Amsterdam: Serbia upset favourites Italy after Dejan Milovanovic struck a low drive to secure a 1-0 win in their European Under-21 Group B clash in Nijmegen on Monday.
In the earlier Group B tie Leroy Lita missed an 88th minute penalty as Czech Republic and England drew 0-0 in Arnhem.
Italy impressed with their attacking form at the De Goffert stadium and looked stronger through much of a fast-paced game but it was Serbia, the highest scoring team in the qualifiers, who broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute.
The Italians tried hard to carve out an equaliser but failed to find the net despite a series of opportunities.
England and Czech Republic also squandered chances in their closely-fought match, none more so than Lita who missed the target after a stuttering run up to his spot-kick.
England had the better of the first half but the Czechs made their presence felt more after the break.
England's David Nugent forced a save from Czech goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal with a powerful left-foot shot in the 31st minute.
He looked prominent again in the second half and was unlucky to head wide in the 49th before his left-foot shot flew just past the post in the 71st.
England were awarded a penalty when Czech skipper Roman Hubnik handled but Lita shot wide of Zlamal's right-hand post.
Martin Fillo saw a fine left-foot shot fly just over the England bar after 52 minutes while four minutes later his Czech team mate Daniel Pudil struck the post.
Hosts the Netherlands lead Group A after a 1-0 victory over Israel on Sunday, while Portugal and Belgium drew 0-0.