Harry Kewell has accused referee Roberto Rosetti of killing his World Cup dream with a harsh red card.
The Australia forward was dismissed after 24 minutes of the Socceroos' 1-1 draw with Ghana on Saturday.
With Pim Verbeek's side struggling to make the knockout stages, and having missed a disappointing 4-0 defeat to Germany in their opening encounter, Kewell's South African adventure appears to be over.
At the age of 31, and with niggling injuries continuing to blight his career, this summer's World Cup is expected to be Kewell's last.
Should that prove to be the case, and he has graced the biggest stage in football for the final time, the Galatasaray man admits he could not have bowed out on a lower note.
He was given his marching orders after blocking a goal-bound effort with his arm, but insists his actions were not deliberate and feels the match officials used no common sense.
Kewell said: "It's a shame that it happened that way. But if you look at the situation, it's hit my arm, but it wasn't deliberate.
"It was only that I was trying to get my shoulder there. I think the ref made a decision that he can only answer. Unless I actually detach my arm and put it somewhere else, there is no other way I can move my arm.
"I didn't deliberately go for the hand, I didn't try and handball it, I tried to use my chest. I was playing by the rules, but the ref saw it another way. He's probably the only one who did.
"The guy has killed my World Cup."
He added: "I'm devastated. We got the early goal. I thought okay, they started to come back, but I thought they had the grip on it.
"We controlled it, I thought and then again a decision like that, they have haunted us throughout the World Cup, but again, that's football you have to take it on the chin.
"It's just unfortunate that the ref saw something that probably everyone thought okay, fair enough it was a handball, but was it red card?
"We've seen some decisions in this World Cup that haven't been red cards, why is this one different?
"That's why everyone gets confused, everyone gets frustrated with referees because one minute they're are saying this and one minute they are saying that.
"He's the referee at the end of the day. You can't tell him what to do. He's the judge jury and executioner."