Argentina shines as Messi hits hat trick

Iniesta sits alone on the pitch hours after the game

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring against Ecuador during their 2018 World Cup qualifier football match in Quito, on October 10, 2017.

At one stage Argentina didn't look capable of qualifying for the tournament, but a stunning hat-trick from Messi in a must-win game against Ecuador past year was enough to see them secure a finals spot.

The Gent player was one of the key players of the Super Eagles during the qualifiers and will now get a second chance to be part of the final 23 going to Russian Federation.

Since an extra-time defeat to Germany four years in the World Cup final, Argentina have lost two Copa America finals, too, both times on penalties against Chile.

He did however concede that the South Americans remain a "very good" team as they eye their first World Cup title since Mexico 1986.

Lionel Messi was the central figure in Argentina's friendly win over Haiti, as he scored a hat-trick and set up their other goal in a 4-0 win in Buenos Aires.

With no plans to leave Barcelona any time soon, though, that may well be a question that goes unanswered. We're training hard and we're improving every day.

Trump's global trade war
In late April, Trump delayed the tariffs until June 1 to allow space for trade negotiations, which proved fruitless. The announcement was made by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Messi, who joined Barca as a 13-year-old, would have already won a World Cup if he defected to Spain as a teenager.

"I am more and more clear that, in Europe, Barcelona is going to be my only home", he said.

"The other day I was talking to a friend and he said to me: "Look, if you had stayed with Spain, you would be world champion", Messi said. "But I've always said I hoped to play football in Argentina some day, though I don't know if that will happen.but I keep it in mind", he said.

"But it would not have been the same, obviously it never crossed my mind".

"More than the result we were able to say goodbye to our fans and show that we are going to Russian Federation with hope", Messi said.

Argentina, meanwhile, are in Group D with Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria.

Nigeria has qualified to five of the last six World Cups.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump Issues Full Pardon for Conservative Activist Dinesh D’Souza
May 31, 2018 - 23:06
D'Souza, 53, admitted in 2014 he illegally reimbursed two "straw donors" who donated $10,000 each to the unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Closing the loophole would prevent individuals who broke the law in NY from avoiding accountability.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Israel may escalate Gaza strikes after soldiers injured by Palestinian rockets
May 30, 2018 - 22:21
Gaza's unemployment rate is edging toward 50 per cent, and the territory suffers from chronic power outages. It was intended for both smuggling weapons and committing attacks against Israel, IDF Spokesman Brig.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top India, Russia conclude negotiations for S-400 Triumf deal
May 30, 2018 - 22:13
Washington has also tightened sanctions against Venezuela over the controversial re-election of President Nicolas Maduro. Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said New Delhi will not make foreign policy decisions under pressure from others.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Fact checking the Trump administration on immigration
May 30, 2018 - 22:00
Wagner told reporters that HHS went a step further than required by the Flores Settlement by making the follow-up phone calls. He had said previously that "we have to break up families" at the border because "the Democrats gave us that law".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top NBA Finals preview and other NBA podcasts you need to listen today
May 30, 2018 - 21:42
Jackson, who grew up in Queens, was among the candidates for the Knicks coaching job that went to David Fizdale. But it all fell apart in the final two games.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Syrian army ready for southern battle
May 30, 2018 - 21:29
The two nations allegedly sent representatives to stay in a hotel in Amman, Jordan in next door rooms. Assad's government has recaptured all rebel-held territory near the capital this year.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Andrew Lincoln leaving the show after season 9
May 30, 2018 - 21:02
The eighth series received its lowest ratings since season one, and is thought to have lost a third of its young adult audience. AMC, meanwhile, has not commented on the matter and it's likely they'll want to hang on to the news for as long as possible.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top ACC Baseball Championship 2018: FSU Tops Louisville in Extras to Claim Title
May 29, 2018 - 00:30
Stanford (44-10 overall), which won the Pac-12 by a game and a half over OSU (44-10-1), was also selected as a regional host. They are paired with the Clemson Regional, setting up a potential All-ACC Super Regional.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Horrific Flash Floods Devastate Ellicott City in US Maryland (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
May 29, 2018 - 00:28
Some are already asking whether enough was done after the last flood to prevent a similar catastrophe. Howard County government said the flooding was on the same scale as a deadly 2016 storm.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Golden State Warriors Rout Houston Rockets for Force Game 7
May 29, 2018 - 00:04
And while it's easy enough to say that the Warriors simply shot better Saturday, there was a bit more to it than just that. Overall, the 2018 NBA Playoffs on ESPN - 19 games - averaged a 3.8 metered market rating, up 31 percent from past year .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top How to watch Aston Villa vs. Fulham: Promotion playoff final
May 27, 2018 - 15:27
We did in the second half. "People gave us stick but football won today". But let's not forget we are Aston Villa , a proud club, a big club.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Cristiano Ronaldo: Champions League should rename itself after me
May 27, 2018 - 15:25
Egypt will face Uruguay in their opening Group A game on June 15 before facing host nation Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia. Aside from Karius's woeful display, the other crucial turning point was the first half injury suffered by Mohamed Salah .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Manchester United make Manchester City outcast a shock summer target
May 27, 2018 - 14:56
Shortly after, both clubs, City and United talked with Shakhtar and with my agents about a possible transfer. It will not affect me (at the World Cup) because the situation started months ago.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Hasan Ali, Abbas put Pakistan on top vs England
May 27, 2018 - 14:50
Pakistan clash against England in a 2-Test series, after their win over Ireland last week. In England the live telecast would be available on Sky Sports, and streaming Sky Go.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Smith to play T20 league
May 27, 2018 - 14:30
Shahid Afridi , David Miller, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell , Chris Lynn, Darren Sammy and Lasith Malinga are the other marquee players .