England have missed chance to win World Cup - Owen

The former Three Lions international believes the 'Golden Generation' which took part in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 finals was stronger than Roy Hodgson's current crop
Michael Owen feels England's best chance of winning the World Cup has passed for another generation.

The former striker, who retired at the end of last 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 the quarter-final stages respectively.

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 Shizuoka, Japan four years later.

England 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, and claims Roy Hodgson's current squad is not as strong.

"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."