Arsenal's £8million new-boy Tomas Rosicky turned in a scintillating two-goal display as the Czech Republic roared past an ultimately outclassed United States with a 3-0 win in their Group E opener.
The only downside to a clinical victory for the Czechs was what appeared to be a severe hamstring injury suffered by opening goalscorer Jan Koller, which could leave them with a striking crisis for Saturday's encounter with Ghana in Cologne.
With Milan Baros' foot injury predictably ruling him out, there was even more emphasis on the giant Koller as a lone front-man, so the text-book header he powered home just five minutes into the game would have been a crushing disappointment to the US.
The goal was created by a magnificent pass out of defence from David Ronzenhal to Zdenek Grygera, whose cross invited Koller's brutal finish.
It was a reminder of Koller's qualities which the US should not really have needed but, from that moment on, defensive duo Eddie Pope and Middlesbrough target Oguchi Onyewu got to grips with the giant striker and kept him out of the game until he suffered the injury which must threaten his participation in the remainder of the tournament just before the break.
As Baros did no running in the warm-up, it must also be assumed the Aston Villa man's foot injury makes him a major doubt for the Ghana clash, leaving coach Karel Bruckner with an attacking headache.
The one obvious consolation for Bruckner is that his midfield, while ageing, remains lethal.
Karel Poborsky may no longer dash about the pitch as he did a decade ago but he is still a reliable outlet on the right flank, while Pavel Nedved retains the ability to control a game in the fashion which made him European Footballer of the Year in 2004.
And then there is Rosicky, at 25 the baby of the three.
It was Rosicky's play-off goal against Norway which got the Czechs to Germany in the first place and now here, he looks eager to make his mark.
The 30-yard thunderbolt which fizzed past Kasey Keller to double his country's lead nine minutes before the interval was astounding enough. But Rosicky was not finished.
Another shot from the midfielder's right boot came crashing back off the crossbar midway through the second period.
Then, 14 minutes from time, he raced clear onto on of Nedved's trademark eye-of-the-needle passes and gleefully clipped a third into the corner.
No-one in the capacity 52,000 crowd could have failed to be impressed and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is no doubt glad he got in ahead of the pack to sign Rosicky from Borussia Dortmund before the World Cup began.
The final scoreline was harsh on the USA, who had plenty of possession in the first half and came within an inch of equalising when Claudio Reyna hit a post.
But they have still to win a World Cup Finals game of any description in Europe and a repeat of their 2002 quarter-final appearance looks a forlorn hope.