Messi master-class allows Argentina to qualify; Robben retires from Dutch duty

Messi master-class allows Argentina to qualify; Robben retires from Dutch duty”

Heading into the final round of CONCACAF fixtures, the United States were sitting in an automatic qualification berth, but their 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago, coupled with Panama's 2-1 success over Costa Rica and Honduras' 3-2 win over Mexico, means the Americans will miss their first World Cup finals since 1986.

Argentina's hat-trick hero Lionel Messi has commented on his Man of the Match performance against Ecuador, as well as nearly missing out on the World Cup.

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

" I told the group: Messi did not owe the World Cup to Argentina, but football owed the World Cup to Messi".

Lionel Messi threw his shirt at Argentinian fans: the suffering was over and it was time to celebrate the Albiceleste's last-gasp qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation, but also in full knowledge that many things will need to change before June.

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Argentina had only scored 16 goals in 17 qualifiers until Tuesday, and Messi admitted that "loads of things" crossed his mind when Ecuador pulled ahead less than one minute into the game. They should consider themselves lucky as they are going to play against a team, Ecuador, who have already been eliminated from the competition. Messi led Argentina to victory against Brazil with a 4-3 lead.

Argentina has been one of the most disappointing national teams in the world, now sixth in the CONMEBOL region with 25 points. As a effect of that pressure we are stronger now, this qualification will make us stronger to face the future.

"Let's hope we get a chance (to put the ghosts of the last World Cup to rest)".

"There's enough there. There's no excuses for us not qualifying for the World Cup". "Nahhhhhh", Donnytheprince wrote, alongside a gif of Ronaldo celebrating one of his goals against the Swedes.

It was a case of "anything you can do, I can do better" for Messi last night.

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