One of the things to keep in mind about the list vs. just slap the anchors in a single container approach, is the grammar of it.
Anchors do NOT change the grammar/meaning of what they are around. It might be saying "yes this is an anchor" -- but if I made the sentence:
My most recent retroGame, [Paku Paku is a classic DOS game written in [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbo_Pascal]Turbo Pascal. I have managed to make it available online using the [url=http://jdosbox.sourceforge.net/]Java Port of DosBox](http://www.cutcodedown.com/retroGames/pakuLive/).
The presence of links in the above paragraph does not change the meaning of it's sentences... It's all just CDATA and it makes sense links or no...
Now, as a single sentence/phrase/paragraph does:
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Make any sense at all? that's what just slapping anchors in there with no block level containers around them does.
NOT that I would be using IMG tags for those -- it makes hover states harder, doesn't gracefully degrade, etc, etc... That's what image replacement is for.
Oh, and I'd also stop opening and closing php every line and make that all a single echo statement -- gah that drives me nutters; but I'm the whackjob who wants to see <?php and ?> COMPLETELY REMOVED from the PHP specification.
If I was writing that same section of markup, it would probably end up thus:
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Everything else handled in the CSS.