- Argentina have qualified for the FIFA 2018 World cup in Russia
- Lionel Messi's hatrick helped the South American footballing giant to qualify
- The Barcelona forward has said that a World cup without Argentina would have been dubbed 'crazy'
Argentina talisman Lionel Messi has said it would have been ‘crazy’ for the national team not to have made the 2018 FIFA World Cup after his hat-trick helped them beat Ecuador 3-1.
La Albiceleste were on the brink of failing to make next year's World Cup in Russia, which would have been their first time missing the elite footballing competition since 1970.
Messi, while addressing journalist after his team's third away win of the qualification campaign said:
"There was always the fear of coming here to play. Luckily, we could react and we managed to play well.
"We were calm, we achieved the goal and that is the most important thing. Thanks to God, we fulfilled the objective.
"It would have been crazy not to be in the World Cup. The group deserved to qualify."
Jorge Sampaoli's side entered the final day of CONMEBOL games outside of the qualification spots and needing a positive result to stand a chance of advancing, and Messi delivered when it mattered most.
Argentina fell behind in Ecuador after only 38 seconds, but the heroics of Barcelona superstar Messi saw them leading 2-1 after 18 minutes, and the player completed his hat-trick in the second half.
Head coach Sampaoli will take the national team to the World Cup for the first time, and he hopes he can go one better than the runner-up finish managed by predecessor Alejandro Sabella in 2014.
Messi who is currently 30 years old will be 35 by the time the 2022 World Cup in Qatar comes around, meaning this may be his last chance to add the most elusive of titles to his trophy cabinet.
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