MILAN (AFP) - Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is to step down following the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, according to reports in Italy on Wednesday.
The news comes less than a week before Italy, beaten finalists at Euro 2012, bid to seal their ticket for Brazil with a win at home against the Czech Republic.
Although Prandelli has yet to officially confirm the report in Italian sports paper La Gazzetta dello Sport, several other major media outlets gave weight to the story and have begun naming a list of potential successors.
Prandelli took over from Marcello Lippi in the wake of Italy's disastrous first-round exit at the 2010 World Cup, and despite continuing to tinker with his squad, has since transformed the four-time World Cup winners.
Italy sit top of World Cup qualifying Group B with 14 points from six games, and hold a four- and five-point lead on Bulgaria and third-placed Czech Republic respectively.
In Prandelli's 44 games in charge so far, Italy have won 20 times, drawn 14 and lost 10.
Leading the potential successors, according to the front page report in Gazzetta, is current Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni, who has coached a number of top sides in the Italian Serie A and led Milan to the league title in 1999.
Also on the list is current Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri and former Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini.