Diving debate

Owen hits back at press over diving claim

October 11, 2012
By ESPN staff

Stoke City striker Michael Owen has hit back at claims in the press that he has previously dived to win penalties.

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Owen, 32, revealed on Wednesday how he had gone down easily to win spot kicks while playing for England in the 1998 and 2002 World Cup matches against Argentina.

However, the former Manchester United man took to Twitter on Thursday morning to attempt to set the record straight, after he believed he was made to sound like he dived to win the penalties.

"Final word on yesterday. Not for the first time, I feel a bit let down by the British press," he tweeted. "To have a headline saying: Owen 'I dived to win a penalty' is disgraceful.

"To clarify, I have never won a penalty through diving and didn't say so yesterday, despite what the headlines say. I have, however, gone down, WHEN FOULED, when I could have stayed on my feet.

"This is a regular occurrence in every league in the World. In two separate World Cups against Argentina, this was the case."

Owen also attempted to stress the difference between what he sees as going down when fouled, despite being able to stay on your feet, and blatant diving.

"As Pierluigi Collina said yesterday, "If touched and fouled, a player has every right to go to ground." If that is wrong then virtually every foul that is seen on a football field is wrong," he tweeted.

"Very few tackles are delivered with the force required to knock somebody off their feet. It is an art for an attacking player to entice a defender to make a wrong decision.

"To clarify: I have never dived to win a penalty without being touched. I don't condone it and I think it should be stamped out of the game."