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Having inspired his side to two wins from their first two World Cup matches, Al Hain-Cole weighs up the Barcelona star's chances of doing so once more against the Super Eagles

After two goals in the opening two World Cup games, Lionel Messi appears to be slowly winning over those fans who claim he does not play as well for Argentina as he does for Barcelona.

Lionel Messi Special

Odds from bet365
To score anytime 8/11
To score first 11/4
To score 2 or more 10/3
To score a hat-trick 12/1
To score and Argentina to win 1-0 12/1
However, with the Albiceleste far from convincing in those victories over Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iran, they will be relying on their star man to provide inspiration once again when they take on Nigeria this afternoon.

The captain is available at 1/2 (1.50) with bet365 to lead his country to a third consecutive group victory against an African side on offer at 9/1 (10.00) to leapfrog their opponents to claim top spot, while the draw is priced at 29/10 (3.90).

Messi is highly fancied at just 8/11 (1.73) to score a ninth goal in eight internationals, and 11/4 (3.75) to break the deadlock for the fourth time in eight internationals.

After seeing club team-mate Neymar find the net twice in two separate matches for fierce rivals Brazil, the Argentine is priced at 10/3 (4.33) to follow suit by grabbing a couple for himself in Porto Alegre.

Meanwhile, the quadruple Ballon d’Or winner is available at 12/1 (13.00) to go one better by scoring the second hat-trick of the tournament and his fourth for the national side.

However, considering the Super Eagles are yet to concede in Brazil and seem sure to adopt a defensive gameplan in order to secure the point they need in order to progress, a landslide victory is unlikely for a team that only limped past Iran courtesy of a last-minute winner.

This defensive resolve only adds to the pressure on the 27-year-old’s shoulders to come up with the goods, yet on current form odds of 12/1 (13.00) are surely worth a punt on him proving the match-winner once again in a second 1-0 win in a row.

Messi to score first for a 1pt stake at 11/4 (3.75) with bet365
Messi to score & Argentina to win 1-0 for a 0.75pt stake at 12/1 (13.00) with bet365

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Al Hain-Cole is an 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.