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Mar 18, 2013

German coach blasts Cup qualifying

Germany coach Joachim Low said World Cup and European Championship competitions should have pre-qualifying round for so-called smaller nations.

"I think it can be discussed whether it makes sense to play twice against countries like Kazakhstan, Andorra, San Marino or the Faroe Islands," he said in Kicker magazine.

"I personally would be in favor of a pre-qualification event. The calendar is already saturated and some help is needed."

Low said international football would benefit if smaller nations had to earn the right to take part in qualifying for major tournaments.

Low says games like the upcoming home and away matches against Kazakhstan could be avoided if the majority of lower-ranked nations were sifted out of qualifying by battling it out for a limited number of places in advance.

Germany travels to Astana on Friday night before welcoming Kazakhstan to Nuremberg next Tuesday.

The two games give Low's side the opportunity to extend their six-point advantage over Sweden at the top of Group C against a side who have lost three of their four qualifying matches already, drawing the other against Austria.

However, Low is not going to be able to count on Sven Bender or Toni Kroos, who both pulled out of his squad Monday.

Bayern Munich midfielder Kroos has a knee injury while Bender has the flu. His twin brother Lars pulled out of the squad Sunday due to a heel problem, but Low has not yet decided whether any additions will be made.

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