Dybala: I'm lucky to watch Messi up close

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Argentina attacker Paulo Dybala described himself as "lucky" to be able to see the magic of Lionel Messi up close after his nation reached the World Cup.

A sublime hat-trick from Messi saw Argentina to a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Ecuador in Quito on Tuesday.

Having looked in danger of missing out on Russia 2018, the result saw Jorge Sampaoli's men finish third in CONMEBOL qualifying.

Dybala, who was an unused substitute, was delighted to see Messi's incredible display.

"I am lucky to see him and have him so close," the Juventus star said, via the team's Twitter account.

The win was just Argentina's seventh in qualifying, and they finished a distant 13 points behind group winners Brazil.

Javier Mascherano urged his side to search for improvement before next year's showpiece event.

"We must analyse everything that has happened so far and improve," he said.

Uruguay and Colombia joined Brazil and Argentina in sealing automatic places, while Peru go into a play-off against New Zealand and South American champions Chile stunningly missed out altogether.