LONDON -- England coach Fabio Capello expressed sadness Monday that David Beckham's ruptured Achilles' tendon will prevent him from playing at the World Cup.
Beckham underwent surgery Monday on his left Achilles' tendon and Capello remains hopeful that the 34-yera-old midfielder will be fit for England's European Championship qualification campaign, which begins in September.
"I hope he will be fit for the Euros because he is always one of the best players," Capello said.
Beckham was injured Sunday during the final minutes of AC Milan's 1-0 Italian league win over Chievo Verona when he was by himself with the ball at his feet.
"I am very sad for David that he has suffered this injury," Capello said. "David is a great professional and has worked very hard to be ready for the World Cup, so missing it will be a big blow."
Capello's plans in South Africa aren't likely to be affected much by the injury. Beckham stayed on the bench in the friendly against Egypt earlier this month and was only used as a substitute in the last two World Cup qualifiers.
But Capello, who previously coached Beckham at Real Madrid, has insisted that Beckham was still "really dangerous" with his crossing and viewed his experience as a key weapon for South Africa.
Beckham joined Milan on loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy to stay in shape during the MLS offseason to boost his chances of becoming the country's first player to appear at four World Cups.
Football Association chairman David Triesman paid tribute to Beckham's determination to make the South Africa squad by going almost directly from the MLS season to Milan instead of opting to rest up.
"I am very, very sad for David that he has suffered this kind of injury at a time when he might have set a record for World Cup appearances," Triesman told The Associated Press. "David put a huge amount of work in playing much longer than a normal season to ensure he was fit and ready to play in the World Cup.
"Fabio Capello chooses the squad and the teams, but I do know just how committed David has been to playing in the World Cup and everybody knows just how strongly he feels about representing England. I feel for him as a sportsman and a patriotic Englishman."
Beckham could still be in South Africa as part of the England bid team campaigning to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022, but Triesman says the FA is just focused on Beckham's recovery.
"He has gone off to see what can be done to repair the damage and I'll be waiting to hear that his health is fully restored," Triesman said. "We aren't ready to speculate when he would be ready to do things (for the bid) since our first thoughts are that he recovers.
"He is a huge asset to the bid - there is no question about to that. He is very charismatic and an extremely decent person who will do all and anything to help his country."
He shifted his weight, reached a hand down to his left heel and then stood up and snapped his wrists like he was breaking a twig in half.
Beckham's international career could now be over after 115 appearances, second in English history behind only goalkeeper Peter Shilton's 125.
Beckham, who began his career at Manchester United in 1992, made his England debut against Moldova in September 1996.
Despite being the game's most recognizable face, the furthest Beckham reached at the World Cup was the quarterfinals - in 2002 and 2006.
Beckham quit as captain after the 2006 World Cup in Germany and was initially dropped by coach Steve McClaren in August, but he was restored as England's European Championship campaign faltered.
McClaren was fired in November 2008 after failing to qualify for Euro 2008, and Beckham survived Capello's takeover.
Beckham's injury is likely to boost the chances of Theo Walcott and Shaun Wright-Phillips making Capello's 23-man World Cup squad, although England's most dangerous attacking player on the right flank - Aaron Lennon - is still a doubt for South Africa.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said Sunday that Lennon is "quite a way off" from making his comeback from a groin injury that has sidelined him since December.