Long road ahead for Malouda

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Chelsea star Florent Malouda has admitted France still have a long way to go before they can recapture former glories.

Les Bleus visit Wembley tonight for a high-profile friendly with England hoping to maintain the momentum they have built since that atrocious World Cup campaign.

"We had bad times recently but right now we are in a good position," said Malouda. "We have to appreciate that. But we know it is not enough for us to be a big nation again."

The effects of what happened in South Africa are still being felt on the pitch, with both Patrice Evra and Nicolas Anelka yet to serve their full suspensions, imposed after the mid-campaign walkout and strike.

And, while Laurent Blanc has stabilised the position and overcome a difficult start to put the 2000 winners back on track to reach the 2012 European Championship in Poland and the Ukraine, Malouda accepts a team whose world ranking has slipped to 18 has a bit of work to do.

"We are not in the top 10," he added. "Our aim is to get back there and then maybe win something. But we are a long way from that position at the moment."

Settlement of the World Cup bonus row that has continued since the summer has helped increase the sense of calm around the French camp.

And while Tottenham's Younes Kaboul was called up as cover, it seems defender Phillipe Mexes will be fit to play for the visitors, who inflicted Fabio Capello's first defeat as England boss in March 2008.

"That is what public confidence depends on," he said. "Even when you have a really big disappointment, if you win again the fans get behind you. It is not true to say the fans don't like their national team. They just want you to win.

"Of course there are disappointments sometimes, but sport is like that."

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Florent Malouda

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