India vanquished Canada 5-1 to top Pool C and storm into the quarterfinals of the 2018 Hockey World Cup. In front of a packed crowd at the Kalinga Stadium, the Men in Blue reiterated their glowing potential by overcoming some tense moments and sealing a majestic triumph.
Harmanpreet Singh's pin-point drag-flick propelled India to an early lead in the 12th minute of the game. However, Canada tightened their defence and reverted pressure on the hosts by gathering a fair share of possession. A stunning counterattack saw them level the score in the third quarter.
Needing an outright victory in order to book a direct quarterfinal berth, India upped their intensity and started to push men forward in the final quarter. Their enhanced aggression paid rich dividends as Chinglensana Singh fired them ahead in the 46th minute.
Lalit Upadhyay extended India's lead with a couple of sparkling field goals. Those twin strikes were sandwiched by a lethal drag-flick from Amit Rohidas.
Here are the three standout players from India's dominant 5-1 victory over Canada in Bhubaneswar.
#3 James Wallace (Canada)
During the first quarter, James Wallace was among the few Canadian midfielders to pose a persistent threat to the free-flowing Indian attackers. The 19-year-old played a physical game to negate his lack of experience at the highest level.
At the stroke of half-time, Wallace embroiled himself in trouble when he used his brawn to challenge Hardik Singh. As a consequence, he received a yellow card and had to spend five minutes off the turf in the third quarter. Although it was a result of his own doing, one would expect such a development to deter any young player.
However, Wallace defied his inexperience by showing enormous mental fortitude. Gordon Johnston dispossessed Simranjeet Singh at the Canadian circle and embarked on a brilliant run. His swift pass found the teenager who had positioned himself smartly at the Indian end.
Despite being crowded by a slew of Indian defenders, Wallace displayed deft stick-work to outsmart them and unfurled a remarkable pass to Floris van Son. The latter converted his immense assist into an equaliser for Canada in the 39th minute.