9 Jun 2014
In - Football

In April 2014 former England striker Michael Owen, having played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, signed for another massive club - Men United- and raised over £25,000 by running the Virgin Money London Marathon.

Now one of our key signings this seasons gives Men United his take on the World Cup and England's chances in Brazil.

England were on the receiving end of the most famous goal in his career, but the former England striker Michael Owen has backed Argentina to win the 2014 World Cup.

Frontman Owen waltzed through to score an iconic goal against the South Americans during a thrilling knock-out clash in 1998, a strike he ranks as the best in his career.*

Some 16 years on he pointed to the firepower of La Albiceleste as a potential difference-maker in a tournament hosted by their fierce rivals Brazil.

“Argentina are my tip,” he said. “I just think with Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero up front, if they keep it half tight at the back then surely two players of that calibre are going to score plenty of goals.

It’s in their continent, they won’t be compromised by weather, or altitude and anything else that can play a part in these things. I think they’ve got an exceptional team and if I had to pick one team it would be them.”

Michael Owen _640x 438

Picture: Michael Owen signs for Men United.

Wayne Rooney grabbed his 39th goal for his country in the recent 2-2 against Ecuador in Miami to move to within one of Owen in the all-time England scoring charts.

And Owen is tipping the striker and his youthful teammates to spring a surprise in the tournament, which kicks offagainst Italy in Manaus on 14 June.

“I think we’ve got some really good players,” he said. “We have got some young attacking talent and pace and can score goals, the likes of [Daniel] Sturridge, Sterling, [Adam] Lallana and [Ross] Barclay.

“There are certain players that if they get an opportunity they could just spring a surprise, and carry all before them. You never know. But I do think we’ve got some real good talent.”

Owen visited the Prostate Cancer UK offices in London Bridge to deliver a cheque for £25,681.28 recently, and delivered his World Cup prediction during a unique head-to-head with the company’s Chief Executive, and namesake, Owen Sharp.

In homage to a comedy sketch made famous by legendary double act Smith and Jones, ‘When Owen Met Owen’ discusses Michael’s marathon efforts, including his reasons for representing Prostate Cancer UK.

Watch when Owen met Owen - Owen Sharp, Prostate Cancer UK's Chief Executive gets up in the grill of one of England's greatest goalscorers.

Meanwhile, Owen has selected his top five World Cup memories for Prostate Cancer UK.

  1. My goal against Argentina was the World Cup I’ll always remember most fondly. So that was probably number one.*
  2. That would be Italia 90, Gazza [Paul Gascoigne] crying, Gary Lineker scoring goals and David Platt scoring in the last minute against Belgium. 1990 was probably the first World Cup that I remembered fondly as a kid.
  3. That would have to be the Hand of God and Diego Maradona. Obviously that broke our hearts but he had a wonderful tournament and was certainly the star man.
  4. I’d say the tournament in Japan and South Korea. I played in it and scored against Brazil in the quarter-finals, so I had a fond memory of that tournament.
  5. Obviously it was before my time but the 1966 world cup has to be in there as well. England winning it will forever be in everyone’s memory. I wasn’t born at the time but just seeing all the footage, what an occasion it must have been.

For more World Cup mania from Men United read football writer Michael Cox's (Zonal Marking.net and Guardian's Football Weekly podcast) top five World Cup risks that back fired.


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