How kind has the draw been to the Indian hockey teams at the Olympics? There's more than a faint hope that the 11-time medal winners may add to their tally at Rio, even though some ex-players have quashed those hopes, calling it stupid and unrealistic.
However, a lot depends on whom India has to play as it progresses. First, let's look at the league stage.
Men – teams in India's group: Argentina, Netherlands, Canada, Ireland and Germany
India's men's team was the first to clinch a spot in Rio. With 12 teams divided into two groups of six, four teams from each will make the cut to the quarter-finals. Essentially, this mean not finishing in the bottom two to ensure a quarter-final entry.
India are expected to win their Group B games against Ireland (August 6, 7.30 PM IST) and Canada (August 12, 9 PM). The match against Canada is the last one in the group stage, and India will be hoping not to have to leave it till then.
Other than these two it gets tricky. Argentina (August 9, 7.30 PM) ran India ragged in Valencia recently, and are no pushovers. India also has to encounter the mighty Germans (August 8, 7.30 PM) and and coach Roelant Oltmans's home country, the Netherlands (August 11, 6.30 PM).
If India finish third or fourth in the group, they may be up against the formidable Australians or Great Britain in the quarter-finals. So, it will be important to win two out of the three games against the "difficult" teams at the group stage to engineer a slightly easier passage to the semi-finals.
Women – teams in India's group: Argentina, Australia, Great Britain, Japan, USA
The Indian women's team made history by qualifying for the Olympics for the first time. A third or fourth spot from the group is probably the first, realistic target to aim for.
Ranked No. 13, India will be playing five teams all rated higher than them. The matches against No. 10 Japan (August 7, 7.30 PM) and No. 5 USA (August 12, 4 AM) might thus prove the most decisive. If these matches go well, the likely quarter-final opponents will be Australia or the most successful Olympic women's team – and World No. 1 – The Netherlands.