India's men's hockey team lost 0-1 to New Zealand and slumped to its its second defeat in the six-nation Invitational tournament, in Valencia, on Thursday night.
They face formidable Argentina in their penultimate round-robin match on Friday.
New Zealand's Stephen Jenness scored the lone goal of the match in the 18th minute.
India had earlier lost 0-4 to Germany in their tournament opener before registering a fighting 2-1 victory over Ireland in their next game.
They are placed fourth in the points table with just three points from a victory and two defeats.
Olympic champions Germany and Argentina lead the chart with six points from two wins, followed by Spain, on three from two games.
If India are to stay in the hunt for a place in the summit clash, Sardar Singh and his men have no option but beat Argentina.
Going by the latest International Hockey Federation (FIH) rankings, India enjoy an edge over Argentina.
By virtue of their runners-up finish in the Champions Trophy in London earlier this month, India leapfrogged to No 5 in the world rankings, ahead of Belgium (6) and Argentina (7).
But it will be easier said than done as the Argentines are really tough to beat as is visible from their run in the tournament so far.
The Indians will have to dish out a consistent performance and avoid making mistakes at the backline to emerge winners.
India finish their round-robin campaign against Spain on Sunday.
The tournament is being held as preparation for the upcoming Rio Olympic Games.