Zdravko Kuzmanovic has begged for forgiveness after his absurd handball condemned 10-man Serbia to a 1-0 defeat against Ghana.
The Black Stars took full advantage of the Stuttgart midfielder's moment of madness as Asamoah Gyan struck late from the penalty spot to give them the perfect start to their Group D campaign on Sunday.
Kuzmanovic confessed he must take the criticism that will come his way after his error saw Ghana become the first African team to claim maximum points in the South Africa finals.
"I hope my team-mates can forgive me," said the 22-year-old. "I didn't speak with my friends, I just thought about it. I'm very sad.
"I made a mistake, it wasn't what I was trying to do, I tried to go for the ball with my head but it hit my hand. It's my mistake and all I can say to my team is: 'I'm sorry'.
"We deserved at least a point from a draw and because of my error, we have no points.
"We really needed to avoid that, in a World Cup every point counts. We lost and it's really hard for me."
Serbia also saw centre-back Aleksandar Lukovic dismissed for a second booking with just over a quarter of an hour left.
But Manchester United centre-back Nemanja Vidic cast doubt over the validity of his defensive partner's dismissal.
"I leave it to you (to say) if it was a red card or not, it was a bit strange," he said.
"After the red card, we had our chances, two great chances."