The Russia boss underlined his commitment to his current role as he dismissed speculation that he would take over from Cesare Prandelli, who is rumoured to be considering stepping down after the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

"Could I be on the Azzurri bench? We already talked about it, but I said no," the Italian told Metronews.

"I am absolutely concentrated on my work in Russian until 2018."

Russia are top of Group F, one point ahead of Portugal, with away matches against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan. 

Prandelli's Italy have already secured their berth in Brazil after winning six of their eight matches in Group B to put a seven-point cushion between themselves and Bulgaria in second place with two games to go.