It's been 36 years since India last won an Olympic medal in hockey. It is about time to break that drought, or at least so PR Sreejesh and co. will think when they begin their Rio 2016 campaign against Ireland on Saturday.
India have disappointed on the Olympic stage in the recent past, not qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Games, while failing to impress in Athens and Rio. Indeed, you have to go back to the 2000 Sydney Olympics to pick out an India win in their opening encounter of the Olympics, and that is a statistic Roelant Oltmans' men will need to change if they harbour hopes of winning a medal in Rio.
Having reached the Champions Trophy final, where they only lost to Australia in a controversial penalty shootout, hopes are high that this could be the Games that India finally win an Olympic medal and break that long drought.
However, their preparations haven't been the greatest, with results and that Sardar Singh-dropped-as-captain controversy not exactly helping matters. If India are not tuned in from minute one in these Olympics, Ireland and the rest of their opponents will take full advantage, and the medal hopes will go down the drain.
"We want to begin on a winning note and carry the momentum forward in the following group stage matches," India coach Oltmans said. "We do not want to underestimate any team especially at an event like the Olympics where every team wants to win."
India beat Ireland in a pre-Olympic tournament recently, but this Irish team have improved leaps and bounds of late and the team in blue will need to be at their best. India cannot afford anything but a win, considering they are in a difficult Pool B which also has Netherlands, Germany, Canada and Argentina.
"The Irish can be unpredictable," India captain Sreejesh was quoted as saying by Hockey India's official website. "They have been doing well in the European Championships and are sturdy and fast on the ball. It won't be an easy game to win and we will need to go at full force."
The other two men's Pool B matches will be Argentina vs Netherlands and Canada vs Germany. In Pool A the games are – Belgium vs Great Britain, Australia vs New Zealand and Spain vs Brazil.
There are two women's matches on Saturday – both from Poll B – Argentina vs USA and Great Britain vs Australia. The India women's team begin their Olympic campaign on Sunday.
Where to Watch Live
India vs Ireland is scheduled for a 7.30 p.m. IST (11 a.m. local time, 3 p.m. BST) start. Below is the TV and live streaming information for all the hockey matches.
UK and Ireland: TV: BBC. Live Streaming: BBCiPlayer.
Brazil: TV: SporTV, Globo, Fox Sports and ESPN.
Argentina: TV: ESPN and DirecTV. Live Streaming: ESPN Play Latin America.
Australia: TV: Channel 7, 7Two and 7Mate. Live Streaming: Channel 7 online.
Germany: TV: ARD and ZDF.
Netherlands: TV: NOS.
Belgium: TV: VRT-RTBF.
Canada: TV: TSN, RDS.
Spain: TV: RTVE.