Germany coach Joachim Low described the prospect of a World Cup without four-time champions Italy as a “disaster” as Gian Piero Ventura’s men go into their play-off second leg trailing Sweden 1-0.
Italy host Sweden in the second leg on Monday at San Siro, looking to overturn the narrow defeat in Solna in attempt to reach a 15th consecutive finals.
Coach Ventura is under immense pressure and will almost certainly lose his job should Italy fail, while some are even expecting him to be sacked regardless of Monday’s result, with Carlo Ancelotti waiting in the wings.
Reigning champions Germany are in no such position having already confirmed their spot in Russia and, while Low believes Sweden have shown plenty to suggest they deserve to qualify, he also feels Italy failing to qualify would be a blow to the tournament.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Germany’s friendly with France on Tuesday, Low said: “It would be a disaster for Italy not to progress, but Sweden would deserve it too.
“They developed well and have good individual players. I don’t mind the team which will progress in the end, but I am excited though, especially because of the first leg.”
Low went on to discuss team news ahead of Tuesday’s friendly with France and revealed that Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos – who both sat out of Germany’s draw with England on Friday – will start, as will Kevin Trapp.
He said: “Kevin Trapp will start in goal, also Khedira and Kroos will start.
“These three positions will be definitely fresh, otherwise we will wait for the final training [to decide on the team].”