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Germany coach Joachim Low defends Thomas Muller after San Marino anger

Germany head coach Joachim Low has defended Thomas Muller after he was criticised by the San Marino Football Association.

Muller said playing minnows such as the microstate was pointless, leading San Marino to accuse him of arrogance and mock him for not being able to score against teams "as poor as ours."

He added: "I don't understand the point of such uneven games like these, even more so because of the crowded fixture list.

"I understand that for them it is special to play against the world champions. I understand also that they can only defend with tough tackling.

"For this reason, I wonder if these are not games which bring unnecessary risks."

Germany won 8-0 in their World Cup qualifier against San Marino and Low told a news conference: "We started the match with all respect. We said that we were out to score as many goals as possible. We did that.

Thomas Muller was criticised for his remarks about San Marino.

"But you can't compare San Marino to other teams or playing in the Champions League. They were just not professional players. In this respect, Thomas Muller was right."

Meanwhile, Low is set to hand Wolfsburg midfielder Yannick Gerhardt his debut in defence in the final game of 2016, a friendly against Italy in Milan on Tuesday.

"It's conceivable he will start at left-back for Jonas Hector," he said.

Despite Giampiero Ventura taking charge of the Italy team after the summer departure of Antonio Conte, Low revealed that he expected few changes in their approach.

"There are no major differences," he said. "The Italians have their own style. We expect a tactically strong team which will press high up the pitch and knows how to defend."

Low added that he would start Bernd Leno in goal, adding: "I plan to play Benedikt Howedes alongside Mats Hummels."

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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