DORTMUND, Germany – Police arrested 40 Polish fans ahead of Wednesday's World Cup match between Germany and Poland, a sign they wouldn't tolerate trouble surrounding a game circled for its hooliganism potential.
Four known hooligans were arrested near the soccer stadium and found to have knives after Polish police in town for the game pointed them out to German authorities, Dortmund police spokesman Georg Blaszyk said.
"They won't be seeing the game," he said.
The other 36, most arrested near the city center, also were known hooligans, Blaszyk said.
The threat of hooliganism — particularly from English, Dutch and Polish fans — has been a security theme at the tournament. A recent spate of hooliganism in Poland has raised fears of violence from the country's fans, though there were few reported disturbances after their team's 2-0 loss to Ecuador last week.
Despite Wednesday's arrests, World Cup police headquarters spokesman Frank Scheulen described Dortmund as very quiet, with fewer incidents than before a normal German league game.
Authorities have said they're confident that the encounter between hosts Germany and Poland — a game laden with symbolism given Germany's World War II invasion of neighboring Poland — will remain peaceful.
"We are well prepared for potentially violent groups traveling to Germany," Dortmund's police said in a statement Wednesday.
Last week, German police increased checks on the Polish border. A special train carrying about 800 Polish fans to Dortmund also included Polish and German police as passengers, said Rafal Wasiak, the spokesman for Polish police working in Germany.
"There hasn't been any violence or problems with Polish fans abroad with the national team for over 10 years," Wasiak said. "We hope that's how it will be in Dortmund."
Seeming tranquility in World Cup-hosting cities so far has dissipated much of the fear over widespread hooliganism at soccer's biggest event and surprised police forces which had braced for the worst.