Continental Europe, seeking a first triumph since 2000 in the biennial event named after the late Seve Ballesteros, led by 3 1/2 points to 1 1/2 with a target of 14 1/2 points needed to claim the trophy by Sunday.
Britain and Ireland, who have won the last six editions, started brightly thanks to Scottish pair Stephen Gallacher and Paul Lawrie's 3 & 2 victory over Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
But the defeat of Continental Europe's most experienced pair, with six and seven previous appearances, did not prevent their team from enjoying a superb fourballs.
"The way the youngsters played (pleased me most)," captain Jose Maria Olazabal told reporters.
"Joost (Luiten) played extraordinarily well today and made a bunch of birdies, Thorbjorn Olesen also played very well. It was a great experience for them but the main thing is to win points and I think the team is really happy today."
Britain and Ireland failed to secure another win after Gallacher and Lawrie.
"They played very well. Our boys played very well too but they made a few more birdies than us. Our turn tomorrow," captain Sam Torrance said.
Finn Mikko Ilonen and Denmark's Olesen defeated Tommy Fleetwood and Chris Wood by one hole, ending the latter's unbeaten record in an event in which he gained four victories in 2009.
"Fleetwood and Wood had a great comeback and that could have gone either way. It looked like 4-1 down and it almost could have turned to 3-2 ahead but that's golf," Torrance said.
Francesco Molinari then birdied the last to secure a half for him and fellow Italian Matteo Manassero against Paul Casey and debutant Simon Khan.
Rookie Dutchman Luiten, paired with Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, also shone as they beat Jamie Donaldson and David Lynn 2 & 1 before Colsaerts and Fernandez-Castano, making his third appearance after replacing the injured Peter Hanson, wrapped up a great first day for Europe.
The Seve Trophy is played in non-Ryder Cup years.
Overall score: Continental Europe 3 1/2 Great Britain & Ireland 1 1/2.
Paul Lawrie & Stephen Gallacher (Great Britain & Ireland) beat Thomas Bjorn & Miguel Angel Jimenez (Continental Europe) - 3&2
Mikko Ilonen & Thorbjorn Olesen (Continental Europe) beat Tommy Fleetwood & Chris Wood (Great Britain & Ireland) - by one hole
Francesco Molinari & Matteo Manassero (Continental Europe) v Paul Casey & Simon Khan (Great Britain & Ireland) - match halved
Joost Luiten & Gregory Bourdy (Continental Europe) beat Jamie Donaldson & David Lynn (Great Britain & Ireland) - 2&1
Nicolas Colsaerts & Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Continental Europe) beat Marc Warren & Scott Jamieson (Great Britain & Ireland) - 5&3