EA Sports Assigns Ireland’s Anthem to N. Ireland

UEFA Euro 2008, the latest recycling of code base from EA Sports, is your typical soccer game. (In fact, it’s basically FIFA ‘08 with a few minor additions and new players.) However, the nationalistic aspect has been played up. You can fight for the opportunity to captain your country’s team. You get to see your flag fly high when you play.

You also even get to hear your country’s anthem play before your matches. Unless, of course, you’re from Northern Ireland. Instead of hearing “God Save the Queen“, Northern Ireland’s anthem as a constituent country of the United Kingdom, players of Northern Ireland will hear “The Soldier’s Song“. That would be the anthem of the Republic of Ireland. Oops.

George Best and special friend

(You don’t want this fellow to rise from the dead, EA Sports, to put his boot in your arse; he was just ornery enough to do it)

No big deal, though, right? It’s not like Northern Ireland has been at the center of a bloody ethnocentric war between Unionists and Nationalists for generations that could be inflamed in the slightest by seeing Northern Ireland’s proud sports warriors vow to play for the Republic of Ireland in song. Thank goodness, right?
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Blog-O-Rama: Agent Zero Really Worth $126 Mil?

• MR. IRRELEVANT believes that the Wizards signing Gilbert Arenas to a $126 million deal is worth the mountain of moolah.

Gilbert Arenas

• DC SPORTS BLOG learns that cute young girls love to have their pictures taken with Clinton Portis, even if they don’t know who he is.

• JOE SPORTS FAN changes the channel, as ESPN dedicates a full hour of airtime to announce the nominees for their ESPY Awards.

Greg Oden heads back to school to take a biology class, but not before he stops by the Taste of Chicago.

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Best B-Day Wishes For B-Ball Babe Claudia Porras

We enjoy getting the MAXIM-um fun out of NFL cheerleader photo shoots.

We wish a happy birthday to Bolivian basketball babe Claudia Porras!

Claudia Porras Photos

Manny Ramirez socks the Sox’s traveling secretary over ticket troubles.

• A conservative website runs news of sprinter Tyson Gay by referring to him as Tyson Homosexual.

• Spain’s Euro 2008 success was bad news for Madrid’s erotic film festival.

• Now that Charles Barkley is all paid up, who’s Steve Wynn to sue now? Answer: The NBA & Alonzo Mourning’s charity organization.

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Blog Jam: Kerry Wood Caught In A Flippant Mood

• LARRY BROWN SPORTS flips through the channels, and finds FOX cameras catching the Cubs’ Kerry Wood flipping the bird in the bullpen.

Kerry Wood flipoff

Wood really shouldn’t be doing that - such hand gestures might land Kerry right back on the DL.

Stephanie Stradley of AOL FANHOUSE floats along rumors of Cedric Benson joining up with the Houston Texans.

• DEADSPIN discovers that Kevin Love is well-versed in the Cheez Doodle aura of Stephen A. Smith heckling.

• WITH LEATHER turns green at the news that this year’s Olympic sailing competition is threatened by algae.

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Joy Of Cesc Tops Joy Of Sex For Spanish Fans

Congratulations once again to the Spanish national soccer team, or “La Furia Roja,” as they’re known in their home country, for shaking off the years of frustration, failure, and choking since their last Euro win in 1964.

Cesc Fabregas and dancer

But that success took its toll in parts back home: the International Erotic Film Festival of Barcelona reported a serious decline in attendance on Saturday. Aiming for the same audience, the festival had obviously expected the Spaniards to do their usual (up to now) disappearing act in the knock out rounds.

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Blog-A-Roni: AVP Tour Fan Heads Above The Rest

• The NEW YORK TIMES volleys up the tale of one obsessive AVP fan.

AVP fan with forehead tattoo

• SIGNAL TO NOISE serves up SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s lead tennis writer defending Justin Gimelstob’s little anti-Anna Kournikova rant.

• ESPN’s Pedro Gomez discovers the stadium that hosted Sunday’s Euro 2008 final also once hosted Jewish inmates as a World War II Nazi prison.

• PRO FOOTBALL TALK can’t stand the new Chiefs’ stadium policy, and you won’t stand for it, either.

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Spain Conquers Germany, Demands Hair Products

So remember when we told you that today offered some of the best spectacle an American soccer fan could hope for and that you should drop everything and tune in for the day? We remember it like it was this morning. Yeah. We’ve discussed this before, but we’re kind of an idiot.

In the primer, the L.A. Galaxy wilted in the D.C. heat to lose the Battle of the Abbreviated Locale Names, 4-1. D.C. United held such control that Known Invalid Ben Olsen even participated in a little ball touching near the end. Still… hey, scoring, right? That’s good, no?

Michael Ballack at Euro 2008

If so, perhaps we should have dropped that hint around Germany or Spain. In a word: gack.

In the Euro 2008 final, Spain dominated much of the match but could only score once in the 33rd minute. Captain Hair (aka Fernando Torres) outclassed German keeper Jens Lehmann for the only recordable action of the final.
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Blog Expo-Fest-O-Rama: Let’s Get It On (Later)

• DEADSPIN tells us about the marriage of the year (if the year was 1982): Chris Evert and Greg Norman.

Chris Evert Greg Norman wedding

• We now know how to tell if she’s got real ones or fake ones. Unfortunately, it involves NFL jerseys. Still, good to know.

David Stern shaking hands == Tiger Woods giving high-fives.

• We’re so glad to hear Enrique Iglesias can find work. Over there. Not here. Singing the Euro 2008 official song. We assume that the Euro 2008 official song is “National Team in a Coma” in honor of England’s inability to attend. Read more…

Keeping Eye Out For Groin Stomps, Fake Rivalries

UPDATE: Groin pounding from the MLS game after the jump.

In a few hours, the Euro 2008 final will commence in Vienna with Germany and Spain renewing a rivalry that… okay, has never really existed. Both teams will be missing perhaps their best player (Michael Ballack for Germany; David Villa for Spain), leaving the outcome of the match in serious doubt. Therefore, as the kids say, you’ll have to tune in: same Euro time, same Euro channel.

(We’ll be snarking away like one of the gals here during the match, and then checking out the analysis here.)

Euro 2008 mascots

We’ll also be taking in the undercard at noon ET, much to the glee of MLS: they’ve put the two most popular and famous teams in the league on national television just before the Euro 2008 final in hopes of reminding everyone that football soccer is still played in America and isn’t that cool and did you see we have David Beckham?
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Dutch Soccer Fans Will Follow Anything in Orange

Remember when you heard as a kid that lemmings will follow each other off a cliff without any thought just because the herd in front went off the cliff? Then remember when you found out Walt Disney shoved them all off the cliff for better film? Didn’t you feel a bit betrayed?

Lemmings video game

(This is the Lemmings video game. We are huge dorks.)

Fret no further, scarred little child within. There are such lemmings in the wild. Unfortunately for Disney, they aren’t actual lemmings; they’re Dutch soccer fans. They will pursue anything wearing their team color of orange, including Swiss railroad workers onto the tracks.

That’s why the Swiss rail workers have switched to yellow vests during Euro 2008; officials are afraid their cow catchers can’t scrape all the Netherlands denizens from the tracks in time after Dutch fans followed a rail worker around in Berne.
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