By Chineze Ogugua
In the land of Argentina and in the period of uncertainty and heartaches, there is only one man who could lift their spirits and his name is LIONEL MESSI.
The whole Argentine nation sat in front of their televisions on Tuesday, holding their hearts in their hands and praying that their Messi-ah will take them through and the diminutive forward did not disappoint.
The Barcelona magician scored a spectacular hat trick to give Argentina a 3-1 triumph over Ecuador to seal their qualification on a ground that has never been favorable to the Albiceleste.
Only a win would have guaranteed them at least a spot in the play-off but with Brazil defeating Chile 3-0 and Colombia only claiming a 1-1 draw at Peru, it meant Argentina jumped to the third position and avoided a playoff.
Lionel Messi can now look forward to taking a shot at the World Cup trophy after missing out four years ago in Brazil where they were stopped reigning champions Germany.