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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Owen hungry for goals
Michael Owen (centre) in action against Nigeria
Owen has looked lively without scoring
BBC Sport Online's chief football writer Phil McNulty, in Japan

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Michael Owen is aiming to make his goal-scoring mark on the World Cup as Sven-Goran Eriksson's England advance into the second stage of the tournament.

Owen has yet to hit the target in England's World Cup campaign - although he played a key role in the crucial victory against Argentina in Sapporo.

Liverpool striker Owen was kept at bay again in the 0-0 draw against Nigeria in Osaka that saw England safely into the last 16 as group rivals Argentina crashed out.

Owen told BBC Sport Online: "I hope I can get off the mark soon. The bigger the game the more you want to score, and they are getting bigger and bigger the more we progress.

"Hopefully I can get a goal or two, but the most important thing for now is that we are through from a very difficult group.

"We've got Denmark now, and they have had some really special results. They had an unbelievable result when they beat France, so we are warned well in advance.

"We have already played against a Scandinavian team when we had Sweden in our first game, so we know it is going to be tough against Denmark."

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To go through our group unbeaten is an outstanding achievement
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Michael Owen

Owen is looking forward to facing Denmark in an evening game after England suffered in the heat and humidity of Osaka against Nigeria.

He said: "The conditions were tough against Nigeria. The game against Denmark is at night, so that is more in our favour.

"I don't actually think the game against Denmark will be that different from the one against Sweden.

"But the big thing for us is that the game is at night, so the conditions will be more to our liking and the atmosphere will be good."

He admitted it was not a sparkling England show against Nigeria, but was happy to have qualified.

Owen said: "It is always very hard in games like that. We've had games at club and international level where you know a draw will get you through.

"It is not the easiest thing to do to take the world by storm in those games, but we are through.

"I always thought we were comfortable. I didn't think they were going over the top to score a goal at the end and that made life easier for us.

"Having said that, I thought our defence was fantastic. I think to go through our group unbeaten is an outstanding achievement and everyone has played their part."


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GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1

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