Little Pipa hopes to make big strides

Little Pipa hopes to make big strides

Gonzalo Higuain

The 22-year-old was born in Finisterre, a department in the far northwestern corner of France, in December 1987 when his father Jorge "Pipa" Higuain was playing for Brest.
The Higuain family moved back to Buenos Aires when Gonzalo, "Pipita" (little Pipa), was a few months old and Jorge was signed by River Plate, and the youngster grew up in Argentina. France coach Raymond Domenech had Higuain pencilled in for a friendly two years ago but the striker was confident he could play international football in Argentina's colours. At first Higuain met resistance from coach Diego Maradona, who was angry he had turned down a call to play for Argentina at the 2007 Youth World Cup in Canada.

The coach can have no doubts now that he made the right choice in accepting the evidence of Higuain's brilliant goalscoring form in La Liga. Higuain scored on his debut against Peru and displayed both his ability to find and run into space on to passes from deep, and the finishing that has brought him 27 goals in La Liga this season. In the second qualifier in Montevideo, Higuain led the attack alone for a very defensive Argentina, His quality should be reassuring for Argentina fans, who had been concerned their team did not have an adequate replacement up front for Gabriel Batistuta and Hernan Crespo.

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