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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 October 2006, 18:44 GMT 19:44 UK
Duff lambasts 'shocking' Republic
Damien Duff
Group D: Rep of Ireland v Czech Republic
Date: 11 October
Kick-off: 1930 BST
Venue: Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Coverage: Updates on the BBC Sport website
Damien Duff has described the Republic of Ireland's humiliating defeat against Cyprus as "absolutely shocking".

Newcastle winger Duff pulled no punches in his condemnation of the performance in the 5-2 Euro 2008 qualifier defeat.

"There was a lot of bad defending, which starts from the front. But the goals we gave away were a joke," said the Republic star.

"We expected to win it, and I don't know if that was our downfall. But we're all devastated."

The questions now are how Staunton raises morale, and whether the players have it within themselves to lift their own spirits.

Staunton cancelled a warm-down training session in Limassol on Sunday morning and instead called a team meeting to discuss the embarrassing defeat.

Duff, spelling out the magnitude of the defeat, added: "When you come to places like Cyprus you have to pick up points.

"It's not acceptable dropping points here, even if we had drawn, that would still not have been acceptable.

"It's also not acceptable for the fans to see us played off the park by a team ranked 60 places below us, but it shows where we are."

Only San Marino are below Ireland in the Group D table due to an inferior goal difference and Duff acknowledged: "It's now an uphill struggle to qualify for the finals.

"But there's no other thing for it, we're going to have to raise ourselves and try and give the fans something to cheer against the Czechs on Wednesday."

Injured Miller out for Republic
08 Oct 06 |  Internationals
Cyprus 5-2 Republic of Ireland
07 Oct 06 |  Internationals
Staunton 'embarrassed' by defeat
07 Oct 06 |  Internationals
International photos
07 Oct 06 |  Football


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