Some of the world’s best players in the PDC are to take to the stage this Thursday for the start of the PDC World Cup of Darts. Our own country Northern Ireland have 6th seeds Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan and non seeded Ireland have Steve Lennon and Willie O’Connor.
Both countries (NI and Ire) will fancy their chances in the first rounds.
So in the left hand side of the draw we have England (#1 seed) versus Philippines – should be a straightforward win for England with the pairing of former PDC World Champion Rob Cross and Michael Smith. Michael Smith has struggled with his doubles but is such a high scorer that Rob should be able to finish off the legs if Michael goes missing again. The Philippines won’t have enough scoring power to be any danger to the English pair.
Next up we have Rep Ireland against Greece – again I have to go with the favourites of Steve Lennon and Willie O’Connor in this one. O’Connor has had a bit of a torrid time with the German crowd, but the Irish pair should have enough to get over the line in this one.
The next match is Austria (#8 seed) versus Russia – well this depends on Mensur Suljovic to be honest – if he turns up and is in good form then I can see an Austria win, but the Russians can score well and will fancy their chances. Austria haven’t really done well over their World Cup matches and could get caught here.
Next up we have China versus USA – I would be very very surprised if USA don’t win this match. China will not doubt not be used to the stage and the crowd and the atmosphere and USA pairing of Darrin Young and Chuck Puleo will just be too experienced for China.
Next we have Australia (previous runners up and #5 seed) taking on the Finland pairing of Marko Kantele & Kim Viljanen. Simon Whitlock and Kyle Anderson must be one of the favourites for the title – they know each other well and they just seem to click playing for their country. However Finland are very dangerous when on form and a slip by Australia could see a shock. Whitlock has not been in great form of late and Kyle has had issues with his eyes – but hopefully they have been putting the practice in and are ready for the tournament.
Italy versus Canada is next – well it’s hard not to look past Canada’s Dawson Murschell & Jim Long as a clear favourite in this one. Italy are a bit of an unknown – so we won’t know till we see them perform – this is what I love about the World Cup – new talent on display!
Next are the favourites (any team with MVG are favourites in my eyes!) Netherlands (#4 seed) versus Spain. Well what a baptism of fire for MVG’s new partner Jermaine Wattimena – Spain! Could have got an easier draw if I’m being honest and the Spanish pairing have form for knocking out favourites (beat Phil Taylor & James Wade previously). Cristo Reyes & Toni Alcinas will fancy if they can beat Jermaine and win the doubles then it doesn’t matter what average MVG sets in his singles match – I am looking forward to this match the most. Going for a shock win for Spain here.
Last on the left hand side of the draw is Poland versus Czech Republic. Krzysztof Ratajski & Tytus Kanik of Poland will start favourites but the Czech pairing of Pavel Jirkal & Karel Sedlacek are no mugs and will be out to prove that Czech darts are on the up. Could go either way this one for me.
On the right hand side of the draw we have Scotland versus Denmark. Per Laursen & Niels Heinsøe of Denmark may not be household names, but they are good when on form. However the Scottish pair of Peter Snakebite Wright and Gary Anderson, well how can you look past them. Scotland to win through in this one comfortably.
Next is Brazil versus Sweden – hard to predict this one. Brazil have Diogo Portela & Artur Valle as a pair and whilst we have seen flashes of brilliance from Diogo, he hasn’t really lit up the Pro Tour events. His partner is a virtually unknown to me. Sweden have the retiring Magnus Caris & Dennis Nilsson as a pair. I think Sweden will win this one.
Next up is Belgium (#7 seed) versus Hong Kong – easy win for DVB and Huybrechts – easiest win of the first round for me.
The next match up in the first round is Hungary versus Germany. German pair Max Hopp & Martin Schindler will have a huge support for them but being they are playing Hungary their neighbours, I suspect there will be some equally loud support for Hungary pair Pal Szekely & Janos Vegso, in this one. The weight of expectation seems to lie on Max’s shoulders and they could slip up here. I expect this to be closer than you think, but a German win, just.
Next up is Northern Ireland (#6 seed) versus South Africa. Well what can we say about Northern Ireland – they have a great partnership in Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney and are dark horses for the title in my eyes. Gurney has qualified for the Premier League finals and Dolan is getting back to form, he did well at Ally Pally and he has qualified for a few Euro Tour events and seems to be getting his mojo back. South Africa have Devon Peterson & Vernon Bouwers. I don’t think South Africa get anything out of this game. NI to win easy and build some momentum for next round.
Next New Zealand are playing World Cup new comers Lithuania (replacing Switzerland). NZ have Cody Harris & Haupai Puha – Cody is a good player but we havent seen his partner play as yet, so that is an unknown. Lithuania have Darius Labanauskas & Mindaugas Barauskas – so again we only know of Darius – who has played some good stuff in the Pro Tours this year along with putting out RVB at Ally Pally. A coin toss this one – it will depend on whom has the stronger partner in each team.
Wales are next up against Singapore. Well what a darts legend Paul Lim is playing for Singapore along with his partner Harith Lim. We have seen Singapore knock out Scotland before with Paul Lim narrowly missing a 9 darter last time out…but the Welsh team of Gerwyn Price and Johnny Clayton are very strong. I expect Wales (#3 seed) to win this one with Paul Lim again showing his class in a few legs though.
Last on the right hand side of the draw is Japan versus Gibraltar. Japan are strong favourites in this one with Seigo Asada & Haruki Muramatsu they have proven their quality on the Asian PDC Tour and also in previous World Cups. For Gibraltar Dyson Parody is up and down and doesn’t have a B game – his partner Antony Lopez is an unknown – so we don’t know what to expect from him. Japan to win this one for me.
So that would mean:
England/Rep Ireland vs Austria/USA
Australia/Canada vs Spain/Poland
Scotland/Sweden vs Belgium/Germany
Northern Ireland/Lithuania vs Wales/Japan
From there in the quarter finals, I suspect:
England vs Austria
Australia vs Spain
Scotland vs Belgium
Northern Ireland vs Wales
Then it would be anyone’s tournament. My favourite of course is Northern Ireland – I hope Dolan plays to the standard we know and keeps up with Gurney.I look forward to the World Cup of Darts. Thanks for reading and remember people, keep those arrows straight!
World Cup of Darts 2019 Tournament Schedule
All times BST (Local time one hour ahead)
Thursday June 6
Gibraltar v Japan
Northern Ireland v South Africa
New Zealand v Lithuania
Belgium v Hong Kong
Brazil v Sweden
Wales v Singapore
Hungary v Germany
Scotland v Denmark
Friday June 7
China v USA
Italy v Canada
Poland v Czech Republic
Republic of Ireland v Greece
England v Philippines
Austria v Russia
Australia v Finland
Netherlands v Spain
Saturday June 8
Afternoon Session (12pm-4pm)
Evening Session (6pm-10pm)
Sunday June 9
Afternoon Session (12pm-4pm)
Evening Session (6pm-10pm)
Prize Fund (Per team)
Semi-Final losers: £24,000
Quarter-Final losers: £16,000
Second Round losers: £8,000
First Round losers: £4,000