Greece has routed Macedonia, 86-54, on the opening day of the European basketball championship in Poland, while Croatia downed Israel, 86-79, in the other Group A match in Poznan.

2005 European champion Greece took an 18-5 lead in the first five minutes Monday and cruised to the win.  Point guard Vassilis Spanoulis led Greece with 17 points, while center Yannis Bourousis added 11 points and eight rebounds.

In Group B, defending champion Russia pulled away late to beat Latvia 81-68.  Russia got 24 points and nine rebounds from American-born Kelly McCarty and 22 points from point guard Sergey Bykov to hold off a late challenge.  Latvia cut Russia's lead to 65-63 with 4:08 to play before Russia closed out the win with a 16-5 run.

In the other Group B match in Gdansk, France defeated Germany, 70-65.

Elsewhere, Slovenia beat Britain, 72-59, in a Group C match in Warsaw, while in Group D action in Wroclaw, host Poland topped Bulgaria, 90-78.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.