The first British men’s team in an Olympic Games since 1956 will face the top four teams from Beijing four years ago, with reigning champions Hungary their final group match.
They start on Sunday evening at the Water Polo Arena against Romania, arguably the closest team to GB in terms of results in the last few years.
And Bristol-born Figes, who has played professionally in Italy for Pescara, knows it will take something special to pick up even one win.
“We have got the gold, silver, bronze and fourth-placed teams from Beijing and they are all going to be up there fighting for medals again,” said 33-year-old Figes, the men’s captain.
“And then we have got Romania who are another world class team.
“We are the youngest team by a long way in the men’s competition so it really is about us stepping up and progressing.
“If we can get one win against these teams that will be fantastic result for is but it’s more about progressing and moving forward post-Olympics as well, and putting water polo back on the map.
“We have played Romania quite a lot over the last few years and we have closed the gap massively.
“We are hoping we can give the performance of our lives and really give them a shock today.”
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