The Irish pair of Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley bested Alex Cejka and Mathias Gronberg 1-up in the only match that reached the 18th hole at Druids Glen Golf Club.
While that match was reaching its completion, the French tandem of Thomas Levet and Raphael Jacquelin used steady play down the stretch to earn a surprising 2-and-1 victory over Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke in the morning's last match.
In Friday's opening match, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and Sweden's Robert Karlsson beat 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie and the Great Britain & Ireland team captain Colin Montgomerie 2-and-1.
Ian Woosnam and Steve Webster, playing for Great Britain & Ireland, cruised to Friday morning's easiest victory when they defeated Spaniards Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez 3-and-2.
Harrington and McGinley took the lead with a birdie at the 12th and then faced a serious challenge in protecting that advantage. At the par-5 16th, Harrington reached the green in two while Karlsson missed his shot in the rough by the putting surface.
Cejka pitched the team's third shot close enough that the Continental Europe team was assured a birdie. McGinley ran his eagle try four feet past the stick but Harrington stroked in the birdie to halve the hole and maintain their 1-up lead.
Harrington then ran home a nine-footer for par to preserve the 1-up win.
Westwood and Clarke were 1-up after a birdie at No. 11, but the lead did not last long. The Frenchmen squared the match with a birdie at No. 14 but took the outright lead thanks to a 20-foot birdie from Jacquelin at the 15th.
At the par-5 16th, Westwood dumped the team's second shot into a front bunker, giving Clarke no realistic chance at attacking the pin. He ran his bunker shot past the hole and Westwood missed the birdie try by three feet.
The French tandem saved par after they missed the green, but Clarke missed the short par save to fall 2-down with two to play.
Clarke had a chance to cut the lead, but his birdie try at No. 17 did not fall and the match went to the Continental Europe team.
Montgomerie and Lawrie fell 5-down at one point, but clawed their way back into the match. The Scottish duo won the 12th, 13th and 15th holes to get to 2-down but the Continental European Team got up and down for par at the 17th for the 2-and-1 victory.
Woosnam and Webster birdied four holes in a row, starting at the ninth and that was good for a quick 4-up lead. The Spaniards never got back into the match as it ended on the 16th green.
Friday afternoon's matches will be foursomes, or alternate shot.
Full scores from the Seve Trophy