Rio de Janeiro, Aug 5: Indian men will aim to end their 36-year wait for a hockey medal when they begin camapaign against Ireland in the Rio Olympics 2016 on August 6 (Saturday).
Captain PR Sreejesh admitted that the Irish team is "unpredictable" and it will not be an easy game on Saturday. India last won a hockey medal, a gold, in 1980 in Moscow. They have a record 8 golds.
"The Irish can be unpredictable. 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 full force," Sreejesh said.
Chief coach Roelant Oltmans said they want to start the Olympics on a winning note and carry the momentum.
"We want to begin on a winning note and carry the momentum forward in the following group stage matches. We do not want to undermine any team especially at an event like the Olympics where every team wants to win," Oltmans said.
Indian women will also be playing in this year's edition of the Olympics. They qualified after 36 years.
Here is the tournament format, India squads and their fixtures for Olympics. All matches are Live on Star Sports channels.
Hockey competition from August 6 to 19 at Deodoro Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro
What is the format?
In both men and women sections, 12 teams each will be in action. There are 2 groups of 6 sides each with top 4 progressing to the knockouts (quarter-finals). Indian men and women are in Pool B. Winners of quarter-finals go to semi-finals and further to the gold medal match (final). The losers in last-4 games will fight it out for bronze medal.
August 6 (Saturday) - 7.30 PM IST - Vs Ireland
August 8 (Monday) - 7.30 PM IST - Vs Germany
August 9 (Tuesday) - 7.30 PM IST - Vs Argentina
August 11 (Thursday) - 6.30 PM IST - Vs Netherlands
August 12 (Friday) - 9 PM IST - Vs Canada
Quarter-finals: India Vs Belgium - August 14 (Sunday) - 9 PM IST
Semi-finals: August 16 (Tuesday) - 8.30 PM IST
Final: August 18 (Thursday) - 8.30 PM IST
August 7 (Sunday) - 7.30 PM IST - Vs Japan
August 9 (Tuesday) - 2.30 AM IST - Vs Great Britain
August 10 (Wednesday) - 7.30 PM IST - Vs Australia
August 12 (Friday) - 4.00 AM IST - Vs USA
August 13 (Saturday) - 6.30 PM IST - Vs Argentina
Quarter-finals: August 15 (Monday) - 6.30 PM IST
Semi-finals: August 17 (Wednesday) - 8.30 PM IST
Final: August 19 (Friday) - 8.30 PM IST
Men: Goalkeeper: PR Sreejesh (captain). Forwards: Harmanpreet Singh, SV Suneel (vice-captain), Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah. Midfielders: Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh, SK Uthappa, Devindar Walmiki, Chinglensana Singh, Danish Mujtaba. Defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Kothajit Singh, Surendar Kumar, VR Raghunath.
Women: Goalkeeper: Savita. Forwards: Anuradha Devi Thocham, Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria, Preeti Dubey, Rani Rampal. Midfielders: Navjot Kaur, Monika, Renuka Yadav, Lilima Minz, Nikki Pradhan. Defenders: Sushila Chanu (captain), Deep Grace Ekka, Deepika (vice-captain), Namita Toppo, Sunita Lakra.