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PA via Reuters Recently arrived Afghan citizens take part in a cricket match with members of Newport Pagnell Town Cricket Club in Buckinghamshire, organised by the club as a gesture to welcome them to the UK.

If the Taliban builds a cricket stadium, will the world come?

The Taliban – which likes to use stadiums for public executions – now has ambitious plans to build a cutting-edge new sports facility for something else: cricket.

Afghanistan is cricket-crazy. Their underdog team pulled off a series of upsets at last year’s world cup – a momentary distraction from the country’s withering economic crisis. And although the squad still plays under the flag of the US-backed pre-Taliban government, they have powerful fans in Kabul – including Anas Haqqani, a Taliban official associated with a notorious terrorist group bearing his name – who provide political cover.

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Hinata Miyazawa (2nd from L) of Japan celebrates with teammates after scoring her team's third goal in the first half of a Women's World Cup


Women’s world cup: New faces defy expectations

Four years ago, FIFA expanded the Women’s World Cup from 24 to 32 teams, putting it on par with the men’s tournament. And as this year's tournament enters the knockout round of 16, it's clear that the move to capitalize on women’s soccer’s momentum is paying off.

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Morocco line-up during the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match against Portugal in Doha, Qatar.

Jose Breton via Reuters Connect

What’s it worth to crush it at the World Cup?

Whether or not underdog Morocco beats France in the World Cup semifinals on Wednesday, one thing is sure: Becoming the first African or Arab nation to get this far in the biggest sporting event on the planet stands to get Morocco more than on-field glory in Qatar.

The Atlas Lions probably didn't expect to have such an amazing run, but their overperformance is no coincidence. It’s the fruit of decades of heavy investment by the kingdom in developing its players as part of Morocco’s broader sports diplomacy.

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