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Michael Owen Admits He Was 'Guilty' Of Diving For England Against Argentina

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Michael Owen has admitted he was "guilty" of going to ground too easily when playing for England against Argentina at two successive World Cups.

Before he scored his iconic goal in St Etienne at France 98 Owen, then 18, won a penalty under what appeared to be little or no contact from a challenge by Roberto Ayala in the round-of-16 knockout tie.

Then four years later he earned England another spotkick versus the Argentinians in the second group match in Sapporo after Mauricio Pochettino was adjudged to have tripped him by highly respected referee Pierluigi Collina.

Again many were dubious about Owen's tumble as England beat Argentina in a competitive match for the first time since 1966. Ten years later, he has now finally come clean.

"I have been guilty [of going down too easily] 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? Probably."

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"Then four years later Collina gave me a penalty again against Argentina. Again, I could have stayed on my feet - the defender caught me and I did have a decent gash down my shin from it but I could have stayed up.

"It's a very difficult subject to talk about, especially to people who have not played the game. There is a major skill in trying to outwit an opponent."

Coincidentally Collina was sat a matter of feet away from Owen at the summit held at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge.

Despite numerous British players being found guilty of simulation many within English football in particular continue to blame the influx of foreign players for its rise.

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