English players are divers too, says Michael Owen

Stoke striker says he could have stayed on his feet in World Cup ties against Argentina

Michael Owen last night admitted he could have stayed on his feet when he won penalties against Argentina at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, but insisted he did not "dive". The striker said three-quarters of players who go down in the penalty box after contact with a defender could stay on their feet, but part of the skill of being a striker was luring your opponent into conceding a penalty. This, he made clear, was different to simulating contact which he did not condone.

"I'd say that 75 per cent of people could stay on their feet for a penalty, and if they get touched and go down it is almost, 'he got touched so it's OK to go down'," said Owen. "I have been guilty as well. I played at the 1998 World Cup against Argentina and I was running flat out, got a nudge, went down. Could I have stayed up? Yes probably."

That was in St Étienne, in a round of 16 tie. Alan Shearer scored from the spot-kick but England went out on penalties. Owen was speaking at Leaders in Sport at Stamford Bridge where he was sharing a platform with Pierluigi Collina. Turning to the Italian former referee Owen added: "Four years later you gave me a penalty against Argentina. Again I could have stayed on my feet – the defender's caught me and I did have a decent gash down my shin from it, but I could have stayed up."

That was a group stage game in Sapporo. David Beckham scored, England progressed with a 1-0 win, Argentina went out. In both cases the defender made contact with Owen and he added: "There is a major skill in trying to outwit an opponent. In a one-against-one you're trying to draw people, to commit them, to get into the box because you know as soon as you have got them in the box they are petrified of sticking a leg out.

"There is a part of a striker that tries to entice the leg to come out to win a penalty. It is a skill and it has been done for years and years.

"I'm totally against diving, I have never been for it or sought to get a penalty without being touched, but you try to push the boundaries to win a game for your team without cheating."


Get Adobe Flash player


Owen added: "Diving, simulation, is worse than 10 years ago. English players are as guilty of foreign players are of doing it but the foreign players started the ball rolling.

"When I was young and watched Italian players doing it and it didn't happen here."

Also on the platform was the Wigan Athletic manager, Roberto Martinez. "I had a player that used to dive a lot – he wasn't British," said Martinez.

"When you are in Spain and when you are young to be able to get decisions and penalties from referees is as good a skill as being a good defender, it is not seen as cheating. It is as seen as getting something back for the team. Here we see it as cheating."

Collina had the final word: "A player has a right to fall down if a foul was committed. If he falls down and there is no contact this is cheating."

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments