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Owen tips Argentina for World Cup

4 June 2014 07:35

Argentina are favourites to claim a third FIFA World Cup title, according to former England international Michael Owen.

While Alejandro Sabella decided to overlook Carlos Tevez his Argentina team are still tipped to progress deep into the tournament in Brazil after being drawn in Group F alongside debutants Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nigeria and Iran.

Argentina have won the World Cup on two occasions - in 1978 and 1986 - but they have failed to make it past the quarter-finals since losing to West Germany in the 1990 final in Italy.

Owen, who represented England at two World Cups in 2002 and 2006, believes Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi will help inspire Argentina to success in the familiar comforts of South America.

"They have good players throughout the team, but Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi just tip it," Owen said on Sportlobster.com.

"It will be extremely difficult to stop these two players from scoring. Argentina are more or less in their own backyard and they are used to the altitude and weather.

"The team have some defensive concerns, but Argentineans are typically streetwise.

"I honestly believe they have more quality than the other nations."

Owen has also thrown his support behind Japan to surprise the world at the showpiece event.

Alberto Zaccheroni's men have been pitted against Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast in Group C and are viewed as a dark horse for the World Cup, with many - including Owen - believing Japan could replicate South Korea's run at the 2002 tournament, which saw them reach the semi-finals.

"I believe Japan will have a good tournament," said Owen.

"They have an average World Cup group, one or two top class players, they performed well in the Olympics and are always extremely fit.

"I don't think they will progress to the semi-finals but the quarters are a possibility."

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