Alright everyone, let's get ready to be rabid Belgium fans on Friday. If the club can score at least a point when they travel to Croatia, they will be assured a trip to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup as winners of UEFA's Group A. At that point they'd be free to play a sub-par team for their match against Wales on Tuesday.
If they can't secure the point and thus the group? Well then they'll probably play the injured Christian Benteke against the Welsh. Benteke, you may remember, injured his hip against Norwich City only 16 days ago. At that point we were told that he'd be out for 4-6 weeks. If you're counting at home, you may realize that next Tuesday is 3 weeks and 3 days. But apparently the Belgian striker feels that he's ready to go, and the team's manager is ready to agree.
As an Aston Villa fan, this news makes me more than a little angry. Belgium have dominated group play, and while Croatia is second in the group, it's by five points with only two matches to play. And Wales? Well they've been miserable. Belgium absolutely do not need to risk further injury to our club's most important player to secure the one point they need. To do so is the height of absurdity.
Listen, if Belgium were fighting for their survival, I might understand. Benteke is one of the best strikers in Europe and could help his team massively. But Belgium aren't fighting for their survival. There's no need to use Benteke, but it seems like they might.
So I'm sorry Croatia, but I hope you get beaten by five goals on Friday. Let's keep Benteke healthy for where he is actually needed, at Aston Villa.