Germany Opens With Win, Croatia Pushed

VIENNA -- Euro 2008 favorite Germany made a winning start with a 2-0 victory over Poland in Klagenfurt on Sunday, but there was trouble in the Austrian city as 140 mainly German fans were detained by police.

Germany's win sent it to the top of Group B after Croatia had earlier ground out a 1-0 victory over Austria which, like fellow co-host Switzerland the day before, started the championship with a narrow defeat.

Widely seen as the weakest teams in their respective groups, Austria and Switzerland risk an early exit from a tournament already struggling to fire the imagination of the home fans.

German and Polish fans have a history of rivalry, which also flared in Dortmund during the 2006 World Cup when the hosts met Poland in the group stages. Then, police detained more than 400 people after outbreaks of violence.

A spokesman for Klagenfurt police said on Sunday: "Some 140 high risk fans were detained. ... Most of them are German, though we are still in the process of checking everyone's identity."

Two groups of Germans were roving Klagenfurt's streets shouting anti-Polish chants, before their members were detained for disturbing the peace by Austrian and German police forces, Austrian news agency APA reported.

About 2,500 officers were on duty in Euro 2008's smallest host city, including 70 hooligan spotters.

On the pitch, though, things could not have gone better for Germany. Its Polish-born forward, Lukas Podolski, scored both goals to secure its first victory at a European Championship since it won the final of Euro 96 at Wembley.

Podolski steered the ball into an empty net midway through the first half from a pass by Miroslav Klose, Germany's other Polish-born striker, and volleyed the second in the 72nd minute.

Poland, which has not beaten Germany in 75 years, never looked like recovering.

Victory for Germany over Croatia in Thursday's game in Klagenfurt would virtually secure a place in the last eight.

Croatia was much less impressive when it took three points from the day's opening game in Vienna, which was decided by Luka Modric's fourth minute penalty.

Austria showed real spirit in the second half, laying siege to the Croatia goal in the final 20 minutes, and probably deserved a draw for sheer effort.

It will, however, need to avoid defeat at the very least against Poland in on Thursday before taking on Germany in both teams' final Group B match on June 16.

Switzerland is in the same position in Group A, with Turkey and Portugal still to play.

Monday's Group C games, Netherlands verses Italy and Romania verses France, were not finished by press time.