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World Cup-winning Argentina striker dies at 64

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Argentina’s Rene Houseman, right, attempts a shot at goal during the Football World Cup second round match between Argentina and East Germany in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, in 1974. The striker who helped Argentina to win the 1978 World Cup, Rene Houseman has died, according to an announcement from the Argentine Football Association.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina >> Rene Houseman, a striker who won the 1978 World Cup with Argentina, died after fighting tongue cancer for the past year. He was 64.

The Argentine Football Association confirmed his death in a statement and praised Houseman for his skills and agility.

“Skillful, fast, unpredictable, he amazed fans and stood out for representing the most genuine part of Argentine soccer, the kind of soccer that is played in pastures and that is best-known for the dribble,” AFA said.

Known as “Loco,” or the “Crazy One,” Houseman represented Argentina in 55 games from 1973-79, scoring 13 times. He played in the 1974 and 1978 World Cups.

“I was a friend of the real Rene Houseman and enjoyed his soccer,” said Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to the World Cup title in 1986.

Houseman was remembered by other players and media in Argentina as one of the best right wingers.

“You’ll always be a beautiful, crazy one,” Mario Kempes, the Argentina great and top scorer at the 1978 World Cup, wrote on Twitter. “You’ll always be with us. Rest in peace.”

Houseman made his professional debut for Defensores de Belgrano, where he won a lower division title in 1971. He later became a key player for the Huracan team that won Argentina’s Metropolitan trophy in 1973.

He also played for River Plate and Chile’s Colo Colo. With Independiente, he won the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup in 1984.

“The whole soccer world is mourning the death of the best wing in the world,” said Daniel Valencia, another member of the 1978 World Cup-winning team.

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