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Michael Owen admits World Cup guilt after going down to win penalties for England at

Oct 2, 2012
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Three-quarters of players who go down under a challenge to win penalties are capable of staying on their feet, Michael Owen has claimed.

Owen admitted he was guilty of going down under minimal contact in his own career, most notably when winning penalties in successive World Cup finals against Argentina, in 1998 and 2002, though he maintained both challenges were legitimate fouls.

The Stoke City striker said maximising challenges such as those from Roberto Ayala (Saint-Etienne, 1998) and Mauricio Pochettino (Sapporo, 2002) was a legitimate skill distinct from blatant diving, which he believes has risen with the increase in foreign players coming into English football.

Owen’s manager, Tony Pulis, called for retrospective three-match bans to be handed to players who dive following an incident in last Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Anfield, in which Liverpool striker Luis Suárez executed an extravagant dive without being touched.

The Tottenham winger, Gareth Bale, was also criticised for a fall in the home win against Aston Villa when replays showed goalkeeper Brad Guzan had not touched him