Finnan out of Czech clash after failing to recover from injury

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The Independent Online

The Republic of Ireland manager Steve Staunton has confirmed that the defender Steve Finnan will miss tomorrow's Euro 2008 qualifier against the Czech Republic in Prague.

Finnan missed Saturday's 2-2 draw with Slovakia with a knee problem after staying in Liverpool to receive further treatment but has failed to recover sufficiently in time for the Group D match.

Staunton said: "It is unfortunate that Steve and Darren have withdrawn due to injury but we still have 20 players in the squad which will still give us plenty of options."

The Wigan midfielder Jason Koumas is out of Wales' trip to face Slovakia in tomorrow's qualifier in Trnava. Koumas, 27, suffered a foot injury in the 2-0 defeat to Germany in Cardiff on Saturday, and was ruled out of training until Thursday, so the Wales manager John Toshack sent him back to Wigan for treatment.

The captain Craig Bellamy, who missed the Germany defeat because of the illness of his baby daughter, did return to training yesterday. He spent three days at her bedside in hospital over the weekend. The baby was discharged yesterday and Bellamy was able to rejoin the squad at their Vale of Glamorgan headquarters.

Record scorer David Healy limped out of training yesterday to give Northern Ireland a scare ahead of their qualifier tomorrow against Iceland. The Fulham striker Healy took a kick on his calf and sat out the remainder of the session as a precaution.

Keith Gillespie and Jonny Evans are also facing a race to be fit to face Iceland. Both players sat out training, Gillespie with a bruised knee and Evans with a bruised ankle.

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