Turkey's Kenyan-born Yasemin Can won her second European 10,000m title in Munich on Monday as a trio of world-class heavyweights guaranteed their spots in respective finals.
Fresh from sealing the Commonwealth title, Britain's Eilish McColgan forced the pace in the 25-lap race, but Can hit the front with just under 3km to go.
Can, who previously won the 10,000m title in Amsterdam in 2016, was merciless as she turned the screw at Munich's Olympic Stadium, clocking a winning time of 30min 32.57sec.
McColgan claimed silver more than 8sec behind while a second Kenyan-born athlete, Israel's defending champion and world marathon bronze medallist Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, took bronze.
In the first field medal of the Euros, world bronze medallist Jessica Schilder of the Netherlands won the women's shot put with a best of 20.24m on the second of her six attempts.
Portugal's Auriol Dongmo took silver with a national record of 19.82m, Schilder's teammate Jorinde Van Klinken claiming bronze (18.94).
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That was closely followed by Croatia's Filip Mihaljevic claiming victory in the men's shot with a best of 21.53m, Serbia's Armin Sinancevic taking silver with 21.39m and Czech Tomas Stanek bronze (21.24).
Test is good
Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen kept his bid for a repeat double gold on course after winning his 1,500m heat in 3:38.48.
The Norwegian was one of the stars of the Berlin Euros in 2018 when he went home with golds in both the 1,500 and 5,000m.
It will be a quick turnaround for Ingebrigtsen, who had to settle for silver behind surprise British winner Jake Wightman in the 1,500m at the world champs.
The 5,000m final is scheduled for 1908 GMT on Tuesday, with the 1500m final to be held on Thursday.
"Today was a first test for me and the test result is: very good," Ingebrigtsen said.
"The Olympic stadium is a beautiful arena and the track is really good and fast."
Croatia's Sandra Perkovic, bidding for a record sixth continental title, also qualified for the final of the women's discus throw.
"The European championships are always very special to me because my first major medal was a European gold medal in Barcelona in 2010," said the two-time Olympic and world champion.
"I am proud to be the number one in Europe and to represent Europe around the world. They all know who the discus girl is, and I think I want to stay in this position for a long time."
Easy and relaxed
Cuban-born Portuguese triple jumper Pedro Pichardo, the reigning world and Olympic champion, also sailed through qualifying for Wednesday's final with a best of 17.36m.
"I know I am in very good shape, and my only goal today was to get the big Q to the final - it was easy and relaxed," Pichardo said.
Poland's Aleksandra Lisowska claimed the first title at the European championships, winning the women's marathon on the streets of Munich.
The men's marathon title went the way of host nation Germany as Richard Ringer produced an extraordinarily well-judged final burst past Ethiopian-born Israeli Maru Teferi for gold.
The opening day had kicked off in dramatic style as world decathlon champion Kevin Mayer's bid for a first European title came to a shuddering halt as he pulled up in the opening 100m.
World record holder Mayer, twice world champion and a two-time Olympic silver medallist, said he had made the decision to ease up "before injury".
In the Frenchman's absence, Switzerland's Simon Ehammer goes into Tuesday's second day of action in pole position on the back of a massive 8.31m in the long jump, an event in which he won world bronze in Oregon.