Bhubaneswar (Odisha): India beat Wales 4-2 on Thursday to finish in second place in Pool D and will now play a cross-over match to book a berth for a place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup.
The hosts gained the upper hand in the second half with goals from Shamsher and Akashdeep but a lapse in defence saw the Welsh team tie the game played at Kalinga stadium on Thursday. Akashdeep rallied past the Wales defenders to give India the lead again in the final quarter. Harmanprret Singh found the back of the net in the last minute to secure a 4-2 win.
India had a tall task ahead of them as they needed to triumph by 8 goals to leapfrog England in the standings of Pool D if they were to advance straight to the quarterfinals without having to go through the crossovers.
Wales, though, proved they weren’t pushovers and played strongly in the first half, fending off India until the 22nd minute.
After Harmanpreet’s attempted drag flick was blocked by the Welsh first rusher, Shamsher ultimately put India ahead with a thunderous hit. India scored one goal in the first half, which diminished their chances of topping the group.
The first goal of the second half came from India through Akashdeep, early in the third quarter.
However, as India sought more goals, Wales had a chance to launch their own counterattacks. As the third quarter came to a conclusion, Wales breached the Indian defence successfully twice to shock the spectators and tie the game going into the last 15 minutes.
The Indian audience came to life at the beginning of the fourth quarter after Akashdeep added a second spectacular goal to restore India’s lead.
In the last minute of play, Indian captain Harmanpreet scored his first goal of the tournament after India won a penalty corner. Wales substituted an outfield player for their goalkeeper.
India’s second-place finish in Pool D means they will now play New Zealand, who came third in Pool C in the crossovers, for a place in the quarterfinals.
Akashdeep Singh was awarded player of the match for his two stunning goals.
“We weren’t very good in the first half in terms of executing our plans, but the second half was better. Thank you to all the fans who turned up and please keep supporting us just like this,” expressed the Indian player.