Heartbreak, devastation, the end of an era. These words all describe the emotions and feelings that accompanied China’s loss to Venezuela by a score of 72-59 on Wednesday evening at Beijing’s Wukesong Arena, ensuring an early end to the home nation’s FIBA World Cup run.
Fans were left in tears as the Chinese national team crashed out of the competition. The hosts, who are ranked No. 30 in the world rankings, were expected to make it into the second round of fixtures, despite being lower in the world rankings than Group A opponents Venezuela (No. 20) and Poland (No. 25).
Watch below to see highlights of the game (VPN off):
The Chinese team will now go on to contest the 17-32 classification spots in the competition, joining Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria and South Korea in Group I.
In the aftermath of the loss, pictures have been circulating on social media about the possible retirement of China’s national team captain, forward Yi Jianlian.
After the Venezuela loss, Yi commented that the Chinese offense was inconsistent and unreliable during the game, causing the national side’s downfall. He told media that the Chinese team needs to reset their focus on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
After starting the competition strong with a win against Cote D'Ivoire in their opening game, China came apart at the seams against Poland and Venezuela, eventually finishing third in Group A, just one point above bottom place.
The hosts are, predictably, disappointed with their showing. At the post-game press conference, China coach Li Nan said, “We made a lot of preparation. We played tight in offense at the very beginning. We let Venezuela grab 20 offensive rebounds, which is very hard for us.”
In a tweet by Titan Sports Plus, former China shooting guard Wang Shipeng choked up on TV following a previous loss to Poland in the second round of group games. The emotional response to that loss encapsulates the frustration at seeing China falter once again on the global stage.
Image via @titan_plus/Twitter
Current head of the Chinese Basketball Association and former China basketball superstar Yao Ming also looked similarly disappointed with the bad play of China at this year’s FIBA World Cup, with pictures of the NBA legend in the midst of both of China’s losses looking anything but happy.
[Cover image via Xinhua]