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The former Three Lions international believes the sides he played in had a better chance of lifting the trophy than the current crop in Brazil

Michael Owen feels England will have to wait longer before their time comes at a World Cup.

The former striker, who retired at the end of the 2012-13 season, was part of three World Cup campaigns for his country, in 1998, 2002 and 2006, where England were knocked out at the last 16 and twice in the quarter-final stages.

Argentina accounted for England’s exit at France '98 in a penalty shoot-out, while eventual winners Brazil came from behind after Owen had opened the scoring in the quarter-finals in Japan four years later.

28/1 England are 28/1 with bet365 to win the 2014 World Cup
England then once again tasted shoot-out heartache at Germany 2006, when Portugal held their nerve to eliminate Sven-Goran Eriksson’s men.

And former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United striker Owen believes his country could have achieved more in those tournaments, while seemingly ruling out any chance of them lifting the trophy in Brazil.

"In 1998 we had a strong team. It was totally different four years later, but we still had a strong team. We had what everyone called the golden generation and we had some cracking players," he told Perform.

"But as we all know in a World Cup, you get one shot at it - knockout football. Sometimes the best team doesn’t win.

"That's not to say we were the best team but we were better than Argentina when we got knocked out in 1998. We had to defend for an hour with 10 men and got beaten on penalties.

"Granted, we were not as good as Brazil when we got knocked out in Japan. It’s all ifs, buts and whys and everything else but no, we certainly had a strong team over those years.

"The current England team is probably not quite as strong. We are all keeping our fingers crossed that we can start unearthing some more top players to go and take us to these tournaments with a chance again."

Owen - who won 89 caps for his country, scoring 40 goals - burst onto the international scene as an 18-year-old with a stunning solo goal in the game against Argentina in Saint-Etienne 15 years ago.

Prior to that, the 2001 Ballon d’Or winner became his county’s youngest-ever scorer at the World Cup with an equaliser in their group-stage defeat to Romania.

He has fond memories of his first experience of World Cup football and attributed his fearless attitude at the tournament to the precociousness of youth.

"The best years of your life are when you are young," he explained. "You aren’t scared of anyone. You think you're going to rule the world. You think you can score goals against anyone.

"It’s certainly how I felt and I went into the World Cup knowing that if I had a chance I would score. That wasn’t brashness. It wasn’t arrogance.

"I didn't tell people that - I just felt it. It didn't feel like a big deal. It was what I was meant to do, that's what I’m here to do, that's what I can do and that's what I've done."