Their World Cup dreams were hanging by the thread heading into the final round of South America qualifying games. But Argentina secured their spot in Russia after Lionel Messi's incredible hat-trick.

Following the 3-1 victory against Ecuador, Argentina guaranteed their spot in the 2018 World Cup. Prior to kick-off, Messi and Co. were occupying sixth place though shot to third place after the win.

Thanks to Neymar's Brazil.

(Watch Messi single-handedly carry Argentina throughout the qualifying stage:)

Credit: via Twitter

The five-time World Cup winners defeated Chile 3-0 which stopped them from qualifying and after starring for Brazil, Neymar admitted he was happy to see Messi head to Russia.

"I'm happy for him," Neymar told reporters via Goal. He added: "I'm happy to see a friend participate in such an important competition. I also have friends in the Chile team but we're men. We have to play to win every game."

Legendary performance. Image: PA

They may no longer be teammates, yet there's still respect between the two players.

And the Paris Saint-Germain ace shares the same sentiment as a majority of the footballing community.

Messi and Neymar back in the day. Image: PA

A World Cup without Messi would have been unimaginable. However, his heroics have prevented that horrible vision from becoming a reality.

Meanwhile, Argentina advance to Russia with Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia also flying the flag for South America, while Peru will go in a play-off to determine their participation.

Argentina celebrate at full-time. Images: PA

After a strenuous international break, Messi now turns his attention to Barcelona who resume their La Liga campaign with a tasty fixture against Atletico Madrid.

As for Neymar, PSG face an away trip to Dijon.

Nasir Jabbar

Nasir Jabbar is a writer at SPORTbible. He is a combat sport aficionado and contributes to boxing and MMA articles.

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