983 BLR-chB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
6. S Yuferov vs Gelfand  1-054 1983 BLR-chA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
7. V Dydyshko vs Gelfand  1-041 1983 BLR-chE94 King's Indian, Orthodox
8. Gelfand vs B Malisov  1-056 1983 BLR-chB07 Pirc
9. P Korzubov vs Gelfand 0-157 1983 BLR-chB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
10. Gelfand vs A Kovalev  0-138 1983 BLR-chB62 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer
11. M Golubev vs Gelfand ½-½49 1985 KlaipedaB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
12. Gelfand vs Ivanchuk ½-½19 1985 USSRC05 French, Tarrasch
13. S Temirbaev vs Gelfand  1-053 1985 URSE80 King's Indian, Samisch Variation
14. Gelfand vs Ulibin 1-030 1985 YurmalaC03 French, Tarrasch
15. Gelfand vs Glek  ½-½32 1985 tE73 King's Indian
16. T Tabatadze vs Gelfand  ½-½55 1985 LeningradB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
17. Dreev vs Gelfand  1-041 1986 Ch URSE12 Queen's Indian
18. Gelfand vs Ivanchuk  ½-½40 1986 USSRE04 Catalan, Open, 5.Nf3
19. S Zagrebelny vs Gelfand ½-½31 1986 MinskB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
20. Ivanchuk vs Gelfand 1-026 1986 Sochi (Russia)E06 Catalan, Closed, 5.Nf3
21. M Sorokin vs Gelfand  1-041 1986 SochiB23 Sicilian, Closed
22. Gelfand vs G Orlov  1-085 1986 MinskC07 French, Tarrasch
23. Oll vs Gelfand  0-154 1986 Minsk (Belarus)D55 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. J Klovans vs Gelfand ½-½43 1986 USSRB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
25. Y Yakovich vs Gelfand  ½-½29 1986 MinskD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
 page 1 of 106; games 1-25 of 2,645  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Gelfand wins | Gelfand loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 33 OF 33 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Oct-09-14  fisayo123: Boris is as good as he's ever been. Very impressive. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Album 61> is a fraud. The real documentary is <Album 60>.
Oct-13-14  Conrad93: It's weird how Gelfand's best years are in his forties.
Oct-13-14  N0B0DY: and facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Oct-14-14  fisayo123: FIDE Grand Prix London 2012 : joint winner

FIDE Grand Prix Paris 2013 : joint winner

Tal Memorial 2013 : winner

FIDE Grand Prix Baku 2014 : joint winner

All in the space of 2 years (age 44-46). Very impressive from Gelfand.

Oct-14-14  JimNorCal: From this week's (issue 1040) The Week In Chess: "The FIDE Grand Prix in Baku is set for a close finish with Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand leading by half a point going into the final round."

What the hey? How can this guy be so good at this advanced age?

I join those who add him to that select group of players like Korchnoi and Lasker who maintained their strength.

Oct-29-14  SirRuthless: It is easy to see the effects of this schedule on Boris. He goes from winning the last event and then suddenly his game is deteriorating. I doubt he would even be playing this event had FIDE not manipulated the players who couldn't play the Iran GP date into playing this ridiculous schedule. It is even more outrageous that due to the Iranian GM's refusal to play with Boris, that the Iran GP event has been canceled and moved to Georgia without the players who signed on to this oppressive schedule being given the opportunity to select the Georgia event instead of playing 22 games in roughly 30 days. Shame on FIDE!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Absentee: <It is even more outrageous that due to the Iranian GM's refusal to play with Boris, that the Iran GP event has been canceled and moved to Georgia without the players who signed on to this oppressive schedule being given the opportunity to select the Georgia event instead of playing 22 games in roughly 30 days.>


Is this the actual reason or your speculation?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <It is even more outrageous that due to the Iranian GM's refusal to play with Boris, that the Iran GP event has been canceled and moved to Georgia without the players who signed on to this oppressive schedule being given the opportunity to select the Georgia event instead of playing 22 games in roughly 30 days. Shame on FIDE!>

