Steve Staunton´s dream of leading Ireland to next summer´s Euro 2008 finals are effectively over after Marek Jankulovski´s first-half winner gave the Czech Republic an almost unassailable Group D advantage.

Reeling from the sending-off of substitute Stephen Hunt on the hour for a lunge on Jan Polak, Staunton´s men battled bravely in search of an equaliser but were ultimately fortunate to go down by such a narrow deficit.

Jankulovski´s goal marked a first period of complete dominance by Czechs spiked only by Kevin Doyle´s 38th-minute chance in which the Reading man was sent clear by Robbie Keane but hit the post.

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