Watch World Cup 2018 qualifiers live on TV, Online

Posted October 12, 2017

Lionel Messi produced a spectacular hat-trick when it mattered most to fire Argentina to the World Cup with a 3-1 win in Ecuador.

Now, the situation is tricky for Argentina, they will need a win to, at least, secure a minimum of fifth place, which will allow them to play a playoff match to get into the main event.

Prior to finding the back of the net not once, not twice, but three times on Tuesday evening, Messi and Argentina notably found themselves down 1-0 early.

The second goal was his 20th all-time in World Cup qualifying for Argentina, leaving him as the first man in the region to reach that mark.

"There was always the fear of coming here to play".

Which country stands a better chance at the World Cup: Argentina or Portugal? Argentina needed him to pull them out of a deep, deep hole, and that's precisely what he did.

The Barcelona striker, awarded the Ballon d'Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, rescued a World Cup berth, but coach Jorge Sampaoli knows it will take more than one player, however good, to go far in Russian Federation.

Renewal will be based on a combination of veteran players and new faces of Argentinian football, a process Sampaoli has already launched through trial and error in tough circumstances, with a World Cup berth on the line. Luckily, we could react and we managed to play well. As we celebrate this phenomenal victory, here is a look at the top 5 most memorable hat-tricks scored by Messi.

Messi's intervention might have been perfectly timed.

Ecuador will have a different team for this clash as the many of their veterans including Walter Ayovi and Alexander Dominguez have been left out. The rules on voting can be read here. However, Cristiano Ronaldo ended up winning it after voting was extended from November 15 to 29, on account of the fact Federation Internationale de Football Association had received "a response of less than 50% from eligible voters before the original deadline".