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ROME, April 28 (AFP) - The nightmare of potential play-offs for the Italian first division title and for the fourth and final Champions League place continued to haunt Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni Sunday a month before the World Cup kicks off.

That would mean Trapattoni would have to see his players play more matches - thus risking injury as well as disrupting his preparations for Japan.

If Inter win next week's match with Lazio then there will be no need for a play-off but any other result could give rise to different play-off scenarios involving Inter and their two challengers AS Roma and Juventus.

Players from those three clubs make up the bulk of Trapattoni's probable 23 players for Japan.

Likewise if AC Milan and Bologna both win their matches next week they will play off for the fourth place to decide the final qualification spot for the Champions League.

Several AC Milan players - Paolo Maldini, Filippo Inzaghi, Gennaro Gattuso and Christian Abbiati - will likely feature on Trapattoni's list.

Lazio or Chievo could also be involved in a play-off although of those clubs only Lazio's Alessandro Nesta is a likely squad member.

A relegation play-off is also a possibility but of the three clubs affected - Verona, Brescia and Piacenza - only Brescia's Daniele Bonera is a possibility for Trapattoni, and a long shot at that.

Any play-offs would also affect foreign players with countries qualified for the World Cup based in Italy.

Earlier this week Trapattoni suggested that the National Professional League (LNP) should change its rules to favour a one-off play-off on a neutral ground rather than the current home and away two-legged basis.
 
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