Eight players had to play both Tashkent and Baku. The transfer of the third leg to Georgia from Iran is immaterial in that regard. I trust you aren't suggesting that Gelfand deserves special treatment on the grounds of age or ethnicity.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <A lot of these ideas are built under wrong presumptions which officials have that chess players are lazy bastards whose sole idea is to deceive (the) public and to make short draws and go home. It's not true. It's a lie. (On the Sofia Corsica rule)> - Boris Gelfand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: In a 33-minute interview with Tania Kisilevski from the Russian TV station ETV Boris Gelfand now revealed interesting things about his life as a chess professional:
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <The good thing in chess is that very often the best moves are the most beautiful ones. The beauty of logic> - Boris Gelfand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <When I analyse a position, I have a sparring partner (Alexander Huzman - ed.) who understands chess amazingly well. In a way I feel sorry for him, because of his work with me he cannot play as much chess as he wants. He more or less gave up his playing career> - Boris Gelfand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <If you watch it, you should watch it with other players and try to find moves, like it was before. Now on many sites you watch together with the computer and the pleasure is gone> (on watching broadcast games) - Boris Gelfand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <A lot of these ideas are built under wrong presumptions which officials have that chess players are lazy bastards whose sole idea is to deceive (the) public and to make short draws and go home. It's not true. It's a lie. (On the Sofia Corsica rule)> - Boris Gelfand.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Yes. There is also the Chinese school. I think this is set by the founder. In Riga, it was Tal, and it is understandable that then people like Vitolins, Shabalov and Shirov played like they do.

And, let us say, In Minsk, at the start of the 1950s, there were Boleslavsky and Sokolsky. Naturally, they taught a serious approach to opening set-ups, with a clear preference for dynamics. So, the King’s Indian, various Sicilian set-ups, and this starting all the way from children’s tournaments. Openings such as the Queen’s Gambit and Queen’s Indian we did not know at all, I played the King’s Indian and Najdorf from the age of six. Boleslavsky did not only teach Kapengut, he also read lectures to other trainers> - Boris Gelfand, talking about the different schools of chess, including his native Belarus, in an interview at Why Chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Take reasonable decisions, respect chess players and chess traditions, and please don’t make changes just to initiate activity> - Boris Gelfand, offering his advice to FIDE and the Israeli Chess Federation, as given in Chess, May 2013, page 7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Enjoy playing chess, enjoy studying chess and don’t spend too much time with chess engines> - Boris Gelfand, offering his advice for the club player, as given in Chess, May 2013, page 7.
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: "Any attempt to emulate the engines and their 2,000,000 moves a second is doomed to fail. We need to supplement calculation with all other weapons available. And one of these is intuition, which is strongly rooted in pattern recognition. When you have “uploaded” a lot of chess patterns to your brain in your childhood, you will often have a very strong suspicion regarding what the right move is in a position, even though you have no idea why..."

(Boris Gelfand: "Positional Decision Making in Chess", Quality Chess, Expected release 17 June 2015)

Premium Chessgames Member
  jamesmaskell: Just read the excerpt to that book <cro777>. Looks like a really good book. Always loved his honesty.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: For a long time chess players haven't looked like chess players. Even Spassky didn't look totally like a chess player. Ivanchuk does and do does our Boris. Well done to that pair of ex-Ukrainians.
Jul-13-15  Troller: <ex-Ukrainians> Boris is from Minsk, Belarus. I believe he actually played some team events for Belarus before emigrating to Israel.

But he certainly looks like a chess player, and, like Ivanchuk, he has tremendous love for the game. After the WC match in 2012 Boris said that he "enjoyed every second of the match" or something to that effect.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Troller: <ex-Ukrainians> Boris is from Minsk, Belarus....>

Quite right! I seem to have been conflating White Russians and Ukrainians.

Anyway, I think his recent book will be a very good read. He is a real thinker.

Aug-10-15  fisayo123:
Sep-13-15  Howard: This just in....Gelfand has been eliminated from the World Cup !
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