Birmingham, Aug 5: The Indian men's hockey team defeated Wales 4-1 in its final preliminary league match here on Thursday, making it to the semifinals and maintaining their chances of topping the group on goal difference.
Drag flicker Harmanpreet Singh struck a hat-trick -- two goals off penalty corners and one off a stroke, while Gurjant Singh added a field goal as India came up with a strong performance in the Pool B match against Wales, a team against which they had found it difficult to get past. Gareth Furlong scored the lone consolation goal for Wales in the 49th minute.
With this win, India surged to the top of the points table with 10 points from four games, unbeaten with three wins and a draw. England are second in position with seven points from three matches and have a game to go against Canada. Wales remain third with six points while Canada have one point from three games.
The win against Wales augurs well for India as it improves their chances of topping the group as they have a big goal difference of +22 goals and England have a goal difference of eight goals and need to beat Canada by around 15-16 goal difference if they have to top the table.
India dominated the match and had 51 percent of possession while Wales had 48 percent. India made 28 attacking circle penetration while Wales had only 14 circle entries. India earned nine penalty corners converting two of them while on one they got a penalty stroke.
Harmanpreet opened India's account in the 18th minute when he converted a penalty corner and then made it 2-0 within a minute when he converted another penalty corner as India led at half-time.
Harmanpreet completed his hat-trick when he converted a penalty stroke in the 41st minute and then Gurjant Singh made it 4-0 when he scored a field goal in the 41st minute.
Wales finally got their goal after creating a number of chances when Gareth Furlong made it 1-4 when he scored five minutes before the final hooter.
India will get to know their semifinal opponent when the situation in Pool A becomes clearer as Australia lead the pool with nine points while three teams, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan have four points each and the next lot of matches will decide which team will finish in the second position.