Owen reflects on 'passion for football' in France

Former England ace Michael Owen reflects on the 1998 FIFA World Cup – "the tournament that announced me to the football world" – ahead of UEFA EURO 2016, also in France.

Owen: Le rendez-vous

Former England striker Michael Owen looks back on the 1998 FIFA World Cup – "the tournament that announced me to the world of football".

That was the last time France played host to a major finals, though they will do so again when UEFA EURO 2016 comes around. Owen, who had only broken into the Liverpool FC team in the 1997/98 Premier League campaign, forced his way into Glenn Hoddle's England set-up in time for the global showpiece. He did not disappoint either, scoring a sensational goal against Argentina in the World Cup round of 16.

"It was the tournament that probably announced me to the world of football," he said. "It was obviously a great tournament – I was 18 and I came thinking I would play a part, but expected to probably come off the bench once or twice. Obviously the goal that I scored has been replayed many times since – it was certainly a goal that changed my life and the way people saw me.

"France is a real passionate place for football, obviously, and after winning the World Cup back then there've been so many players who have come and graced our shores in the Premier League. So it has a history of creating players and blooding young players and certainly the fans as well – I think football is one of their big passions. We've got a great rivalry with them in England, but we certainly have a lot of respect for their national team."

Watch the full interview in the video above.