Frankfurt, June 17 :

Before the World Cup began, German authorities were concerned that racial violence and hooliganism would overshadow the tournament. So far, things are under control.

The German media was concerned about right-wing violence and hooliganism destroying the country’s international party. On Thursday those worries partially came true in Berlin. In Zehlendorf district, a woman from Ivory Coast was mugged and attacked. According to police, six teenagers slapped, kicked and racially insulted the woman, who escaped uninjured and the teenagers have not been caught yet.

The attack comes as Germany continues trying to cope with several well-publicised crimes on immigrants within the last couple of months. An Ethiopian man was beaten in Potsdam in April and a Turkish-German politician was hit over the head with a bottle in May.

According to the German newspaper, Die Tageszeitung, right-wing violence in Berlin almost doubled during the first three months of 2006 compared to the same period in 2005 — although the number of attacks remains relatively low.

Of particular interest before the tournament was the discussion on so called “no-go” areas in parts of Germany, which would allegedly be dangerous for non-white visitors. Former government spokesperson Uwe-Karsten Heye had kicked off a nationwide debate in May by saying there were large parts of Germany, mostly in the eastern part, which dark-skinned visitors should avoid.

Still, the World Cup Organising Committee on Thursday said it was satisfied with the way the tournament has gone so far. “The biggest winners of this World Cup are the fans,” said vice president Wolfgang Niersback at a press meet. “When was the last time we had such a positive atmosphere in Germany?”

Not everything has been hunky dory in Germany. In Dortmund on Wednesday, police confronted with hundreds of rampaging hooligans. British hooligans have thankfully not got into the act though during the England vs Trinidad & Tobago match.

But then there are no guarantees. Police have been extra vigilant in the last couple of days fearing that even a small incident of hooliganism or racial attack could give Germany a bad name in international eyes.