Messi hat-trick gets Argentina through to World Cup finals

Lionel Messi scored a superb hat-trick as Argentina rallied to win away in Ecuador and qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Los Albiceleste had began the match in sixth position and in danger of not qualifying for a World Cup for the first time since 1970, and made a terrible start in the high-altitude location of Quito and the hosts went ahead after 38 seconds through Romario Ibarra’s headed goal — the quickest goal Argentina had ever conceded in a World Cup qualifier.

However, Argentina, World Cup runners-up in Brazil in 2014, fought back with Messi in stunning form as the Barcelona forward equalised after 12 minutes, playing a quick 1-2 with winger Angel di Maria before stabbing home.

His second goal quickly came eight minutes later with a powerful strike from the edge of the area before a fine solo goal in the second half sealed the victory. – Cara Daftar Sbobet

Argentina, who had numerous low points in their qualification campaign in a 2-0 loss to Bolivia, could also rejoice in seeing Chile — the nation that twice denied them the Copa America in the last four years — were eliminated from their own campaign altogether.

Chile, who were aiming to qualify for their third successive World Cup after reaching the last 16 in 2010 and 2014, began the final round of matches in third place that guarantees automatic qualification, but faced a gargantuan test in already-qualified Brazil as their opponents.

They fell behind to two Brazil goals in three second-half minutes from Paulinho and Gabriel Jesus, and with Peru scoring a late equaliser against Colombia, Chile needed to score to be in the play-offs.

In injury-time, Chile attacked with all of their players, including goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, in the Brazil half, only for the attack to break down, Brazil launched the ball forward and Jesus walked the ball into the net for his second with Manchester City team-mate Bravo stranded to confirm Chile’s elimination.

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