Half the world was on the edge of its seat awaiting the result of this morning's clash between Ecuador and Argentina, looking to finally find out if Jorge Sampaoli's squad could seal a place at the Russia 2018 World Cup. Qualification was finally secured thanks to a 3-1 win for Argentina in Quito against Ecuador.
The ex-Sevillista did not opt for Banega, who was on the bench, but did pick Mercado as a starter. The full-back was the only player to represent Sevilla on the field and played 90 minutes. A Messi hat-trick gave Argentina their long-awaited guarantee of World Cup football.
Meanwhile, Muriel's Columbia also achieved World Cup qualification. The Colombian side drew 1-1 in Lima against Peru and also qualified directly. The Sevilla striker did not feature in the decisive clash, though he was on the bench. With qualification, Colombia will play in their sixth World Cup: having played in Chile 1962, Italy 1990, USA 1994, France 1998 and Brazil 2014.