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Morning briefing

Times Staff Writer

In the new EA Sports soccer video game Euro 2008, players can choose their country and try to captain their team to the title. Should they win, they get a medal ceremony, complete with their national anthem.

Unless, of course, they are from Northern Ireland.

EA Sports mistakenly programmed the game to play “The Soldier’s Song” upon Northern Ireland’s victories. That is the national anthem for Ireland. Northern Ireland’s is “God Save the Queen.”

Name That Tune isn’t their game

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“Obviously there’s has been a lack of knowledge on the makers’ part,” Northern Ireland Sports Minister Gregory Campbell told Northern Ireland newspaper the Londonderry Sentinel.

EA Sports has since apologized.

Trivia time

Northern Ireland did not qualify for the Euro 2008 finals, finishing third in its group, but one of its players set a European Championship qualifying tournament record for goals scored. Who was he?

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Caught without his pants

Former Auburn football coach Pat Dye lost his pants.

That was more than 20 years ago, and those pants recently resurfaced in Lake Martin, Ala., near where Dye lived in the early 1980s.

Lake Magazine said resident Shannon McDuffie spotted the pants along the bank of the lake and found Dye’s wallet and keys in the pocket.

She tracked down Dye through Auburn.

“I do remember those pants,” Dye told the magazine. “I don’t have any idea how I lost them, but we can make up a good story.”

Gridiron greats

The 20th anniversary of Notre Dame’s 1988 football championship is this year and the school will honor coach Lou Holtz by unveiling a statue before the Fighting Irish play Michigan on Sept. 13.

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That got Lou Somogyi of the Fighting Irish website BlueandGold.com thinking about some of the classic one-liners Holtz uttered.

Among them:

“If I was ever murdered, they’d have to cancel the investigation because there would be too many suspects.” -- On making himself the enemy to unify players.

“When they put a back in his grave, they ought to be able to pry his elbow away from his body and find a football somewhere in between.” -- On running backs.

“I am glad you brought it to my attention. I was not aware of that. I am not trying to be offensive to anybody. To the Southern Cal people, I apologize.” -- On USC’s desire to not be called Southern Cal.

Smooth as . . .

Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson will get the ultimate honor next month.

Competing in the Olympics? Well, yes, there is that. But there is also the sculpture Sarah Pratt plans to make for the Iowa State Fair.

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Pratt is a butter sculptor whose past creations include Tiger Woods, Elvis Presley, John Wayne and Harry Potter.

The Johnson statue will use about 600 to 700 pounds of butter.

“I thought the butter Harry Potter last year was cool,” Shawn’s mother, Teri Johnson, told the Des Moines Register. “Butter Shawn will be pretty cool too.”

Trivia answer

David Healy, who had two hat tricks in scoring 13 of Northern Ireland’s 17 goals.

And finally

Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Maddon was recently a victim of identity theft, and somebody had been charging gas on his debit card.

“With the price of gas these days, I would have preferred they had gone to Tiffany,” Maddon told the Tampa Tribune.

--

peter.yoon@latimes.com


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