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ROME, May 19 (AFP)
Italy's World Cup players were starting a 48-hour break on Sunday, spending precious time with their families before departing for the World Cup.

After Saturday evening's disappointing 1-0 defeat by the Czech Republic in Prague the players returned in the early hours of Sunday morning to Milan's Malpensa airport.

Coach Giovanni Trapattoni and the players who live in the north of Italy returned to their homes while the Rome-based players then flew on to the Eternal City.

Most will spend the next 48 hours with their families before the squad gather in a hotel in the centre of Rome on Monday evening.

On Tuesday the 'Azzurri' will first visit Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi at midday at the head of state's Palazzo Quirinale and then travel to the Palazzo Chigi to meet prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

After dinner the 'Azzurri' will hold a public training session at the Stadio Flaminio and then at 20:30 (18:30 GMT) on Tuesday evening they will depart Rome's Fiumicino airport for their training camp in Sendai, Japan.
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