Laurent Blanc believes France are no longer a "great football nation" and is anticipating a tough test when they begin their Euro 2012 campaign against England.
France have recently underperformed on the international stage, having failed to win a match at either Euro 2008 or the 2010 World Cup, suffering the infamy of players striking in the latter tournament.
Blanc, though, has helped to steady the France ship leading them to qualification for this summer's European Championship as they topped Group D.
However, the former Bordeaux boss is realistic about Les Bleus' ambitions, telling the Times: "France is not part of the great football nations any more.
"Not a lot of people admit that. The journalists don't admit that. I know that it hurts. That’s not lacking ambition. It's pragmatic. It's analysing the situation as it is."
France begin their Euro 2012 campaign on June 11 against England, and Blanc is wary of Roy Hodgson's side, despite their manager having only recently taken the reins.
He said: "It mustn't be easy for Hodgson. National coach is a very difficult role anyway. You need time to share your ideas, your philosophy and he just arrived.
"But I've seen the squad. I know them all. England will be a tough opponent, but I don't think there will be big surprises.
"Take the FIFA ranking [with England seventh, France sixteenth]. Who is the best team in the group? Who is the best?"