Reigning Asian champions India begin their campaign at the 37th and the final edition of Champions Trophy against arch-rivals Pakistan in Breda, Netherland on Saturday, June 23.
When does India vs Pakistan hockey match start and how to watch it live
The Champions Trophy 2018 opener will start at 2 pm local time, 5:30 pm IST and 1 pm BST.
Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 HD will provide live television coverage of the match in India. Live stream will be available on Hotstar.
What is at stake for India and Pakistan
India have never won a Champions Trophy title in the tournament's 36-year-old history and their best performance came in the 2016 edition where they finished runners-up to Australia.
The Asian giants are heading into the six-team tournament in Breda with an eye on the title. However, Harendra Singh's men need to put behind the memories of a woeful Commonwealth Games campaign — where they finished a disappointing fourth — and start afresh in Breda.
India had experimented at the multi-sport event in Gold Coast by picking a lot of youngsters in the side. However, for the high-profile Champions Trophy, a full-strength team has travelled to the Netherlands. Veteran Sardar Singh returns to boost the midfield while PR Sreejesh has been handed back the captains' band.
Winning start is vital: Coach Harendra Singh
Coach Singh will face a stiff test after having replaced Sjoerd Marijne after the Commonwealth Games disappointment. The confident Indian tactician is hopeful of a strong start and has insisted that the team will be focused on minimising errors, especially when it comes to penalty corners.
"Getting off to a winning start is vital because it sets the momentum for the rest of the tournament. There will be no room for emotions when we take on Pakistan. The team will play against them like any other team where we go for three points," Singh was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India on the eve of the match.
"We have prepared well for this tournament and are confident of a good performance. Our focus will be on playing according to our structure and executing our strategies against each opponent without making any errors."
India though will be without Sumit Kumar and Akashdeep Singh for the tournament as the forwards were ruled out due to injuries.
On the other hand, Pakistan ended their losing streak to India at the Commonwealth Games with a stunning late equaliser. The draw frustrated Marinje and his men and had an impact on their performances throughout the tournament.
Pakistan ready after training camp in the Netherlands
Pakistan had arrived in the Netherlands well in advance and have been preparing by playing against local sides under the watchful eyes of former India coach Roelant Oltmans. The eighth-ranked side have brought a squad that has a good mix of youth and experience.
Oltmans' familiarity with the Indian players will help Pakistan but it will all come down to pressure as the expectations are high once again for what promises to be a nervy affair in the Netherlands.
Global TV listings: Champions Trophy Hockey 2018
- UK: BT Sport 1, BT Sport 1 HD
- Pakistan: PTV Sport
Squads: India vs Pakistan
P R Sreejesh (C), Krishan Bahadur Pathak, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Jarmanpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas, Manpreet Singh, Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (VC), Sardar Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, S V Sunil, Ramandeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh.
M Rizwan Sr (captain), Imran Butt, Amjad Ali, M Irfan Sr, Mubashir Ali, Aleem Bilal, Ammad Shakeel Butt, Touseeq Arshad, Rashid Mahmood, Tasawar Abbas, Abu Bakar, M Irfan Jr, Arslan Qadir, Umar Bhutta, Shafqat Rasool, Ali Shan, Azfar Yaqoob and Aijaz Ahmed.