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.
TAKE THAT: Serbia's Dejan Milovanovic (R) celebrates his goal with Branislav Ivanovic in the match against Italy.
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.