Cesare Prandelli plays down Spurs talk
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has laughed off suggestions he will take over as manager of Tottenham next season, although he intends to reveal his future plans prior to the World Cup.
Prandelli has hinted that he will be stepping down as Azzurri boss following the tournament in Brazil this summer to return to club management.
Speculation is already intensifying as to where the former Fiorentina coach will take over in July, and Spurs have been touted as a potential destination.
"That's purely fantasy football," Prandelli told RAI television when asked about the rumours. "It's still a little soon to talk about my future. I'll sit down with [Italian Football Federation president Giancarlo] Abete and Federation bosses after the friendly with Spain [on March 5] to discuss it."
He picked out Croatia and Bulgaria as Italy's biggest rivals for qualification, but warned that Norway, Azerbaijan and Malta must not be taken lightly.
"It's a tough group and it's not going to be as easy as many people might think," he said.
"We may not have got Belgium or Switzerland, but I don't think Croatia are inferior. Croatia and Bulgaria could both potentially win the group and we've faced Malta recently and know how difficult they can be. Norway are a good team and Azerbaijan are in a period of growth."
After travelling to Norway, Italy will host Azerbaijan and visit Malta before hosting Croatia in November. The top two qualify from the group automatically for the 24-nation Euro 2016 in France.