Borja Iglesias has waited for this moment for a long time.
The Real Betis striker hopes to make his international debut at the age of 29 when Spain host Switzerland in the Nations League on Saturday in Zaragoza.
Iglesias may also get another chance in a second game to repay the trust coach Luis Enrique has placed in him when Spain visit Portugal on Tuesday, in which it could be a clash for a ticket to the final.
If he can impress the coach, Iglesias could join Spain’s squad for the World Cup in November.
Not bad for a striker who became a regular in the first division until the age of 25, when he shone at Espanyol before joining Betis in 2019.
Iglesias was instrumental in Betis ending their 17-year wait for a major title last season when they won the Copa del Rey. His goal in injury time in the semi-final second leg against Rayo Vallecano put Betis through to the final, where Iglesias scored his team’s goal in regulation time before Betis overcame Valencia on penalties.
He has continued to impress this campaign. His six goals in as many games are second only to Barcelona striker Robert Lewandowski’s eight goals in the Spanish league.
Now, given the injuries to Gerard Moreno and Mikel Oyarzabal, and the lack of playing time for Raúl de Tomás, Iglesias has before him the chance to play in the World Cup in Qatar.
But first he must help Spain in the Nations League, where his country lost the final to France last year.
Iglesias said he tries not to think about the possibility of going to the World Cup, when Luis Enrique is close to making his final decisions on which players he will call up after these two Nations League games.
“I want to enjoy the moment, try to contribute and learn. There is still a long way to go for the World Cup and there are many players who want to be there. I am going to do everything on my part to add up and be a possibility”, he affirmed.
When Luis Enrique included Iglesias in his squad, he said he liked that the striker clearly enjoyed the game.
“I try to have fun on the pitch, I thank the coach for saying so because at times in my career there are people who didn’t like it too much because they thought I didn’t take it seriously. I am a lucky one and you have to enjoy living life that way, ”he added.
Iglesias, who has the endearing nickname of “El Panda”, has shown that he can excel both as a sole attacker in a defensive Espanyol or as a fluid striker in Manuel Pellegrini’s attacking Betis.
Spain leads Group A2 of the League of Nations with eight points, one more than Portugal, with two games remaining. The Czechs are in third place with four points. Switzerland is at the bottom with three.
Spain can secure their top of the group if they beat Switzerland on Saturday and Portugal lose to the Czech Republic. If not, the Iberian neighbors will decide which team advances as group leader when they meet in Braga on Tuesday.
The four winners of each group at the top level advance to the final scheduled for mid-June.