Match Highlights: Messi nets Hat-trick as Argentina qualify for 2018 World Cup [Video]

Arguably one of the greatest football players if not the greatest ever, Lionel Messi came to the party last night as he scored all three goals to send Argentina through to the 2018 World Cup.

The Sampaoli led team started the match poorly as they fell behind 1-0 as early as in the 38 seconds, but Messi fought back to show the world why he is "Lionel Messi".

"Luckily the nationality of the best player in the world is Argentinian," said coach Jorge Sampaoli.

"We must be sure everything does not depend on Leo [Messi] but today he brought his great ability.

"I told the group: Messi did not owe the World Cup to Argentina, but football owed the World Cup to Messi. We should help him be in the World Cup."

The Barcelona forward equalised in the Ecuadorian capital after 12 minutes when he linked up with PSG midfielder Angel di Maria and Slotted home with the outside of his magical left foot.

The five-time world player of the year's second goal 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 and Argentina's passage to Russia.

However, Chile - the winners of the last two Copa America titles - are out after losing 3-0 in Brazil.

Watch Ecuador 1-3 Argentina full match highlights below:

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