Messi netted the only goal of the game at the King Saud University Stadium on 13 minutes, tapping home the rebound after his penalty was saved by Brazil goalkeeper Alisson.
The Finns beat Liechtenstein 3-0 in Helsinki to secure a place in next year’s European Championship and end decades of embarrassments, disappointments, and near misses on the international stage.
World champions France, who lost the Euro 2016 final as hosts to Portugal, were guaranteed a ticket to next year's tournament before kick-off in Paris following a 0-0 draw between Turkey and Iceland.
Even without Raheem Sterling, England displayed the firepower that will make them one of the favourites for next year's European Championship.
Fan interest has never been so low since Joachim Loew took charge of Germany in 2006, with average attendances for home internationals dropping to a paltry 37,162.
The reigning European champions were made to wait for qualification however as Serbia battled to a 3-2 win over Luxembourg in the other game in Group B.
A clearly infuriated Lippi, the 71-year-old Italian World Cup winner, made a brief but angry appearance in front of the media after the 2-1 defeat on Thursday in Dubai.
Portugal will compete against Lithuania on Friday and Neves is certain that they can expect the Ronaldo they always see.
Read along to find out on which side of the battlefield does the star Indian opener takes.
The Blue Tigers are now in fourth spot with two points from three matches. Only the four best runners-up teams will join the group toppers in Round 3.
FIFA World Cup qualifiers: Alien to artificial turf and sub-zero temp, India gear up for Afghan test
India also suffered a jolt after central defender Anas Edathodika had to return home from Dubai, where the team had a stopover on way to Dushanbe, due to the death of his mother.
The 37-year-old Vissel Kobe striker had a 19-year career that took him to Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia while accumulating 98 caps for his country.
Mokoena, a late arrival for the eight-nation competition because SuperSport United refused to free him ahead of the November 10-19 international window, struck on 79 minutes.
Ronald Koeman's side need just a draw at Northern Ireland on Saturday to guarantee a spot at their first international tournament since coming third at the 2014 World Cup.
IT has been 100 days since the Indian government abrogated Article 370 with a communication blockade ensuing in the Kashmir Valley.