2018 FIFA World Cup will be hosted by Russia in what is set to be another huge gathering of the world's best soccer players. But, the show was within one match of being stripped off by one of its superstars, with Argentina relying on Lionel Messi to book a spot for his country in the away game in Quito, Ecuador. Also, it seems that every single World Cup edition has a story of its own. Back in 2014, the host country, Brazi,l suffered a humiliating defeat in that hard-to-forget semifinal clash against Germany. The European representative won by a stunning 7-1 to secure a spot in the final with Argentina.

The same South American nation came within inches of missing the World Cup for the first time in decades. But things tend to be easier when a team has players like Angel Di Maria or Lionel Messi on the pitch.

Messi solved Ecuador puzzle on his own terms

The Ecuadorian team was the host and they had a perfect start putting the ball into the net at the first opportunity in the match. But that early goal didn't stop Lionel Messi from stealing the show. Barcelona's superstar and a player that is widely regarded as the best in sports history, leveled the score twelve minutes into the first half. It took another eight more minutes for him to score again to put Argentina in front. The second half had less drama in it.

The 17th minute of the second leg had Messi scoring again to give his team a comfortable lead and finally to secure that World Cup spot.

Argentina is a two-time former champion, having played two other finals. They are the runner-up team of the 2014 edition having lost the final against Germany. Next year, Lionel Messi along with Angel di Maria and other Argentinian greats will try to break the curse to win the first World Cup for their country since 1986 when Diego Armando Maradona led his team to glory.

UU soccer team ends a disappointing campaign

The US soccer team failed to qualify for the World Cup after losing their away game against Trinidad & Tobago by 2-1. It was a humiliating defeat that seems to end a chapter for the national team and its coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The host team had nothing to fight for but still, it managed to stun the US.

Therefore, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama will cash in their tickets while Honduras will face Australian for the last available slot.

Next year's World Cup will mark another surreal fact with Iceland making their debut. With less than 400 000 people as a population, it has become the smallest nation to ever play in a World Cup tournament.