Lyon midfielder Jeremy Toulalan lashed out Friday at members of France's 1998 World Cup-winning team for their criticism of the current national squad.
Toulalan told Le Progres newspaper France's current form is poor but the negative comments from the former champions are "getting on" nerves.
"It's obvious we are not good," Toulalan said. "We don't make people dream but France has always struggled in qualifying tournaments."
Following a disappointing qualifying campaign, France reached the World Cup in South Africa after a controversial playoff win over Ireland decided by Thierry Henry's hand ball in the buildup to William Gallas' decisive goal.
France's 1998 World Cup and 2000 European championship teams featured Zinedine Zidane, Laurent Blanc and Lilian Thuram.
Toulalan has won 31 caps for France since coach Raymond Domenech first called him up in 2006. He is likely to be part of the France squad for the June 11-July 11 World Cup.
Toulalan said the France players were keeping faith in Domenech despite the widespread skepticism about the coach.
"He doesn't deserve this," Toulalan said. "I appreciate the man and I like him as a coach.
"This atmosphere is probably getting on his nerves."
Toulalan also blasted the French football federation for choosing European champion Spain as the opponent for a friendly international that Domenech's team lost 2-0 at the Stade de France this month.
Spain dominated the game and claimed its first victory in France in 42 years.
"There was no worse choice for our confidence than choosing Spain," Toulalan said. "The federation goes where the wind blows and is doing nothing to help us. I have never felt so humiliated and helpless than against Spain and Barcelona last season [in the Champions League with Lyon]."
France plays Uruguay, Mexico and host South Africa in Group A at the World Cup. Domenech's team opens against Uruguay in Cape Town on June 11.
"We want to go as far as possible and hopefully we'll reach at least the quarter-finals," Toulalan said. "Not many people have confidence in us, but we are getting used to it and I'm sure the coach will do anything to win."