Christian Benteke called up for Belgium

Julian Finney

Alternate title: Belgium, this means war

Belgium have released their squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Croatia and Wales. Somewhat surprisingly, Christian Benteke has been included on the list.

After Benteke limped off with injury in the 1-0 victory against Norwich, reports said that the Aston Villa striker would be out around six weeks. An "optimistic" Paul Lambert stated he hoped Benteke would return by the match against Everton on October 26.

Now he's been called up for national duty. Belgium, currently top of Group A with a five point advantage, play second-place Croatia on October 11 and already-out-of-it Wales on October 15. Only if Belgium lose both qualifiers and Croatia win both (their second is against Scotland) would Belgium slip, and even then, Belgium make the playoff round.

So why, then, does Belgium need Benteke? He's been out of action for nearly two weeks. Coach Marc Wilmots insists, however, that he'll be ready by the match on October 15. Apparently, the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens and Kevin Mirallas just isn't enough attacking power for Wilmots.

Here's what Lambert had to say after Benteke's injury:

He played a lot of games with Genk before he joined us, so he never really had that much of a break. The amount of games he's had here, and playing for the national team, never gave him that breathing space.

But by all means, Belgium, let's take a club's best forward before he's fully recovered and throw him on a pitch just to ensure you don't manage to foul up against the towering might of Wales. Go ahead, send him back to Villa with a bit of duct tape around his hip. No worries! We've got Aleksandar Tonev! We'll be just fine!

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