Joachim Low believes that Italy’s failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup means there will be “something missing” from football’s greatest tournament.
The Azzurri were beaten 1-0 on aggregate over a two-legged play-off by Sweden, ensuring their absence from the competition for the first time in just under 60 years.
Similarly synonymous with success in the World Cup to the Italians himself, Germany coach Low suggests that the level of competition will suffer without their star players.
“We can’t influence the draw. Everything can happen. In Italy’s case, I congratulate the Swedes. I saw the game, they defended well and gave everything,” he told the media.
“But I think it’s sad for Italy, because for such a big tournament [it’s a pity]. If Germany or France or even Brazil or Argentina [miss out], for me there is something missing without the Italian team.
“It’s also sad that Chile isn’t qualified, they didn’t manage it. For Italy though it is kind of a chance for a new beginning. Some of their players are ending their career.
“So I think it’s a little sad for Italy. I would’ve been happy if the Italians were part of [the World Cup].”
Italy defender Daniele De Rossi sparked headlines for an argument with his coach Gian Piero Ventura before being substituted into the contest with Sweden, yet Low admired the fight which all of the team’s veterans showed in their efforts to qualify.
“I read yesterday that De Rossi said he wouldn’t want to be subbed in, because they needed a striker. For me that is greatness,” he added.
“I have the biggest respect for those players, that played not only for Juventus, but also those that played in the national team. Gianluigi Buffon – biggest respect. [Leonardo] Bonucci or also [Daniele] De Rossi or the others. That’s pure class.”