Argentina vs. Ecuador: Messi scores historic hat trick, carries Albiceleste into 2018 World Cup

Argentina needed a result on Tuesday night in order to punch a ticket to the 2018 World Cup, and facing a tough trip to Ecuador, they wanted to start off hot. Instead, they started the game in the worst way possible, with Ecuador scoring in the first minute.

With its chances of qualifying dwindling, Lionel Messi put the team on his back by scoring three goals in practically a span of an hour (including two in the first 30 minutes) as Argentina secured a 3-1 win and a ticket to Russia. It was Messi's most iconic performance ever in an Argentina shirt. 

Here's his first goal:

And his brilliant second:

And the chip for the hat trick in the 61st minute:

A hero for his country once again. The team had to win, and Messi made sure of it.

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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