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England striker Michael Owen retires

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I was in the French stadium that day in 1998 when Michael Owen officially became The Next Big Thing in world soccer. With that iconic goal in St. Etienne, where the England teenager of wickedly brilliant pace made some strong Argentine defenders look like overmatched school boys, he was no longer the Three Lions (kind of) secret weapon.

The stadium was in awe as he tore down the middle that day, and World Cup France’ 98 was soon abuzz about it all. Owen was 18 and it was all in front of him. Arrival into superstardom seemed assured. (That story, from Jeff Bradley, was written in 1998.)

Owen never quite reached Cristiano Ronaldo- or Leo Messi-type decoration or acclaim. And later in his career, when the Liverpool youth product might have been peaking, a frustrating series of injury-related fits and starts may have prevented Owen from ever quite achieving his ultimate potential.

That doesn’t mean he wasn’t one of the best strikers of post-war England; so says this BBC columnist.

Owen was named European Footballer of the Year in 2001, the first England man to do so since Kevin Keegan in 1979. Team-wise, he claimed Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup medals.

Today, Owen retired. A statement on his personal website is here.

By the way, that goal against Argentina wasn’t even the man’s best. So says this piece from The Independent, which called it No. 2.

Well, I liked it. And so did all the England fans in the stadium — some of whom finished the evening brawling at the train station after their team was eliminated in penalties, although that’s clearly another story.

Here’s the mighty goal:



Miss of the season candidate as Correa whiffs for Sampdoria

GENOA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 23:  Jaoquin Correa of UC Sampdoria disappointed during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and AS Roma at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on September 23, 2015 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)
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21-year-old Joaquin Correa may be young and inexperienced, but he may have grown today.

Painful growth.

The young Sampdoria attacker will not want to watch the highlights of today’s 1-1 draw with Inter Milan in Serie A play knowing he could have given his side all three points.

Could have, had he – you know – hit an open goal from less than three yards out. Spoiler alert: he didn’t.

Correa rounds Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic thanks to a fruitful rebound after his initial shot was smothered, but as he turned to face the wide open net, he scuffed his shot and it trickled embarrassingly wide.

Not much more to say about this one than try to put it behind you, Joaquin. It’s an ugly one.

Watch Live: Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Lineups & Live Stream)

MONACO - OCTOBER 01:  Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur gestures during the UEFA Europa League group J match between AS Monaco FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Stade Louis II on October 1, 2015 in Monaco, Monaco.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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Tottenham can go third in the table with a road win today at one of the toughest places to play in the Premier League at the moment as they visit the Liberty Stadium to take on Swansea City at 11 a.m. ET live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Spurs are coming off a massive win over Manchester City last weekend – their third straight victory in league play – but will be without bright new signing Hueng-min Son for the forseeable future after he suffered a foot injury in the victory. Spurs then managed a stout 1-1 draw with Monaco in Europa League play.

They are also without Danny Rose from an injury in that midweek meeting and Nabil Bentalib misses his fourth straight match due to injury, but Deli Alli is fit while Moussa Dembele makes the bench. Erik Lamela is in the starting lineup as he finds himself in fine form the last few weeks.

WATCH LIVE: Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur live online at NBC Sports Live Extra

Swansea, meanwhile, have a fully fit squad eight matches into the Premier League season, and they would move into the top half of the table with a win.

Bafetimbi Gomis starts up front with four goals on the season, but he has not scored in his last three appearances, and conversely the Swans have picked up just one point over that span.


Swansea City: Fabianski, Rangel, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Ki, Shelvey, Ayew, Sigurdsson, Montero, Gomis.
Nordfeldt, Tabanou, Bartley, Cork, Barrow, Routledge, Eder.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Alli, Dier; Chadli, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane.
Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Carroll, Dembele, Townsend, Clinton.