Watch the incredible Lionel Messi hat-trick that secured Argentina’s place at World Cup 2018

His country needed him and Lionel Messi responded – firing in three goals against Ecuador to ensure Argentina will be represented at World Cup 2018.

La Albiceleste have endured a terrible qualifying campaign, and headed into their match in Quito outside the four qualifying positions.

The bad form of Jorge Sampaoli’s team looked set to continue, with Ecuador going ahead in under a minute – and at that stage the game really could’ve gone either way.

Some even thought this was all a ploy from the Argentina team so we could really see what Messi is capable of when pushed to the limits.

Luckily for football fans the Barcelona player found his cape pretty quickly, and set about saving his team’s World Cup hopes. Because what would a World Cup without Messi be?

The 30-year-old’s first goal, 12 minutes in, came from an Angel Di Maria assist and gave the fans, and seemingly the team, hope.

Not too long after, Messi burst through Ecuador’s defence and sent a rocket into the top corner.

That goal was Messi’s 20th in World Cup qualifiers, more than any other player in the South American Football Federation.

To wrap it all up he added his third on the night and 21st overall, guaranteeing Argentina a place in Russia next year.

Following his display it’s fair to say there’s a lot of love for Messi on social media.

The Argentina victory means they’ve qualified alongside group winners Brazil, second-placed Uruguay, and fourth-placed Colombia.

Chile, the winners of the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, miss out, while Peru go into a play-off with New Zealand.


 

Join the conversation - comment here

House Rules for comments - FAQ - Important message for commenters


Most Read in Sport