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Andrea Pirlo

In the wake of England's shootout loss to Italy in the Euro 2012 quarter-final last Sunday, the English media have been inundated with stories pondering the Three Lions' inability to seriously compete with the best soccer nations in the world. They only had to look across the halfway line for the answer. The seemingly ageless Pirlo distributed 115 passes in the game, more than all four England midfielders combined, and after seeing off Germany on Thursday, he is now one win away from an unexpected, but well-deserved, triumph.

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Stephanie Hightower

The president of the United States Track and Field Federation has been taking a lot of heat these past few days over her federation's inability to solve the dead heat for third place, and an Olympic berth, in the women's 100 metres at last Saturday's Olympic trials. "I honestly can't tell you why a protocol wasn't in place," she said. "No one ever thought through it." Which is surprising, seeing as Hightower herself was denied a place in the 1984 Olympics when she finished in a three-way tie for second in the hurdles in the trials.

Ivo Karlovic

If Andy Murray didn't have enough reasons to win his second-round encounter with Karlovic Thursday, he certainly found a new one afterwards. The Croat, who lost in four sets after committing 11 foot faults, accused Wimbledon of preferential treatment. "The whole credibility of this tournament went down for me," he said. "I'm angry about it, a little bit pissed, because I don't expect it here. Even though it is against an English guy who they always want to win." Wonder if the Scottish-born Murray has ever met the "English guy" of which he speaks?

Nick Johnson

Consistency at the plate has led the Orioles first baseman/designated hitter to a more-than-respectable .399 on-base percentage. Unfortunately, his consistency on the disabled list means he has never played a full 162-game season, and his chance to do that in this, his 13th year as a major-leaguer, went up in smoke last Thursday when he was placed on the 15-day DL with a wrist injury.

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Mitt Romney

The U.S. presidential candidate hardly coated himself in glory this week, dressing down the incumbent, President Barack Obama, for "taunting" Red Sox fans by bringing up the Kevin Youkilis trade during a visit to Boston Monday. "The Red Sox have suffered many setbacks over the years," said a Romney spokesperson afterward in comparing the situations. "The Babe Ruth trade, the ball through Buckner's legs, the Bucky Dent home run." Yes, and clearly losing a 33-year-old third baseman batting .241 is on par with the most heartbreaking moments in Red Sox history.

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