Lionel Messi hat-trick: Watch Argentina star's three goals against Ecuador

CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying

Argentina, who have been at every World Cup finals since 1970 and twice won the tournament, knew anything other than victory would have meant elimination.

Football's world governing body FIFA is yet to confirm the dates of the playoff matches.

They rode out the draw to finish fifth and book a two-legged play-off berth with New Zealand, while Colombia finished fourth. Brazil have already qualified for the finals and are guaranteed top spot. Uruguay is next with 28 and is widely expected to qualify. A loss to Brazil would see Chile passed by either Colombia or Peru, likely Argentina and possibly Paraguay if it beats last-place Venezuela at home.

Brazil have already qualified for Russian Federation on 38 points, while Uruguay (28) need just a draw from their final game against Bolivia to advance.

Here's a quick look at the chances and the qualifying rules. "We are calm now after achieving the main goal, that is the most important thing".

And if that won't solve it, get set for the drawing of lots.

The Argentinians have an abysmal record in away games against Ecuador, with their last victory in Quito coming in 2001.

Following Tuesday's win, the third coach appointed during the qualifying campaign, Jorge Sampaoli could not avoid expressing his gratitude to Messi.

Nothing has worked so far. It pushes them down to sixth, outside the qualification positions, with Peru in fifth, the playoff spot.

Arguably the most gripping of Tuesday's qualifiers was Peru's home clash with Colombia at Lima's Estadio Nacional. Whichever team wins will make it to the top four.

The next few minutes saw Argentina take complete control of the affair, with Ecuador being pegged back in their own half. Unless Paraguay overcame the large goal difference, Chile would end up in the playoff, so a draw would likely get Chile to the World Cup.

Ordonez beats Mascherano in the air, left winger Romario Ibarra has got behind Eduardo Salvio and, with right-sided defender Gabriel Mercado unsure whether to cover him or move in, Ibarra slots a shot across goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

But it's also easy to forget Messi announced he would quit global football after their Copa America final defeat to Chile in 2016.

However, having previously played worldwide football for Argentina and Colombia, he missed out on the 1958 World Cup with his adopted homeland, Spain, when they finished second in their qualifying group to Scotland.

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