Shane Long, the Hull City striker, was the man responsible, missing two golden opportunities - though he did convert another - as his team were beaten 2-1 by Serbia.
Long capitalised on an error by Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic to give the home side a deserved lead, but Ljubinko Drulovic's men levelled when James McCarthy bundled the ball into his own net with his defence in tatters. And there was worse to come for the hosts when striker Filip Djordevic found himself in the right place at the right time to win it from close range.
Germany, the strong favourites to bulldoze their way through Group D claiming maximum points en route, did what England could not do, though that should come really as only the mildest of surprises. The Auld Enemy were recently beaten 2-0 at home by Chile, Roy Hodgson's men completely outclassed.
Taking on Germany was always going to be a different proposition and the encounter was settled by a Mario Goetze strike early in the first half. The scoreline only told half of the story, though, as Chile attacked and the German defence, forced on to the back foot, was rocked. Both sides will be among the favourites to win the World Cup in Brazil this summer.
Earlier in the afternoon, Georgia won 2-0 at home to Liechtenstein. On September 7, 2010, it took a last-minute Stephen McManus header to overcome the same opposition at Hampden; last night, Georgia had no such problems. They scored midway through each half, the first from Giorgi Chanturia, before a penalty was later converted by Jano Ananidze. Gibraltar, the group minnows who will face the Scots in their first-ever qualifying campaign, were unlucky in defeat to Estonia in only their third match as part of UEFA. They went down 2-0 in the end, despite a performance which was much-improved.
Gibraltar went behind in the 11th minute through a Dmitri Kruglov strike, and despite creating several good chances could not get back into the match.
Sander Puri supplied the pass, before Rimo Hunt provided the finish to seal Estonia's victory.