The coach says he may renew his deal with Italy but will not leave before the summer, and says the Azzurri have catching up to do on their European rivalsCesare Prandelli has ruled out the possibility of parting ways with Italy before the World Cup, despite his long-term future being in limbo.
The Azzurri lost 1-0 to Spain on Wednesday in an international friendly as they continue their build-up to the summer's tournament in Brazil, where they have been grouped with Uruguay, England and Costa Rica.
Prandelli had been linked with a departure from the national set-up in recent months, although the coach claimed in early March that he had changed his mind and wanted to remain coaching the Euro 2012 finalists.
Regardless, the former Fiorentina trainer says that he has no intention of leaving his position before the World Cup and has demanded that the nation steps up to match competition from the likes of la Roja.
"If I find an agreement for a contract renewal, good; otherwise I will still stand firm," he is quoted by Ansa as saying. "If I left it would be an embarrassment for me: the World Cup is too important.
"Europe moves on quickly and we have to keep in touch with other nations. We do not have big names or big numbers, but we must make up for that with great ideas.
The Italy boss was also heavily critical of his players' fitness in comparison to Vicente del Bosque's men and thinks that they were vastly inferior in sharpness compared to the world and European champions on Wednesday.
"At this moment of the season the fitness levels compared to Spain are almost embarrassing," he told Rai Sport. "We need to work hard, as to play with a high tempo we need intensity in our running.
"We wanted to win the ball back early, we never managed it because we weren't physically sharp enough. I'll be honest, I did not expect the players to have these fitness levels."