Hockey World League: Wales 3-0 Italy

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Hockey: Wales men aiming to join Europe's elite

Wales men's hockey team are through to the semi-finals of the World League 2 tournament with a 3-0 win over Italy.

Gareth Furlong gave Wales the lead in the first period before securing a second goal from a penalty stroke.

Rupert Shipperley finished a strong team goal to take Wales 3-0 up as they dominated the game.

Wales will now face either Ireland in Saturday's semi-finals with the hope of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in India.

Co-captain Luke Hawker says they squad have developed over the course of the eight-day tournament.

"It is probably the first time this week we've put a 70 minute display together on both sides of the ball.

"Really pleasing to come away with the three goals and the victory but equally as pleasing to keep a clean sheet. That's something we pride ourselves on.

"We keep pushing ourselves. Keep asking a bit more. Every time we go back to the video and review the game just gone.

"Both our rest days were down here on the training ground and fine tuning really. It's great to see that transferring into on field performances"

How can Wales qualify for the World Cup?

A top-two finish in the eight-team tournament would lift Wales in the rankings and give them a chance of a first World Cup appearance.

Their victory against Italy puts them just one win away from the final, which would enable them to qualify for the World League Semi Finals tournament to be played this summer, which acts as a World Cup qualifier.

Wales could also qualify for the 2018 Commonwealth Games if they are ranked in the top 10 eligible nations by the end of the season.

"For us this is a victory in a sense. The tournament and coming here and getting to semi-final is great for us as a group," Hawker continued.

"We are not the sort of squad who will rest on our laurels. The hard work's done. I think we can play with a bit of freedom and go on and see if we can get that cherry at the end."

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