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Michael Owen backs England’s old foe for World Cup glory

Owen Goal

The former Liverpool and Manchester United striker believes that Argentina are well placed to win the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

As a player, Michael Owen was a thorn in the side of Argentina, scoring a solo goal against La Albiceleste in their famous second round encounter at France 1998 as well as winning the penalty that David Beckham converted four years later in Japan in a 1-0 win over the South Americans.

But as a pundit, it would appear that the former Three Lions hero is very much Team Argentina when it comes to predicting a winner in Brazil this summer, with the former Liverpool favourite backing the blue and whites to go all the way.

Speaking at an event in Hong Kong, the one-time Real Madrid player highlighted the incredible array of attacking talent at their disposal as the main reason behind his prediction.

The 34-year-old spoke in particularly glowing terms of Lionel Messi who, despite an indifferent season at Barcelona, looks well primed to perform for the national team.

“I know Brazil is next door but I think they are playing basically in their home conditions and I think that this is Messi’s time to shine on the world stage,” he said.

“Some people would argue that you can’t be considered the best player of all time unless you do win the World Cup but I’m sure that he will want to perform very well.

He was keen to highlight the depth of the squad available to Argentina, adding: “They’ve got some fabulous players in (Angel) Di Maria and Messi, Higuain, and Aguero - lots of top-class players.”

The comments buck the current trend for backing the hosts Brazil and, in truth, are somewhat surprising given the perceived animosity between Owen and Argentina, with the two enjoying something of a difficult past in the competition.

Countdown favourite Rachel Riley went against the experts last week, however, after picking Chile to go all the way.

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