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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 18 April, 2014

Fall guy: Michael Owen admits to diving for England

The Stoke striker admitted to ‘winning’ spotters against Argentina in two World Cups.

STOKE STRIKER Michael Owen has confessed to diving to win a penalty while playing for England.

Owen’s club manager Tony Pulis last week called for players who dive to be given retrospective bans, following Luis Suarez’s attempt to gain a spot-kick during Liverpool’s recent clash with Stoke.

However, the 32-year-old, who last represented England in 2008, has revealed he has simulated in the past.

“I’m totally against diving but I’d say that 75% of people could stay on their feet for a penalty,” Owen wrote on Twitter. ”I have been guilty as well, at the 1998 World Cup I was running flat out, got a nudge, went down. Could I have stayed up? Yes probably.”

The dive referenced by Owen came against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, as the striker won a penalty after feeling contact from defender Roberto Ayala. But Ayala, who now works as director of football for Racing Club de Avellaneda in Argentina, does not hold any grudges over the incident.

“To be honest, I don’t remember that moment. I read what he said on Twitter but I’d have to watch the match again,” Ayala exclusively told Goal.com. “It’s all in the past now. It’s just words and nothing else. I don’t even get angry or anything like that.

“Football is a bit like that. It’s a bit about trying to deceive your rival and to an extent, deceive the referee too, in order to gain an advantage.

“Maybe he (Owen) thought he had to fall to the ground to earn a penalty and that’s what happened.”

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