WALES SECURE IMPRESSIVE WIN AGAINST SWISS
Ben Francis and Gareth Furlong both score hat tricks against Swiss.
Furlong reaches 50 international goals
A win versus Croatia will see Wales progress to the Hockey Series Finals
Wales men bounced back from their disappointing defeat against Austria on Tuesday; producing a comprehensive 7 – 1 victory against Switzerland. Hat tricks for Ben Francis and Gareth Furlong, along with an Owain Dolan-Gray goal sealed a comfortable win in Zagreb yesterday evening.
Wales started the game quickly and after 2 minutes, forward Francis found the back of net to give Wales the early lead. Within 4 minutes, the Swiss were level courtesy of Pascal Knabenhans, who found himself in space inside the Welsh circle and made no mistake from close range. With no further goals in the first half the teams went into the half time break on level terms.
Three goals in the third quarter swung the game Wales’ way. Francis’ second was followed quickly by a Furlong double – scoring first from penalty corner and then from a penalty stroke after good initial work from Joe Naughalty.
Wales soon stretched their lead to four with Dolan-Gray finding himself on the score sheet sliding home a well-deserved goal. Furlong completed his hat trick scoring from a rebounded penalty corner, which took the defender’s tally to 50 goals from 94 international appearances. Francis then completed the rout, by scoring his third of the night and earning Wales a 7 – 1 victory over their opponents ranked 28th in the world.
Speaking to Furlong after the match he said:
It’s always nice to score, especially in an important game. The most important thing today was the result and we’ve managed to come away with a good one! If we’re honest with ourselves we haven’t played our best hockey out here, the second half today showed what we are capable of though when everything comes together. We’re looking forward to the final game against the hosts on Saturday and if we can play close to where we were in the second half today, we know we will come away with a positive result
Reflecting on the match, Head Coach Zak Jones:
I’m very proud of the guys and the resilience and composure they showed. Switzerland made things very difficult for us, especially in the first half. However, we stuck to our processes and principles, adapted well and produced a very good second half display to run out comfortable winners in the end
They now face hosts Croatia on Saturday 30 June (18.30 BST). A win will see Wales qualify through to the next round of the competition which takes place next year.
Watch the game live via FIH YouTube channel. Picture: Croatia Hockey