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Having failed to score in the knockout stages due to some tight man marking, Al Hain-Cole expects the Albiceleste captain to rediscover his golden touch at just the right time

Having carried Argentina through the group stages with four goals in three matches, Lionel Messi has taken something of a back seat during their progression through the knockout round and into Sunday’s World Cup final.

Lionel Messi Special

Odds from Paddy Power
Argentina to fail to score 7/5
Messi to score anytime 6/4
Messi to score and Argentina to win 7/2
Messi to score first 9/2
Messi to score two or more 7/1
Messi to score a hat trick 25/1
The Netherlands nullified the Barcelona man thanks to some dogged man marking from Nigel De Jong in the 0-0 quarter-final draw, so it would be no surprise should Joachim Low set Sami Khedira the same task at the Maracana.

Just one goal in normal time in the last three matches suggests that stopping the star man goes a long way to frustrating La Albiceleste, hence Paddy Power’s rather slender 7/5 (2.40) price on them failing to find the net.

However, the fact that Messi has not gone more than three matches for his country without scoring in almost three years looks ominous for the Germans, and odds of 6/4 (2.50) offer tempting value on him ending his mini barren streak on the grandest stage possible.

Furthermore, considering the captain has opened the scoring in six of the last nine games in which he has found the net, odds of 9/2 (5.50) are particularly inviting on him making the breakthrough on Sunday.

Alejandro Sabella’s men have not failed to win any of the last 20 matches in which Messi has been on the score sheet, so odds of 7/2 (4.50) seem like excellent value on him adding his name alongside that of Diego Maradona once and for all by inspiring them to victory in Rio.

Trailing top scorer James Rodriguez by two goals in the race for the Golden Boot, the four-times Ballon d’Or winner is on offer at 7/1 (8.00) to draw level in dramatic fashion by scoring twice or more for the eighth time for his country.

Meanwhile, there are 25/1 (26.00) odds available on him really making history by becoming the first player to score a World Cup final hat trick since Geoff Hurst in 1966 with a fourth international triple.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Messi to score anytime for a 1.5pt stake at 6/4 (2.50) with Paddy Power
Messi to score anytime & Argentina to win for a 1pt stake at 7/2 (4.50) with Paddy Power

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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