South Africa 2010 was turning into a nightmare for not one but both of United's senior centre-backs when Nemanja Vidic was found guilty of handball during Serbia's second game.
While Rio Ferdinand was putting his feet up at home on medics' orders, his club colleague was down on his knees in Port Elizabeth as referee Alberto Undiano pointed to the penalty spot and waved a yellow card at him.
An equaliser for Germany seemed certain in a match that Vidic's side desperately needed to win, but when Lukas Podolski drilled the spot-kick towards the bottom right-hand corner, goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic saved it to spare Nemanja further agony.
"I was so relieved," Vidic told FIFA.com following his team's 1-0 victory.
"It was my mistake. I just got disorientated - for a moment I thought there was someone behind me - and I handled the ball (from Podolski's cross).
"Fortunately 'Stojk' produced a fantastic save. I said to him afterwards, 'I owe you a gift. What do you want?'
"But thinking about it now, I should be asking him for a gift. Look at the attention he's getting – he’s a hero. I gave him that opportunity to become a hero!"
From starting first-round elimination in the face, Serbia are now guaranteed to reach the last 16 if they beat Australia in their final Group D match in Nelspruit on Wednesday evening. A clash between the top two sides, Ghana and Germany, will kick off in Johannesburg simultaneously, at 20:30 local time.