Michael Owen will play no further part at the FIFA World Cup finals after being ruled out for at least five months with a cruciate ligament injury in his right knee.
The 26-year-old was substituted after going down while playing a pass in the first minute of England's 2-2 draw with Sweden in Cologne last night. Medical staff had immediately suspected the worst and those fears were realised with the diagnosis following this morning's scan at England's training camp in Baden-Baden. The setback leaves Wayne Rooney, himself just back from injury, and Peter Crouch as Sven-Göran Eriksson's only recognised forwards, with 17-year-old Theo Walcott yet to make an appearance.
Owen, who was winning his 80th cap, had only just recovered from a broken foot suffered while playing for Newcastle United FC on 31 December. He returned to action for two games at the end of the Premiership season before playing in two England friendlies prior to the World Cup. The striker, who cost Newcastle €23.5m from Real Madrid CF last August, had been struggling for fitness and was taken off in the first two matches in Germany against Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago.
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