Robert Acquafresca was wary of putting a hex on Italy's UEFA European Under-21 Championship chances, with the Cagliari striker saying: "Some people say we are the favourites but I prefer not to say that because I'm superstitious."
Born to a Polish mother and an Italian father, the 21-year-old has had a great season in Sardinia, scoring 14 goals in 38 Serie A games, and is determined to carry that good form into the finals in Sweden, with Italy looking to avoid a repeat of their early exit in the 2007 edition.
"I had a good season at Cagliari but I'm still very motivated, no doubt about it," he said. "I want to win because it would be the first major trophy of my career."
However, wanting to win is not the same as making predictions, and he was determined not to curse his side's luck ahead of their 16 June opener against Serbia.
"Some people say we are the favourites but I prefer not to say that because I'm superstitious," he explained.
"I prefer to say we are a team with plenty of hunger; a very united group aiming to win a great trophy, but I don't like the word 'favourites'."
Acquafresca was among the scorers in a 4-0 friendly win against Denmark on Tuesday in Italy's last game before the finals, and he hopes to prove equally effective at the finals.
"I hope to be as sharp and solid as I was at Cagliari last season," he said. "I will try to use my skills in the best possible way to help the team. If we all push in the same direction we can achieve something significant."
The Azzurrini will leave their pre-tournament training base in Denmark and head for neighbouring Sweden on Saturday afternoon.
[UEFA Euro U21 Championships 2009]