Veteran Irishman Derek Ryan, a 41-year-old who retired from the World Tour seven years ago, pulled off a stunning win in the opening tie of the WSF Men's World Team Squash Championship which looked set to upset hosts Germany in front of a capacity crowd at the Ahorn-Sportpark in the city of Paderborn.
The 23rd staging of the World Squash Federation event - the first senior world championship since the IOC announcement that Squash is on the shortlist for Olympic inclusion in 2020 - is taking place in Germany for the first time.
Ryan, a former world No7 and the oldest competitor in the championship, despatched German number two Jens Schoor, a 24-year-old from Koblenz ranked 86 in the world, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8 in 43 minutes.
But the hosts' top string Simon Rosner soon righted the ship. The 23-year-old world No30 from Paderborn - a member of the club and championship ambassador - beat the Irish number one Arthur Gaskin 11-5, 11-2, 11-8.
With the crowd cheering every single winning German point, the hosts' fourth string Andre Haschker took to the court in a do-or-die battle with another veteran Steve Richardson, a 38-year-old who has been an Irish international since the early 90s.
All the games were close, but it was Haschker who became the toast of Paderborn when he beat Richardson 11-9, 14-12, 11-8 in 45 minutes to give Germany a popular 2/1 tie victory.
"I thought I had a chance - I love playing on the glass court, it takes me back to the old days," said Ryan after his opening match upset. "I had a strategy and kept to it. I was pleased with the way I played - I was moving well."
When asked if, now that he is a full-time physiotherapist in Dublin, he still has the chance to play a lot of squash, Ryan said: "I played in the Europeans in April, but I haven't really played much since, apart from some recent squad sessions with our new coach Hadrian Stiff.
"My saving grace has been where I work in Dublin, where a group of us get together at 6.00am a couple of days a week and do two intense 45-minute workouts. If it wasn't for that, I don't think I'd be in the shape I'm in.
"I first played in the world team championships in 1989 and have only missed one since then - in 2005, when I was taking my physio exams. This match gave me my 198th cap - and hopefully I'll make 200 while I'm here!"
Richardson, an experienced international despite the fact that he has never been a full-time pro, was disappointed with his performance: "I had a chance - we had a chance. Both the first two games were really close - and the second game was crucial. I'm really disappointed.
"I was playing well, but I was about 10% off when I needed to be there."
Simon Rosner was understandably delighted with the outcome, and the support of the crowd: "It's just amazing - the crowds, the setting, the court, the atmosphere, it's unbelievable. It's how you wish all tournaments could be.
"Having a tournament like this in your country is great, and your town even better - but at your home club is incredible. It can't get any better than this," said the top-ranked German.
"Everybody has really come together for this - from the government down to the club - and the result is fantastic. I'm really happy - especially to win today after the disappointing start. Now we look forward to playing England tomorrow, then Spain, and hope to finish in the top two in the group."
Top seeds England and Egypt both comfortably overcame their first qualifying opponents. England, the favourites, beat Spain 3/0 - though top string James Willstrop, the world No4, dropped a game against Spaniard Borja Golan.
Egypt entertained the exuberant glass-court crowd who had earlier seen home team Germany come through. The defending champions, seeded two, saw off Sweden 3/0.
And the title-holders will now face Hong Kong China, who secured the day's only upset by beating 15th seeds New Zealand. A 63-minute see-sawing first match saw the 17/24 seeds pull ahead when Dick Lau beat Kiwi Campbell Grayson 11-9, 4-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7.
And it was top string Max Lee, the Hong Kong champion, who clinched the unexpected victory by beating higher-ranked Martin Knight 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7. Leo Au made it a clean sweep when he defeated left-hander Evan Williams 12-10, 11-5, 11-7.
"It could have gone either way," conceded team coach Abdul Faheem Khan, a former Hong Kong international. "Dick played really well to get us off to a good start and I thought Max could beat Martin as they've been training a lot together recently - and although Max has never beaten him before in a tournament, I think he knew he could do it.
"Now we've got Egypt, and that will give us some good matches. But I can't say we're in a particularly tough pool - I think all the pools are tough."
