Michael Owen has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament. The cruciate ligaments are the fibrous strands that hold the knee together, joining the femur (the upper bone) to the tibia (the lower bone). They cross over each other, which is why they are called cruciate. It is almost always the anterior one that gets torn. Typically the injury involves a twisting of the knee with the foot anchored and the weight of the body falling in such a way as to lever open the knee joint. It is extremely painful. I tore my left one in 1960 at the age of 17; it was the end of my chance of playing soccer seriously. In those days there was no treatment, though when I tore the right one in 1966 at least the doctors knew what it was and first aid allowed the inflammation to settle down more quickly. Brian Clough had his footballing career ended in 1962 when he ruptured his in a league game against Bury. Clough was the most prolific goalscorer for Middlesborough and Sunderland, and might have been England's greatest center forward had it not been for the injury. He went on to be one of teh greatest soccer managers England has ever seen, If not the greatest, thesn certainly on a short list of one.
Paul Gascoigne famously tore his in the 1991 FA Cup Final when attempting a high tackle on Nottingham Forest's Gary Charles. He was out for 16 months, but it was repaired and cape back to score that wonder goal against Scotland in 1996.
Alan Shearer did his in 1997, but after the repair he was back playing in 4 months and went on to become the greatest goalscorer in English football, though everbody said he had lost a yard of pace.
Prospects for Michael Owen are perhaps more dubious. He is a striker who relies on pace. He doesn't have the immense quadraceps of Alan Shearer and may find it harder to regain his winning ability.
England did enough to top their group and in patches showed how good they can be, but schoolboy defending allowed the Swedes to gain a draw. Their equalising goal in the last minute was remarkable. A throw-in from the left bounced over everybody into the right hand corner of the goal. It seemed to touch either Mellberg or Henrik Larsson on the way in. That touch was important; otherwise it would have gone in dirct from the throw, and been disallowed.