They sit sixth in the qualification table and must be in the top four to progress straight to Russian Federation, while a fifth-place finish will seem them face an inter-confederation play-off.
If Brazil beat Chile and Argentina win in Ecuador, Messi's side will qualify automatically.
As things stand, those two matches would take place in Wellington on November 8 with the return in Buenos Aires on November 15.
"We have played three matches since qualifying for the World Cup and that hasn't changed the seriousness with which we have been playing", Jesus said.
At that stage, the last three of the four automatic qualifiers will be found, as well as the fifth-placed team, who will face the All Whites in a two-legged playoff next month.
Behind them, it's incredibly close: Chile (26 points), Colombia (26), Peru (25), Argentina (25) and Paraguay (24) are all still in contention, and the final set of fixtures on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning promises to deliver truly dramatic thrills and spills until the final whistle.
The Argentinians now lie in sixth, outside of the automatic qualification positions and the fifth-placed play-off berth.
Argentina can still lose and reach the playoffs, providing Peru suffer a heavier defeat and Paraguay fail to win.
Brazil have already qualified and sit comfortably on top.
Jorge Sampaoli. The Argentina boss admitted after the draw with Perus that his side are in an uncomfortable position heading into tonight's clash, though the 57-year-old is "confident" the Albiceleste will still qualify.
That's because they host third-place Chile and that result will have huge implications on who qualifies.
In terms of their life cycle, the current Argentina team are on the edge of transition, and it will be no surprise to see Messi hang up his worldwide boots if the side fail to qualify. In the upcoming game, despite the statistics of face-to-face meetings, Argentina is obliged to win, not to enter the world forum with such a selection of players is a disaster.
Ecuador only have pride to play for but are always a tough opponent at home.
In case of a draw, Argentina will need other results to go in their favour as well.
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