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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 13, 2010

Soccer: Fulham’s Zamora likely to have surgery next week

AP Sports Writer

HAMBURG — Fulham striker Bobby Zamora says he is likely to have surgery next week on the Achilles' injury that forced him out of England's provisional World Cup squad.

Zamora helped set up a 37th-minute equalizer in Wednesday's Europa League final but was substituted 10 minutes into the second period because of the injury. Fulham went on to lose 2-1 to Atletico Madrid.

England coach Fabio Capello said that he would have included Fulham's leading scorer in his squad for the June 11-July 11 tournament had it not been for the injury.

"I told Fabio that I was struggling and I knew that, had I gone, I wouldn't have done myself or England justice," Zamora said. "It was a joint decision made by myself, Capello, our medical team and England's medical team.

"The World Cup's a massive tournament. It's not about myself, it's about England."

Zamora said he is scheduled to have minor surgery and hopes to be fit for the start of next season.

Zamora's exit gave Clint Dempsey the opportunity to become the first American player to appear in a European final, but the United States forward struggled to make an impact.

With Erik Nevland coming on up front in place of Damien Duff, who only played after a late recovery from a leg injury, Fulham lacked a cutting edge and Atletico won 2-1 in extra time on Diego Forlan's second goal of the game.

"We had some good possession and we played some good football," Zamora said. "I really believed we were going to win on penalties."

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson picked Zamora alongside Zoltan Gera despite the big forward not having played since the second leg of the semifinal win over Hamburg on April 29.

Zamora helped create a crucial opening with the sort of skill that almost earned him a trip to South Africa. He turned past his marker to take the ball into the area and, although he could not bring the ball under full control, drew in two defenders before passing across the area.

The opening looked to have been lost as the ball ran to the right, but the ball was chipped back in and Simon Davies volleyed the equalizer to make it 1-1.

Zamora, who has never played for England, has scored eight tournament goals to help Fulham to only the second final in its 131-year history. The club has never won a major title and lost its only other final 2-0 to West Ham in the 1975 FA Cup.

Zamora has 19 goals overall for the season. His place in the England squad went to Sunderland's Darren Bent.