Son Heung-min has no chance of making his Tottenham return before the World Cup after suffering a fracture around his left eye, head coach Antonio Conte has declared.
The South Korea forward suffered the injury in Spurs' Champions League win over Marseille on Tuesday, leaving him requiring surgery and throwing his hopes of appearing in Qatar into doubt.
Tottenham have endured something of an injury crisis of late, with Dejan Kulusevski, Richarlison and Cristian Romero all sitting out recent matches, leaving Conte short of options with three games remaining before the World Cup.
Spurs host Liverpool on Sunday before an EFL Cup trip in midweek to face Nottingham Forest, then welcoming Leeds in the final game before the tournament in Qatar, and Conte accepts Son will not be available for those matches.
"Today [Friday], Sonny is having his surgery. It's a pity, it's a pity for him. I hope for him to recover for the World Cup," Conte told Sky Sports.
"For sure, to play the last three games with us will be impossible. This is not a lucky period for us, with Kulusevski, Richarlison and Romero out, now Sonny.
"Lucas Moura is up and down with a problem in his tendon. It's not easy, but we are trying to face the situation in the best possible way."
Wishing you all the best in your recovery, Sonny— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 2, 2022
The scheduling of a mid-season World Cup has attracted renewed criticism after several big-name players suffered injuries in recent weeks, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane, Reece James and Kyle Walker among those either ruled out or doubtful for the tournament.
The situation has led to suggestions players may play with caution to avoid a similar fate, but Conte, who missed Italy's Euro 1996 campaign through injury, says that would be selfish.
Asked whether players might take it easy, Conte said: "No, honestly. I was a player, and I missed the European Championship in England because I had a serious injury in the final of the Champions League, Juventus against Ajax in 1996.
"Absolutely not. I can only speak about my players, the player wants to play in every single game, to try to win.
"I don't know or like players that think to save themselves to play a competition like this, because it means you have a selfish player."