World Cup’s 101 Most Memorable Moments: Michael Owen’s solo goal vs. Argentina

By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports Soccer Writer

Editor’s note: Each day between now and the kickoff of the first match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Nov. 20, we’ll unveil a different memory from World Cup history. The countdown from 101 continues with Michael Owen’s wonder goal.

Things were going well enough for England. After about the worst possible start to their round of 16 match against Argentina at France ’98, a ninth minute penalty kick by star striker Alan Shearer had canceled out the one made just four minutes earlier by his Albiceleste counterpart, Gabriel Batistuta. The Three Lions had to be relieved that the scoreline was again all square.

Even the most optimistic England fans couldn’t have dreamed up what would happen next. Michael Owen even didn’t start the first two group stage games for Glenn Hoddle’s team, but there the 18-year-old forward was in the lineup for England’s most important World Cup match in eight years. Quarter of an hour into the contest in Saint-Étienne, Owen stole the show.

Owen collected a David Beckham pass in midfield and took off. He shrugged past and then accelerated away from Argentina defender José Chamot, then rounded another in Roberto Ayala. With only goalkeeper Carlos Roa left to beat, Owen stepped to his right and sent a blistering shot back across the body of the helpless backstop, the ball bulging the net inside the far post. It was one of the most spectacular solo goals in England’s history.

It wasn’t enough for the Three Lions to advance, though. Javier Zanetti equalized for Argentina before halftime, Beckham was red carded just after it, and the Albiceleste advanced to the quarterfinals on penalties.

Owen’s wonder-strike

In the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Michael Owen scored a beautiful goal for England in their match against Argentina.

One of the leading soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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