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Belgium coach Wilmots wants Benteke back for upcoming qualifiers

Photo: Neville Williams/Getty Images

Christian Benteke has had his hot start to the season interrupted by a hip injury.

BRUSSELS (AP) - Belgium coach Marc Wilmots is counting on Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke to be ready to play in the final World qualifier against Wales.

Aston Villa announced only on Sept. 24 that Benteke would be out for up to six weeks and miss the last two qualifiers as Belgium is looking for one point against Croatia next Friday to go through to Brazil as a Europe group winner.

If it fails, it still has a home game against Wales on Oct. 15. Wilmots said that "Benteke will almost certainly be fit for the second game.''

Benteke has already scored four goals in the English Premier League and has been key to Belgium as it's moved within striking distance of qualifying for the World Cup.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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