France test could help England kick-start Euro 2012 campaign - Defoe

The Three Lions striker says that a good result from a tough opening fixture against Les Bleus would provide confidence for the rest of the tournament in Poland & Ukraine
England striker Jermain Defoe believes that opening Euro 2012 by playing hotly-tipped France could help the Three Lions kick-start a successful tournament.

Roy Hodgson's men begin their European Championship campaign on Monday, meeting Les Blues in the first Group D match in Donetsk.

And Defoe admits England are facing a difficult test against a French side who are unbeaten in 21 games but feels that a good result could provide confidence.

7.00 England are 7.00 with bet365 to beat France 1-0

"It's going to be a tough game," the Tottenham forward told the club's official website.

"France are a great footballing nation, they've got great players. But I don't think it's a bad thing playing such a tough team in our first game.

"I think if you win a difficult game like that, it brings confidence to the camp going into the next game.

"It's important at a tournament to get off to good start. I think that if we can do that, it will help hugely with the following matches."

Despite their recent failings in international competition, the 29-year-old insists Laurent Blanc’s side are contenders to win the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

He added: "Of late France haven't done too well at tournaments, but I think they are dark horses at Euro 2012.”