The World Cup of Darts is set to be played in Germany this year, with all of the big guns coming out to represent their countries in the unique tournament. The four-day event runs from the 11th to 14th of June, and will be held at the Eissporthalle in Frankfurt.
This will be the fifth year that the event has been held, with England and the Netherlands holding two titles each. The Dutch are represented by Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld, and they will be bullish about retaining the trophy they won last year. Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis of England will have plenty to say about that though, while current World Champion and Premier League Champion, Gary Anderson, will be aiming to bring Scotland a first title alongside countryman Peter Wright. To add a little bit of spice, there are some live outsiders such as Belgium, Australia, Wales and Northern Ireland who will all hope to land a blow against some of the big hitters.
The £250,000 competition has been expanded this year to feature 32 teams rather than 24, with the whole tournament played in a knockout format. The draw and schedule for the first two rounds of matches has already been made, and you can view the full fixtures here. The highlight of Thursday night’s play is England’s opening match against Denmark, while the Netherlands and Scotland will have to wait until Friday night to play their first matches against USA and Singapore respectively.
To Win the Tournament
The two-player teams compete in singles and doubles matches, and it’s a format that has suited the top two in the betting – England and the Netherlands – as they’ve won all four previous tournament between them. The Netherlands took the first World Cup in 2010, before Taylor and Lewis won back-to-back titles for England. Van Barneveld and van Gerwen beat that pair in the final last year to regain their crown, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the big two will walk to the final. Australia, Wales and Belgium were the losing finalist in the first three years, so there is every possibility of a lesser-fancied team making it all the way. This year also carries a very potent threat from Scotland, so it promises to be an enthralling four days of darts. Let’s look at the teams most likely to walk away with the trophy.
The reasons for England’s presence at the top of the market are clear, they’ve won two of the last three World Cups, in Phil Taylor they have arguably the best player to ever grace the oche, and in Adrian Lewis he has a fantastic partner. If we were to go looking for negatives, neither player performed well in the Premier League, and Taylor’s omission from the last four was a big surprise. He did come back to form in the recent Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters though, reaching the final before going down 11-8 to van Gerwen.
That victory will be a boost to the Dutch star, and there’s very little to be negative about when it comes to the Netherlands. Even van Barneveld has been in excellent form of late, rattling off a string of wins to surge up the Premier League table and reach the play offs. Although they’ve won two titles as a country, Co Stompe was van Barneveld’s partner in that first win in 2010, so for van Gerwen this is a chance to add a second World Cup to the one he won last year.
Scotland could easily be the fly in the ointment for England and the Netherlands, with Gary Anderson in particular in imperious form at the moment. He beat Taylor to land the World Championships, then beat van Gerwen in the Premier League final, and is proving himself to be a formidable foe. The Flying Scotsman and Peter Wright could be the perfect combination, and they will be there or thereabouts.
As for the outsiders, Australia could be a lively contender this time around. The fourth seeds are represented by Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson, and they should progress past Russia in the first round. That would set up a clash with Italy or Gibraltar, and the Aussies are fancied to make it to the quarter-finals at least. From there anything can happen, and the duo from down under could be a dark horse to repeat their final appearance of 2012. With most bookies paying a third of the odds for a top two finish, there is a fair bit of value to be had in backing one of the ‘long shots’.
Belgium – +2500 with Coral
Another pairing who fall into that category is Belgium, and they are again represented by the Huybrecht brothers, Kim and Ronny. Kim had a tough introduction to Premier League life this season, but the brothers reached the final in 2013, and on their day can be a match for anyone.
The hosts, Germany, might also provide a shock or two along the way, and they are bound to have strong local support. Jyhan Artut and youngster Max Hopp carry their countries hopes, and the prodigious new talent could be set to make a mark on the tournament. The 18 year-old player swept the board in youth tournaments before stepping up to PDC tournaments, and he reached the last 32 of the World Championships. Spurred on by the crowd, the hosts could give longshot backers a good run for their money throughout the competition. A first round match against India could be followed by a second round match against Austria or the Czech Republic, so a quarter-final spot is far from beyond them.
To win the World Cup of Darts 2015, 11th – 14th June:
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