Lionel Messi's hat-trick earns Argentina qualification to the 2018 World Cup finals
Posted: 11 October 2017 Time: 08:02
A Lionel Messi hat-trick ensured Argentina escaped embarrassment as they saw off Ecuador 3-1 to secure their place in the 2018 World Cup finals.
The team entered Tuesday’s final qualifying encounter needing nothing less than victory, and Barcelona superstar Messi provided just that as Argentina leapt from sixth into the automatic qualification spots.
The South Americans now join Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia in booking at place at Russia 2018.
Peru, meanwhile, are into the play-offs after drawing against the Colombians, and will now face New Zealand for a ticket to next year’s global spectacle, while Alexis Sanchez’s Chile were eliminated after going down 3-0 to Brazil.
Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying results - South America:
Ecuador 1-3 Argentina
Brazil 3-0 Chile
Paraguay 0-1 Venezuela
Peru 1-1 Colombia
Uruguay 4-2 Bolivia