Sunday, June 08, 2008

Euro 2008 - day 2

Austria went the same way at Ernst-Happel-Stadion from as fellow hosts Switzerland, opening their UEFA EURO 2008 challenge with a narrow defeat as Luka Modrić's early penalty gave Croatia victory in Vienna.

Modrić, Croatian midfielder, scored the only goal of the first Group B game in the fourth minute, driving in after Ivica Olić had been brought down by René Aufhauser – the fastest penalty in the history of the final tournament. The home side took time to find their feet after that early setback, but mounted a stirring late charge with substitute Roman Kienast heading centimetres past the post seconds before the whistle. In the other game of the day, Germany forward Lukas Podolski admitted to having "mixed feelings" about scoring the goals against Poland which gave Joachim Löw's team a winning start to their UEFA EURO 2008 campaign at the expense of his country of birth.The FC Bayern München player struck in the 20th and 72nd minutes – but celebrated neither – in Klagenfurt at Wörthersee Stadion to propel Germany to the top of Group B and earn himself the Carlsberg Man of the Match award. "Obviously I have mixed feelings," said Podolski. "I was born in Poland and I have a big family there so it's a very important thing for me. We applied what we worked on in training and must push forward from here." Following Croatia's success against Austria in the earlier fixture, the 23-year-old accepted the hard work was just beginning, saying: "As I said, this is the first step and we must continue – we can't relax. We have two days to refresh ourselves and then it's back to training and everything continues from there."

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