RESULTS: World Team Championship, Paderborn, Germany
Qualifying rounds - Pool A:
 ENGLAND bt [17/24] SPAIN 3/0
Peter Barker bt Ivan Flores 11-2, 11-5, 11-8 (26m)
James Willstrop bt Borja Golan 11-6, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9 (53m)
Daryl Selby bt David Vidal 11-4, 11-5, 11-4 (29m)
 GERMANY bt [25/32] IRELAND 2/1
Jens Schoor lost to Derek Ryan 8-11, 6-11, 8-11 (43m)
Simon Rosner bt Arthur Gaskin 11-5, 11-2, 11-8 (42m)
Andre Haschker bt Steve Richardson 11-9, 14-12, 11-8 (45m)
 EGYPT bt [25/32] SWEDEN 3/0
Karim Darwish bt Sebastian Victor 11-2, 11-3, 11-5 (26m)
Ramy Ashour bt Christian Drakenberg 11-5, 11-8, 11-9 (24m)
Hisham Mohamed Ashour bt Joakim Larsson 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 (24m)
[17/24] HONG KONG CHINA bt  NEW ZEALAND 3/0
Dick Lau bt Campbell Grayson 11-9, 4-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7 (63m)
Max Lee bt Martin Knight 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-7 (53m)
Leo Au bt Evan Williams 12-10, 11-5, 11-7 (24m)
 FRANCE bt [17/24] ARGENTINA 3/0
Thierry Lincou bt Hernan D'Arcangelo 11-3, 11-6, 11-9 (27m)
Gregory Gaultier bt Gonzalo Miranda 11-1, 11-3, 11-1 (20m)
Gregoire Marche bt Juan Pablo Roude 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (32m)
 NETHERLANDS bt [25/32] KOREA 3/0
Dylan Bennett bt Seung Taek Lee 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6 (32m)
Laurens Jan Anjema bt Nyeon-Ho Lee 11-2, 11-8, 11-1 (27m)
Piedro Schweertman bt Seung-Jun Lee 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (32m)
 AUSTRALIA bt [25/32] BERMUDA 3/0
Stewart Boswell bt Robert Maycock 11-4, 11-3, 11-4 (17m)
Cameron Pilley bt Micah Franklin 11-1, 11-4, 11-3 (18m)
Aaron Frankcomb bt Chris Stout 11-1, 11-3, 11-2 (20m)
 FINLAND bt [17/24] COLOMBIA 3/0
Henrik Mustonen bt Javier Castilla Conde 12-10, 12-10, 11-4 (31m)
Olli Tuominen bt Andres Vargas 11-9, 11-5, 11-7 (28m)
Matias Tuomi bt Juan Camilo Vargas 11-3, 13-11, 11-7 (29m)
 MALAYSIA bt [17/24] DENMARK 3/0
Ong Beng Hee bt Rasmus Nielsen 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 12-10 (45m)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar bt Kristian Frost Olesen 11-5, 11-9, 11-8 (48m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan bt Morten Sorensen 11-7, 6-11, 11-2, 11-8 (37m)
 PAKISTAN bt [25/32] AUSTRIA 3/0
Yasir Butt bt Leopold Czaska 11-6, 11-4, 11-7 (21m)
Aamir Atlas Khan bt Aqeel Rehman 11-9, 10-12, 11-8, 10-12, 11-1 (53m)
Nasir Iqbal bt Jakob Dirnberger 12-10, 11-2, 11-2 (25m)
 INDIA bt [25/32] HUNGARY 3/0
Siddharth Suchde bt Sandor Fulop 11-6, 11-5, 11-9 (30m)
Saurav Ghosal bt Marton Szaboky 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (28m)
Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Peter Hoffman 11-5, 11-4, 11-9 (25m)
 SOUTH AFRICA bt [17/24] KUWAIT 3/0
Shaun le Roux bt Ammar Al-Tamimi 11-9, 11-2, 8-11, 10-12, 11-2 (62m)
Stephen Coppinger bt Abdullah Al Muzayen 11-9, 11-6, 11-6 (38m)
Clinton Leeuw bt Ali Bader Al-Ramzi 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (26m)
 CANADA bt [17/24] SCOTLAND 2/1
Shawn Delierre bt Stuart Crawford 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 (46m)
Shahier Razik lost to Alan Clyne 6-11, 11-4, 11-6, 4-11, 10-12 (81m)
Andrew Schnell bt Chris Small 12-10, 11-7, 11-4 (38m)
 MEXICO bt [25/32] NAMIBIA 3/0
Eric Galvez bt Norbert Dorgeloh 11-0, 11-8, 11-7 (23m)
Cesar Salazar bt Marco Becker 11-4, 11-4, 11-5 (23m)
Erik Tepos Valtierra bt Andrew Forrest 11-7, 11-5, 11-6 (22m)
 USA bt [25/32] UKRAINE 3/0
Christopher Gordon bt Kostiantyn Rybalchenko 11-1, 11-7, 11-3 (22m)
Julian Illingworth bt Ruslan Sorochinskiy 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (26m)
Todd Harrity bt Denys Podvornyi 11-8, 11-1, 11-4 (26m)
 ITALY bt [17/24] SWITZERLAND 2/1
Davide Bianchetti bt Reiko Peter 11-3, 11-9, 11-5 (34m)
Stephane Galifi lost to Nicolas Mueller 14-16, 11-3, 8-11, 11-8, 5-11 (62m)
Marcus Berrett bt John Williams 11-7, 11-7, 11-1 (27m)
Official website: www.wmtc2011.com