India won their final Pool D game on Thursday but they failed to win a direct quarter-final berth in the ongoing FIH Hockey World Cup.
The 4-2 victory over world No.14 Wales at the Kalinga Stadium here was not enough for fifth-ranked India to emerge as group toppers.
India, however, can still qualify for the quarters if they beat New Zealand in their crossover match here on Sunday.
Akashdeep Singh (32nd and 45th minutes) struck twice, while Shamsher Singh (21st) and Harmanpreet Singh (59th) got the other goals for India.
India were leading 2-0 at one stage, but the stadium fell silent when Gareth Furlong (42nd) and Jacob Draper (44th) scored successive goals for Wales to make it 2-2. Thereafter, though Akashdeep and captain Harmanpreet struck to ensure full points, India fell well short of their target.
India needed to win the game by a margin of eight or more goals to finish on top of Pool D and directly qualify for the last-eight stage. Both India and England ended their group engagements on seven points each after winning two matches and drawing one, but the European side topped Pool D on the basis of superior goal difference.
Harmanpreet Singh admitted it was not their best game. “We did not want to chase to score goals and create more mistakes,” he reasoned.
With a packed stadium rooting for them, it was expected that India, who earlier beat Spain and played a goalless tie against England, would bulldoze past the low-ranked Wales team.
But despite earning seven penalty corners and almost half-a-dozen more chances, the home team failed to make the most of the opportunities as the Welshmen punched above their weight.