Chris Robshaw admits England learned a harsh lesson in France, but still hopes Les Bleus can keep his side's Six Nations hopes alive.
England's opening match defeat in France means they must claim a handsome win in Italy to crank up the pressure on their nearest rivals in a tense finale.
Attention will then turn to Paris, where the title will be decided by points difference with either Ireland or France - who clash at the Stade de France - also competing for the crown.
"For us Italy is a championship-deciding game and it's very exciting," said England's captain.
"We've got to control what we can with our own performance and then we'll be like every other fan in the country cheering on the French."
Six weeks ago England endured an agonising 26-24 defeat at the Stade de France, but impressive wins over Scotland, Ireland and Wales propelled them into title contention.
Gael Fickou's late try still haunts Robshaw, but he is proud of England's spirited response.
"The bounce of the ball went against us," he said.
"It can be very cruel at times but then it can be brilliant for you as well. Unfortunately on that day it went against us
"To concede a try within the first minute and then another shortly after from kicks is tough, but that's the way it goes. We've reacted well.
"We've put ourselves in a position to win the Six Nations and we've learnt from what happened in Paris - look at our ability to close out the game against Ireland.
"It's been a massive test of character to bounce back and actually go out there and put ourselves into contention, that's what we've done.
"We've had to take points off other teams. We've had to hold our ground at our own place and perform well.
"So we did learn a lesson from there but, of course, we'll always look back at that game now and ask 'what-if?'.
"But we can't, there's no point. It's not going to do anything for us. We've just got to focus on Italy this weekend."