Italy captain Sergio Parisse believes France's adaptability makes them favourites to win the 2013 RBS 6 Nations.
The rivals clash in Rome on Sunday week with the Azzurri hoping to repeat their shock 22-21 victory over Les Bleus of two years ago.
While Parisse was impressed with England's triumph over New Zealand last month, he insists France's spontaneity marks them out as superior.
"Definitely I believe France are the favourites. They make good decisions," he said.
"England beat the best team in the world in the autumn so everyone expects them to dominate the Six Nations. They are very structured and try to dominate the opposition physically.
"Against New Zealand they showed some interesting things, but they don't have the capacity to adapt their game like the French.
"Everything is well organised with France, but their players have the liberty to adapt and they are the best at doing that.
"England are more structured and follow instructions. They find it harder to adapt than France. But they are still one of the best teams in the world."
Odd years offer Italy's best chance of finishing outside the bottom two places of the Six Nations table that has been their perennial home since joining the competition in 2003 as three of their matches will be staged at home.
France, Wales and Ireland visit Rome over the next two months and Parisse insists their ambition must extend beyond being gallant losers.
"It's no long enough for us to play well, to be improving and be involved in good matches," he said,
"The gap between us and the other teams is closing, but for the credibility of the team we need results.
"We've been improving since we've been in the Six Nations and this year because we have three games we hope to do well.
"We don't have fear of any team in the Six Nations and we want to confirm our progression by winning matches."