Messi Shoots Argentina to World Cup 2018 Finals
Messi Shoots Argentina to World Cup 2018 Finals

Messi Shoots Argentina to World Cup 2018 Finals

Messi Shoots Argentina to World Cup 2018 Finals

Lionel Messi’s heroic hat-trick dragged Argentina back from the brink of an embarrassing World Cup exit with a 3-1 win in Ecuador.
Argentina’s victory catapulted them from sixth into the automatic qualification places as they joined Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia in booking their spots in Russia, Skysports.com reported.
Messi shouldered the hopes of an entire nation and put in one of the greatest individual performances in international football history by scoring a famous treble (12, 20, 62) when it mattered most. It was legendary. Without him, Argentina would be spending the summer at home.
It seemed inconceivable that one of football’s superpowers would not make it to the World Cup. Argentina, that has been at every World Cup finals since 1970 and twice won the tournament, knew anything other than victory would have meant elimination.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner, Messi now has another crack at adding a World Cup winner’s medal to his CV.
Elsewhere, Peru’s draw against Colombia was enough to secure them a play-off with New Zealand for the final spot, which meant Chile were eliminated after they lost 3-0 in Brazil.

 French Relief
Portugal and France also booked spots at the World Cup finals on Tuesday while the Netherlands crashed out.
Portugal beat Switzerland 2-0 in Lisbon thanks to a Johan Djourou own goal and an Andre Silva strike.
According to Sport24, France needed goals from Griezmann and Olivier Giroud in a hard-fought 2-1 win over Belarus at the Stade de France.
After a stuttering campaign, France’s achievement in beating Bulgaria and Belarus in their final two qualifiers means they avoid the playoffs having had to go through that route for the last two finals.
“We have had a difficult route and tonight wasn’t easy either but we’ve achieved our aim,” coach Didier Deschamps said.
 Robben Retires
The Dutch, World Cup finalists in South Africa in 2010 and semi-finalists four years later, bowed to the inevitable as they failed to achieve the unlikely 7-0 score line over Sweden they needed to salvage a wretched qualifying effort.
Dutch Captain Arjen Robben scored twice in a 2-0 win over the Swedes in Amsterdam and said afterwards he was retiring from international football.
“I will always remember the 2010 World Cup and 2014. Those are my best memories. During those two competitions we formed a real team,” the 33-year-old Robben said.

 Playoff Tension
In Lisbon, Portugal navigated a potentially fraught final fixture with Switzerland that became one of the eight European nations which must fight through the playoffs for a spot in Russia.
The others are Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Sweden, Northern Ireland, Greece and the Republic of Ireland.
The Swiss can consider themselves unlucky after winning all nine previous qualifiers but must now overcome a two-legged play-off in November to earn a fourth straight World Cup appearance.
Greece locked up second place behind Belgium in Group H courtesy of a 4-0 stroll against Gibraltar.

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