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Page last updated at 20:42 GMT, Sunday, 8 June 2008 21:42 UK
Germany 2-0 Poland

By Phil McNulty

Lukas Podolski scored both goals in Germany's 2-0 win over Poland

Lukas Podolski's double ensured Germany made a winning start to their Euro 2008 campaign against Poland in Klagenfurt.

Polish-born Podolski put Germany on the path to a deserved victory when he slid home Miroslav Klose's pass from close range after 20 minutes.

Germany were dominant, with Poland keeper Artur Boruc saving brilliantly from Germany captain Michael Ballack.

And Podolski added his second with a powerful rising volley that left Boruc helpless with 18 minutes left.

It was Germany's first victory in the tournament since they beat the Czech Republic to win Euro 96 at Wembley.

And their performance at the Worthersee Stadion, in the first 45 minutes in particular, suggested that Joachim Low's side are in the mood to make amends for previous disappointments this time around.

Germany wasted a glorious opportunity to go ahead after only four minutes when Klose broke in behind a flat-footed Poland rearguard and ran on to Ballack's pass.

He had only Boruc to beat, but decided instead to try to find the unmarked Mario Gomez, who was surprised by the pass and slid his effort wide with the goal at his mercy.

But Klose's unselfishness brought greater reward after 20 minutes when he escaped the attentions of Poland's defence again and squared for Podolski, who had the simplest of tasks to give Germany a lead they fully merited.

Germany were threatening to take full advantage of Poland's lack of organisation at the back, but were almost hit by a sucker punch when Wojciech Lobodzinsi played in former Celtic striker Maciej Zurawski, but he pulled his shot wide when well placed.

Germany's Ballack relieved after opening win

It was one of the few attacking threats posed by Poland, but normal service was quickly resumed and Germany should have doubled their lead eight minutes before the interval.

Clemens Fritz created the opening on the right flank, but Gomez's finish was poor and his effort rolled tamely across the face of goal.

Poland, as they had to, showed a greater sense of urgency after the break and were spurred by the arrival of Brazilian-born substitute Roger Guerreiro, who was on for the ineffective Zurawski.

He forced his way into a dangerous position after 58 minutes and it needed a timely intervention from Per Mertesacker to clear his cross.

Germany had gone off the boil in the second half, but substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger brought Boruc into action with a low drive from 25 yards which the Celtic keeper held safely.

And Boruc saved brilliantly from Ballack after 69 minutes, turning over acrobatically from the Germany captain's rising drive at the end of a long passage of possession.

There was no reprieve for Poland, however, three minutes later when Podolski added his second, helped by a large slice of good fortune.

Klose miscued badly from Schweinsteiger's pass, but the ball fell invitingly for Podolski, who volleyed high past Boruc to seal the German victory.

Guerrero almost threw Poland a lifeline with seven minutes left, when his excellent cross found Southampton's Marek Saganowski, but his near post effort was blocked by German keeper Jens Lehmann.

But it was a rare moment of discomfort for Germany, who made a typically efficient and impressive start to Euro 2008.

Germany: Lehmann, Lahm, Metzelder, Mertesacker, Jansen, Fritz (Schweinsteiger 55), Frings, Ballack, Podolski, Gomez (Hitzlsperger 75), Klose (Kuranyi 90).
Subs Not Used: Enke, Friedrich, Westermann, Rolfes, Odonkor, Trochowski, Borowski, Neuville, Adler.

Booked: Schweinsteiger.

Goals: Podolski 20, 72.

Poland: Boruc, Wasilewski, Zewlakow, Bak, Golanski (Saganowski 75), Dudka, Lewandowski, Lobodzinski (Piszczek 65), Zurawski (Roger 46), Krzynowek, Smolarek.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Jop, Wawrzyniak, Zahorski, Kokoszka, Pazdan, Gargula, Murawski.

Booked: Smolarek, Lewandowski.

Att: 30,000

Ref: Tom Ovrebo (Norway).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Germany's Lukas Podolski 8.51 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.


Poland played their first ever match at a European Championship, whilst Germany featured in a record 33rd fixture in the competition.

Lukas Podolski scored his 26th and 27th international goals in 49 international matches, netting twice against the nation where he was born. Podolski is the first German to score a brace in a European Championship match since Oliver Bierhoff scored two in the final of Euro 96.

Germany remained undefeated against their eastern neighbours adding their 12th win to four draws in their 16th run-in with Poland. It was Germany's first victory in this competition since defeating Czech Republic 2-1 in the final of Euro 96 on 30 June 1996. They ended a six match victory drought, their longest in the history of the competition.

Poland coach Leo Beenhakker is still waiting for his first victory as a head coach in a major championship. Four matches with Holland (1990 Fifa World Cup), three with Trinidad and Tobago (2006 Fifa World Cup) and this match with Poland have not produced a victory.

Trivia stats source: Infostrada Sports

Group B
16 June 2008 21:40
    P GD PTS
1 Croatia 3 3 9
2 Germany 3 2 6
3 Austria 3 -2 1
4 Poland 3 -3 1

see also
Germany team guide
15 May 08 |  Germany
Poland team guide
15 May 08 |  Poland
Austria 0-1 Croatia
08 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Germany v Poland photos
22 May 08 |  Euro 2008
Euro 2008 day two as it happened
08 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008

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