New Delhi: Eyes firmly set on retaining the numero uno status in the continent, favourites India face a tricky campaign-opener against Japan in the men's Asia Cup hockey tournament starting on Wednesday.
Last edition's runner-up India, led by midfielder Manpreet Singh, will be eyeing a perfect start to their campaign in Pool A which also features arch-rivals Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh.
The opening match of a tournament always holds greater significance for any team and India too would be hoping for a positive start ahead of their clashes against Bangladesh and Pakistan on October 13 and 15 respectively.
For Manpreet and India, the Asia Cup is a chance to assert their supremacy in the continent.
Indian last played Japan in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup earlier this year where they won the encounter 4-3.
But the Indians can ill-afford to take Japan lightly as the Japanese have shown in the past that they have the ability to play fast-paced hockey with good attacks, making them an unpredictable team.
The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup was a prime example of this unpredictability as Japan stunned reigning world champions Australia 3-2.
Here's everything you need to know about the match:
Goalkeepers: Akash Chikte, Suraj Karkera;
Defenders: Dipsan Tirkey, Kothajit Khadangbam, Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Varun Kumar;
Midfielders: SK Uthappa, Sardar Singh, Manpreet Singh (captain), Chinglensana Kangujam, Sumit;
Forwards: S.V. Sunil (vice-captain), Akashdeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar, Gurjant Singh, Satbir Singh
Head coach: Sjoerd Marijne (NED)
Goalkeepers: Suguru Aramoto, Takashi Yoshikawa;
Defenders: Manabu Yamashita, Miu Tanimitsu, Masaki Ohashi, Shota Yamada, Suguru Hoshi;
Midfielders: Hiromasa Ochiai, Tsubasa Yamamizu, Kazuma Murata, Seren Tanaka, Genki Mitsutani, Kaito Tanaka;
Forwards: Kenta Tanaka, Heita Yoshihara, Koshi Yamasaki, Kenji Kitazata, Akihiro Watanabe
Head coach: Siegfried Aikman (NED)
Date: 11 October, 2017
Time: 2:30 pm IST
Venue: Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium, Dhaka, Bangladesh
India: TV: Star Sports 2/HD;
Malaysia: TV: Astro Arena/HD
Pakistan: TV: PTV
Japan: TV: TV Tokyo
Live Streaming: Hotstar
(With PTI inputs)