Nigel Worthington's Northern Ireland tenure ended in disappointment as they were beaten by an Italy side inspired by Antonio Cassano.
Worthington, whose reign as manager has now ended, was forced to send out a youthful side due to a series of withdrawals that left him two substitutes short and Cassano took full advantage, producing two wonderful goals to finish the campaign with six.
The Group C winners' third left a sour taste for another departing Northern Irishman, as veteran goalkeeper Maik Taylor's misunderstanding with Gareth McAuley resulted in a demoralising own-goal.
A total of 10 players originally picked for his 23-man squad were missing here - Craig Cathcart's knee giving way in the morning as he joined a list of absentees including Aaron Hughes, Jonny Evans, Chris Brunt and Kyle Lafferty.
Serbia's Euro 2012 hopes were ended as Slovenia took all three points to consign them to third place in Group C.
Knowing only a win would help them jump above Estonia - who had played all their fixtures - into second place and also into the play-offs, Serbia's dreams were dashed by Dare Vrsic's third goal for Slovenia on the stroke of half-time.
They did have a second-half lifeline when awarded a penalty, but Nemanja Vidic failed to score from the spot.
Slovenia took the lead with an extraordinary goal.
Manchester City's Aleksandar Kolarov brought down Zlatan Ljubijankic wide on the right and, after the latter touched the free-kick into play, Vrsic swung a cross-cum-shot into the box from close to the line, fooling everyone as it sailed in unopposed.
Serbia had the perfect chance to get back in the game, though, only to fail to take it.
Marko Suler brought down Kolarov in the area with 63 minutes gone and, when referee Frank De Bleeckere pointed to the spot, Vidic was the unlikely man to step forward and place the ball but his penalty was saved.