France are not favourites to win Euro 2012: Blanc
Warsaw: France coach Laurent Blanc addressed the assembled media in Ukraine and insisted that his side are underdogs to win this year`s European Championship.
Much is expected of Blanc`s men, who extended their unbeaten run to 21 games with a 4-0 friendly win over Estonia on Tuesday. However, the former Bordeaux trainer believes his side are far from the main contenders to win Euro 2012.
"We are not favourites. I am not the only one to say this, there are only two or three teams who are favourites to win Euro 2012: Spain, Germany and Netherlands. These three teams can hope to win the tournament, at least initially," Blanc told the assembled press in Ukraine.
Although his defence kept a clean sheet against Estonia, the France coach was critical of his side`s back line and he is aware that his country`s chances of success in Poland and Ukraine will depend heavily on a solid rearguard.
"We relied on a good defence during the qualifications for Euro 2012, even if we often changed personnel," he said.
"I hope that we will realise our potential because without a strong defence, we cannot go very far."
Blanc also defended midfielder Samir Nasri`s current form, while stating that the Manchester City midfielder should not be compared with the in-form Franck Ribery.
"Samir`s making progress, but he can do a lot better. When I hear people say that he`s not like Franck, I can only say that they`re simply not the same type of players," he added.
With Les Bleus opening Group D game against England on Monday, June 11, Blanc has an injury headache with three defensive midfielders on the treatment table.
Blaise Matuidi and Yann M`Vila (ankle) are both likely to miss the clash against Roy Hodgson`s men, while Alou Diarra doubtful at present due to a knee injury.