Serbia midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic pleaded for forgiveness after his handball gifted Ghana victory in their opening FIFA World Cup™ Group D clash on Sunday. Asamoah Gyan thrashed home the penalty awarded against Kuzmanovic to give the Black Stars a 1-0 success, the first by an African team in this FIFA World Cup.
Stuttgart's Kuzmanovic admitted the fault was all his. "I hope my teammates can forgive me," he said sadly. "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. "After the red card, we had our chances, two great chances," said Manchester United centre-back Nemanja Vidic.
Straight after Lukovic's red card Milos Krasic fired straight at goalkeeper Richard Kingson. Vidic then headed the resulting corner inches over before Chelsea full-back Branislav Ivanovic was also narrowly off target with a crisp drive.
"Our problem is that we should have done better on some occasions, we should have used our experience better, our cleverness," said Vidic. "We have to put our hopes in the next game, but this is against Germany."
Serbia coach Radomir Antic denied nerves had got to his team. "This was a game where there was a lot of respect between the teams and one mistake made the difference," said Antic. "Before that we had several opportunities to score and I think it was a very tight game that looked to be heading to a 0-0 draw and what made the difference was that they had more luck than us. I don't think Ghana had any real chances to score before the penalty."
Serbia captain Dejan Stankovic admitted that they must now win their next match against Germany. "It hurts to lose this way," he said. "We need to regroup. It'll be tough against Germany who have a lot of quality but we have to win. We'll need to take more risks and concentrate harder."