Germany's Thomas Muller criticised by San Marino boss over comments
San Marino coach Pierangelo Manzaroli has accused Thomas Muller and Germany of being disrespectful with remarks they made after their 8-0 World Cup qualifying win in Serravalle on Friday.
Muller said he did not "see the point" of playing such games, claiming it was a risk to professional players like himself to be subjected to some of the tackling amateur players dish out.
The press officer for the San Marino Olympic Committee, Alan Gasperoni, published a letter on Facebook detailing 10 reasons why the game was important, including how the gate receipts and television and marketing revenue will enable them "from just these 90 minutes" to build a new football pitch and develop the game in the country, while concluding with a dig at Germany's lack of fashion sense.
Manzaroli has added his voice to that of Gasperoni by condemning Muller's postmatch remarks.
"When a small nation like San Marino play against the world champions Germany, a result like this can happen," the San Marino boss told Mediaset. "The important thing is that respect should never be lacking. I think that also you need to show the right degree of self-control after the match and this is what makes the difference when judging the stature of people.
"In this case, this aspect was found wanting. I think the numbers make the difference -- we are a country of 30,000 inhabitants and we don't give out passports for sports reasons. There is a lot of work goes into what we do and I would not read too much into the Germany game because we've played lots of games that have been even, especially against some top nations.
"We shouldn't let remarks like these get to us. We are an amateur national team, but absolutely professional in creating our identity. These remarks are maybe forced on the players by big federations who are perhaps looking to change the system of qualification. Maybe it's right too, but these things should be said by representatives of the federations and not by the players, who then risk generating a backlash."
Germany coach Joachim Low defended Muller's remarks at his prematch news conference ahead of the friendly with Italy on Tuesday, saying that the Bayern Munich forward is used to playing against players who are "physically and technically professionals."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.