France coach Alain Jardel has tried to play down the side’s chances of a successful title defence but co-captain Audrey Sauret hasn’t been listening.
Sauret sees Russia, the side France beat for the crown two years ago and also the runners-up to the United States in 2002 at the World Championships in China, as favourites but still gives her side a fighting chance of more glory.
"I think Russia are the favourites for the European title, but I also think that we will also have a chance to defend our title, even if we don't have the same team," Sauret said.
The reason for Jardel’s lower expectations is the absence of four key players from the 2001 group which captured the crown on home soil.
Charismatic captain Yannick Souvre, Laetitia Moussard, Laure Savasta and Isabelle Fijalkowski are no longer with France.
France also suffered a bad defeat in their last warmup game against Greece in the Pyrgos Tournament.
But the French are talented, and still have experience in the 134-times capped Sauret, and Italsoft Venezia star Cathy Melain, a past champion with Bourges in both France and Europe.
"We have nothing to lose, even if we have our title to defend," Sauret added in L'Equipe.
"We are also playing for a place at the Olympics. If we reach the semis, anything can happen."