Under tremendous pressure to win the tournament opener against India, Pakistan captain Zeeshan Ashraf on Friday said fans back home would even excuse a flop show in the hockey World Cup if his team beats the traditional rivals in Sunday's much-hyped encounter.
"The first match against India is very crucial. If we win that match it will not only be a confidence boost for the boys but also give us psychological advantage going into the tournament," Zeeshan told reporters in New Delhi.
"In Pakistan, everybody wants us to win against India, come what may. Back home it doesn't matter whether we win the World Cup or not but winning against India is what everybody is looking for," he conceded.
"It would be one of the most important matches of my life," said the experienced full back, who will celebrate his 34th birthday on the match day.
Admitting that India would enjoy the home advantage going into the much-awaited encounter, Zeeshan said pressure would be similar on both the sides.
"The match is crucial for both the sides, so pressure will on both sides.
"Even though India are playing at their home we expect some support. If we play well I hope we will get support," he said.
Zeeshan said once the team clears the first hurdle, the goal is to reach the semifinals of the 12-team event.