India had won every Olympic gold medal in the men’s hockey since 1928. Not only that, they had won every match they had played at the Olympics since that date, scoring 178 goals and conceded just seven. The gold medal was considered, by many, to be theirs for the taking.
However, there had been signs four years earlier that they could be beaten. India's gold medal victory at 1956 Melbourne had only been secured via 1-0 victories in both the semi-final and the final. The competition was definitely improving.
In Rome, India sailed through the preliminary round, with three easy victories, but in the quarter-finals Australia gave the champions a huge scare. The game was still goalless at full-time and even at the end of over-time. It was only during the second over-time period that India finally scored to sneak into the semi-final.
In fact, all four quarter-finals were tight affairs. Pakistan beat Germany 2-1, while Great Britain needed six periods of over-time before beating Kenya 2-1, and Spain edged New Zealand 1-0.
That pattern of close encounters carried on in the semi-finals, with both Pakistan and India securing 1-0 victories to set up a heavyweight showdown between the two neighbours.
They had met only twice before, with India winning both matches, but their performances in Rome suggested that the game would be close. And so it was.
Pakistan started aggressively and took an early lead when Nasser Bunda flicked the ball home. India came back strongly, but couldn't produce an equaliser. There were chances for both sides, but no more goals. At the final whistle, Pakistan's players could not contain their delight. India meanwhile looked shocked. After 32 years, one of the greatest winning streaks in the history of sport had come to a dramatic end.