Owen out. Knee injury KO's England striker for rest of World Cup
Michael Owen will miss the rest of the World Cup because of a right knee injury.
The England striker, who was injured Tuesday in the second minute of his team's 2-2 draw with Sweden in Cologne, had a scan on his knee Wednesday and the results confirmed that he will no longer to able to play for the team in Germany, the English Football Association said.
Owen, who had the scan near England's team base in southern Germany, will return to England later Wednesday.
"Obviously it's a massive blow to suffer the injury -- and be out of the World Cup," Owen said in a statement. "As soon as it happened I knew I was in trouble. It was a major disappointment to pick up the injury so early in the game."
Owen's right knee buckled after he had played a pass. He rolled off the field and lay on the sideline clutching his leg while play continued. He was treated by doctors and then strapped to a stretcher and taken away.
The FA said Owen's recovery would be handled by his English Premier League club Newcastle.
"I'm clearly sorry to be leaving the lads in Germany, but I'm convinced they can go on and achieve success," Owen said. "I'll be following all the matches very closely and giving them my full support, hopefully all the way to Berlin.
"My main objective is now to get fit as quickly as possible for Newcastle United."
The 26-year-old Owen, who broke his foot on Dec. 31, only returned last month. He had been replaced in both of England's first two World Cup games.
"Michael has had terrible luck with injuries since Christmas," England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said. "I feel very sorry for him to miss out on the rest of the World Cup -- it's a blow to him and a big loss for the team.
"However, I am sure Michael will work very hard to get back as quickly as possible for Newcastle and England. He is a true professional and a very mentally strong person. I hope the team can now go on and achieve success in Germany for Michael."
Both England and Sweden have advanced to the second round from Group B.
"It's very disappointing for him and the team as well," England goalkeeper Paul Robinson said. "Unbelievable. Just as he was getting fit as well. It's just a very, very unfortunate incident."
Owen made his World Cup debut as an 18-year-old in 1998, scoring an incredible goal against Argentina. He's been a mainstay in England's attack ever since.
This year's World Cup is his fifth tournament for England, but Owen has had a disappointing past two years.
He moved from Liverpool to Real Madrid in 2004 but failed to break into the starting lineup. He moved back to England last season with Newcastle but only played 20 games before getting injured.
Owen's latest injury means Wayne Rooney's fitness has now become crucial for England. The Manchester United striker started his first game since breaking his foot on April 29 and lasted 69 minutes.
Without Owen, England will only have three strikers left _ Rooney, Peter Crouch and 17-year-old Theo Walcott, who has only 25 minutes of international experience and has never played in the English Premier League for Arsenal.
"To lose a player of Michael's quality is bad for the team and it's bad for the squad," Robinson said. "The loss of a striker is going to hit any squad, but we've got Theo, we've got Stevie (Gerrard), who can play up there off the front two. We've got Wazza (Rooney) and Crouchy who are playing well at the moment. We should be all right."
England plays Ecuador in the second round in Stuttgart on Sunday.