Bobby Zamora has described the Achilles tendon injury that has ended his World Cup dreams as "a kick in the teeth".
England manager Fabio Capello was set to include the 29-year-old Fulham striker in the provisional 30-man squad he named for this summer’s finals.
But despite starting Wednesday’s Europa League final, in which the Cottagers were beaten 2-1 by Atletico Madrid, Zamora faces surgery.
"I knew I wouldn’t have done myself or England justice had I gone," he said.
"It was a joint decision between myself, Capello, Fulham’s medical team and England’s medical team. The World Cup is a massive tournament. It’s not about myself, it’s about England.
"Capello wished me all the best, hoped that I get fit and would be available next season. It’s one of those things, it has come at a bad time and the last five weeks have been terrible for me.
"It’s been an up and down season because it’s been so good on the pitch and I’ve scored some important goals. To now pick up this injury has kicked me in the teeth. It’s come during the last couple of weeks and when there was the possibility of going to the World Cup with England.
"That’s football, it’s a cruel game."
England already have fitness concerns surrounding former skipper John Terry (foot) and Gareth Barry (ankle), while Wayne Rooney, Aaron Lennon, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand and Glen Johnson have all suffered problems in the latter stages of the season.
And Zamora was not willing to add to Capello’s injury headaches.
The Cottagers forward was clearly off the pace in the heart-breaking 2-1 extra-time defeat to Atletico Madrid in Hamburg before he was substituted on 55 minutes.
"I was struggling but I was desperate to play," he added. "It was touch and go for me to make the final but it’s a major tournament and I’ve worked all season to get there so I wanted to play some part.
"I’m going to weigh everything up with the medical team now but it looks like I might need a minor operation.
"The decision will be made over the next day or two but the operation is pencilled in for a week’s time."
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