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Players for France at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Photo: Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

"At a time when populist politicians are trying to choke off or reroute migration flows, what matters to fans of the [all-European teams in the World Cup] semifinals — England, France, Belgium [eliminated] and Croatia — wasn't the players' ancestry but that they excelled," AP's Angela Charlton writes from Paris.

Why it matters: "Europe owes its sporting power ... to a long-running outreach into poor suburbs or neighborhoods, giving kids of all backgrounds access to coaches and fields and facilities — and teams more talent to choose from."

  • "When England faces Croatia in the ... semifinal match [at 2 p.m. ET today], it will field a team that coach Gareth Southgate says 'represents modern England.' With 11 of 23 players of African or Caribbean descent, it's the country's most diverse national team yet."
  • "France [in the final after yesterday's 1-0 victory over Belgium] has always been a melting pot, and today you can have a croissant for breakfast, West African maafe stew for lunch and couscous for dinner."
  • "That's why it's worth noting the Algerian-Cameroonian roots of France's 19-year-old breakout star Kylian Mbappe."
  • "It's a message that reaches all the way to Africa, where many are turning far-right racist comments about non-white players in Europe on their heads, and are waving the European teams' African connections as a banner of continental pride after their own teams were eliminated."

Be smart: "Soccer glory can only briefly apply a thin veneer over deep divisions within England, profoundly split by Brexit."

Go deeper

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.