Blanc: France is not favored to win Euro 2012

Les Bleus boss admitted that Spain, Germany and Netherlands are champions-elect going into this summer's showpiece while his side must be strong defensively to stand a chance.
France coach Laurent Blanc addressed the assembled media in Ukraine and insisted that his side is an underdog 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 is far from one of the main contenders to win Euro 2012.

"We are not favorites. I am not the only one to say this, there are only two or three teams who are favorites 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 defense 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 defense during the qualifications for Euro 2012, even if we often changed personnel," he said. "I hope that we will realize our potential because without a strong defense, 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 is doubtful at present due to a knee injury.

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