Michael Owen believes he has let Newcastle United's fans down by picking up a serious injury on international duty.
The striker's injury problems restricted him to just 11 appearances for Newcastle last season following his £16million move from Real Madrid, but he was passed fit to represent England at the World Cup finals.
However, the 26-year-old ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Tuesday's Group B clash with Sweden and is unlikely to play again until after Christmas.
Owen realised he had suffered a serious injury as soon as it happened, but it was not the pain which troubled him most.
"I can control my emotions and I can honestly say that when I was flat on my back with ice-packs around my knee, it wasn't self-pity I was feeling but guilt," he told the Times.
"I was sending text messages apologising to all sorts of people for letting them down.
"I feel really guilty when I think of the people at Newcastle United. I think of the chairman Freddy Shepherd, who has invested all that money and Glenn Roeder, the manager, who has kept in touch through the tournament and been very supportive.
"And those great fans who have only seen me for 11 matches."
Despite the injury, Owen has still not given up hope of picking up a World Cup winner's medal.
"As I left the team hotel in Germany yesterday to fly home, I told Sven-Goran Eriksson that I would be back out for the World Cup final," he said.
"My tournament might be over, but I still want that medal around my neck.
"It is strange to think that my farewell yesterday was the last I might see of Sven, a manager who has picked me whenever I have been available and for whom I have scored a lot of goals.
"But I haven't given up hope of seeing him again on July 9."