AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
DONETSK: France coach Laurent Blanc has promised that his side will attack England in their Euro 2012 opener on Monday, and says he hopes "the team that tries to play football, wins".
France produced some impressive attacking football in their three warm-up matches, coming from two goals down to beat Iceland 3-2 before a comfortable 2-0 defeat of Serbia and a 4-0 rout of Estonia.
England, by contrast, played on the counter-attack in their two preparatory matches -- a pair of 1-0 successes over Norway and Belgium.
The stage is therefore set for a clash of styles in the Group D curtain-raiser at Donetsk's Donbass Arena, and Blanc has pledged that his team will not abandon their attacking principles.
"If England wait, should we wait for them?" he asked reporters.
"It'd make for a nice 0-0. Maybe you'd get a late goal from a set-piece. But we'll play our game. Both teams will.
"Will there be two different approaches? Yes. I hope the team that tries to play football, wins. But that's not always how it goes in football."
Having spent the two final years of his playing career at Manchester United, Blanc said he "knew (the English) mentality a bit", and he said new England coach Roy Hodgson has not had enough time to introduce a fresh approach.
"It's hard to drill your ideas into a team as the national coach, and he's only had two months," said Blanc, the only coach at the Euro to have lifted the trophy as a player.
"In their last two matches, I don't think they were bluffing about how they will play -- he's not had enough time to do anything else with them."
Allied to France's encouraging recent form, which has stretched their unbeaten run to 21 games, Blanc received further good news on Sunday when it was revealed that Yann M'Vila was fit to return after his ankle injury.
The Rennes defensive midfielder is expected to start on the bench against England but Blanc said that, apart from a few minor niggles, his side's build-up had been largely untroubled.
"We have a feeling that we've prepared well," he said.
"We had a few problems, like England, but we feel like we've done everything we planned to do, despite the time constraints.
"So we feel we're ready for June 11. It's been the objective since the start of the training camp. And we're ready for tomorrow (Monday)."
For all his satisfaction at France's preparations, Blanc went out of his way to temper expectations about what his side can hope to achieve in Poland and Ukraine.
Since their quarter-final exit at Euro 2004, France have won just one group game at a major tournament -- against Togo at the 2006 World Cup -- and with the trauma of the 2010 World Cup campaign still fresh in the memory, Blanc says Les Bleus cannot set their sights too high.
"Of course, there are teams better equipped to win the Euro than France, but if we fulfil our objective of getting out of the group, anything can happen," he said.
"Unfortunately, however, we are no longer one of Europe's top sides."
He added: "It's normal that we don't have the same objectives as Germany or Spain. People forget that, in recent years, our results have not allowed us to hold on to the place we used to have in global football.
"I say that not out of pleasure, but out of reality. People look at Group D and say: 'France are the favourites.' But I don't agree.
"When the draw was made, we were in the fourth pot (of seeds). England, France, Sweden and Ukraine can all think they could qualify.
"We're the same as the others. We hope to qualify and to earn the right on the pitch."