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England seven dumped by Russia

Alas poor Yorick. He stood alone.

Yorick Williams, who sustained a suspected broken nose, fired a game-best 24 points for England's seven man wonders in Moscow on Wednesday afternoon but his resistance proved futile as the visitors crashed to a humiliating 94-42 defeat to Russia in their penultimate European Championship tie.

Before a 3000 crowd, the English never stood a chance after their squad had been reduced to the barest of bones after England Basketball failed to acquire visas for several top names.

No Andy Betts. No Tony Dorsey. No Mike Bernard. No luck.

Down 33-12 after the opening period after Russia ran off the first ten points, Laszlo Nemeth's threadbare team managed to add only seven further points before half-time as their hosts simply cruised away.

"If England Basketball's aim was to destroy the team, then they succeeded," said Nemeth. "I just hope the players lift themselves when we play Portugal."

That England only shot a miserable 18% from field-goal range did nothing to help but only in the final stages did they even hold an already embarrassing deficit at bay.

The wrath of the players towards the governing body was clear, particularly after recently elected Director of International Teams Dip Donaldson had pledged to improve matters.

"It's a shambles," England captain Ronnie Baker told The Guardian

"You can only assume they are trying to deliberately sabotage the team, trying to sabotage Laszlo's reign as coach. 

"They knew about this fixture 18 months ago. The whole squad was together for games in November. They could have taken our passports then and done it in a day." 

Alexander Petrenko led Russia with 16 points.

England now require victory on Saturday against Portugal to avoid the group's wooden spoon. Nemeth, after this debacle, could hardly be blamed for calling it a day.

Elsewhere the Portuguese lost 124-116 in the Czech Republic.

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