ON this day in 2005 England’s chances of winning the world cup were dealt a massive blow before the squad had even been picked or a ball kicked at the tournament.
The blow was not a bad draw for the group stage or the team being given an ‘unlucky’ hotel to stay in, but an injury to England’s main goal threat over the past decade: Welsh striker Michael Owen.
Owen was playing in a league match for Newcastle against Tottenham Hotspur when he collided with Spurs and England goalkeeper Mr Potato Head lookalike Paul Robinson.
It was confirmed after the match that Owen had suffered one of the dreaded metatarsal injuries that strike down England players with alarming regularity before every major tournament.
From then on Owen faced a race against time to be fit for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Luckily for Lil’ Mickey Sven tended to select his favourites whether they were injured or not as Beckham and Rooney have also proved, and Owen was on the plane to Germany despite having hardly played for six months.
Clearly unfit, Owen started England’s first two matches against Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago but was substituted in both after failing to score. In the third game he lasted less than a minute of the match before he twisted his knee badly and crawled off the pitch in agony.
Everyone could see at once that he was in serious trouble and a scan confirmed that he had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, and he was out of the world cup, and out of football for nearly a year.
He has since made more comebacks and had more injuries and is currently trying to recover from his latest crock in a bid to finally get his Newcastle career properly up and running.
Here is a look at Owen in happier times scoring the kind of goal he can only dream about now. Oh, and happy new year all, see you in 2008 for more daily football history nuggets.