Mascherano to retire from internationals after 2018 World Cup

Christian Petersen Getty Images

Christian Petersen Getty Images

Soccer-mad Argentina is on tenterhooks as the team, and arguably the world's best player Lionel Messi faces a must-win match against Ecuador in Quito to qualify for next year's World Cup finals in Russian Federation.

With Argentina facing the dire possibility of missing out on a World Cup for the first time since 1970, their brilliant captain delivered when it matter most with three goals in the rarefied air of Quito.

"Everybody knows what we went through to be in the World Cup".

Argentina hasn't missed the World Cup in 48 years, and the Lionel Messi-led team faced a must-win situation against rivals Ecuador.

Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli revealed that he referred to Messi to help inspire his players before the match.

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"We've got to fix it so not everything depends on Messi", he added. "I hope that with the time to prepare that we'll have, we can be competitive (in Russia) like we were today".

Producer Daniel Grinbank told Argentinian paper La Nacion, "Can you imagine what the show's going to be like if Argentina wins?"

Support acts - local band Joystick and Noel Gallagher - opened the concert before music took a backseat to football, with a place in the World Cup finals in Russian Federation next year at stake.

"I watched the entire match and he answered those critics who did not believe in him, he proved that he is the best in the world".

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