Although Argentina have lost two out of their last three games in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, Betway's Alan Alger told SBC: "It's still very likely they qualify, obviously".
For the uninitiated, the top four countries from South America qualify directly for Russian Federation with the fifth-placed team entering the intercontinental playoffs to play New Zealand.
"If we are up to Messi's standards in tomorrow's game then we'll be alright", Sampaoli said.
Chile were under Argentine-born former Spain striker Juan Antonio Pizzi when they stunned Argentina again a year later in the final of the Centenary Copa America in the United States, also on penalties after another 0-0 draw.
The match was played at La Bombonera, home of Boca Juniors, and only a win would be enough to put Argentina through. Chile, Colombia and Peru are at third, fourth and fifth place respectively. Sampaoli praised Messi for playing with "great intensity", creating opportunities and putting balls "in places that were impossible" in the draw against Peru, and the whole of Argentina will be hoping the 30-year-old can recreate this form tonight.
Who's already qualified for the 2018 World Cup?
The thought of a World Cup without Lionel Messi is one football romantics would rather not contemplate.
Jokela agreed that for Argentina the "World Cup 2018 is a whole new ball game from the Qualifying campaign and if/when Argentina qualify for the tournament, they might be much stronger and united team after a more than challenging World Cup Qualifying campaign".
Brazil (38 points) have already qualified, and second-placed Uruguay (28 points) are virtually assured of a ticket to Russian Federation.
Peru host Colombia in a match that could decide the fate of both teams, while Chile face unbeaten Brazil in Sao Paulo.
Ecuador have posted a 4W 1D 3L record at home.
If Argentina wins on the road at Ecuador, Messi will be in Russian Federation, leapfrogging the Colombia-Peru loser (or both if they tie) and possibly Chile if it doesn't beat Brazil. They need favours from everywhere.
If Peru gets a draw, it would need Argentina and Paraguay to lose to remain in contention, or just one of those two teams lose if Brazil beats Chile.