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Preview of the 2018 World Cup of Darts

Preview of the 2018 World Cup of Darts
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All eyes will be on Russia in the coming weeks for the FIFA World Cup, but for darts fans global tournament action comes this weekend in Frankfurt, Germany.

With new look line-ups and unique format, darts fans can expect the unexpected in this truly global event.

The Format

Unlike the BDO where pairs is a staple of all ranked events, this is the only time of the year where pairs takes main stage in the PDC. The short-format is prone to produce shocks of monumental proportions. The classic example came in the very first World Cup in 2010 when Spain (a team which included Toni Alcinas) overcame English duo Adrian Lewis and Phil Taylor in a final leaving thriller. Rewind 12 months, and Scottish pairing Peter Wright and Gary Anderson fell at the first hurdle at the hands of Singapore, in spite of their top seeding status.

Anderson and Wright will hope to banish the memories of that loss this time round when they begin against the experienced American duo Larry Butler and Darin Young. The ever-improving Toni Alcinas pairs with Cristo Reyes where they face off against Russia.

The Hot Favourites

Reigning champions the Netherlands will of course be the team to beat in Frankfurt. Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld won this tournament in 2014 in addition to last year’s win over Wales. There are perhaps chinks in their seemingly impenetrable armour however. Van Gerwen lost at the hands of Belgium’s Dimitri van den Bergh at the German Darts Masters just last week. Van Barneveld lost twice en route to the final last year to Larry Butler and Max Hopp. The world number one meanwhile has been warming up for this week’s World Cup by playing darts with the Dutch national football team.

They take on Gibraltar who have only won one game in their previous outings at this competition. One can only hope that we get to see some Dyson Parody celebrations…

England of course will also be looking to feature highly with the new look team of world champion and perennial Rileys favourite Rob Cross as well as Dave Chisnall. Admittedly the pairing have struggled for form in 2018, and neither have a title to their name since the Worlds. On paper they have a straightforward draw in the form of the Czech Republic who were first round losers last year. The Czech team contains Karel Sedlacek who will be known to BDO fans as having the highest losing average of 99.57 every recorded at Lakeside.

The Dark Horses

Could the new look Belgian duo of Dimitri van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts be dark horses in Frankfurt this weekend? The World Youth Champion is fresh from reaching the German Darts Masters final, although admittedly had an under-par weekend at the Development Tour immediately after. The dancing Belgian though always raises his game on the stage, and paired with the experience of Huybrechts will start as favourites against Irish duo Steve Lennon and Willie O’Connor.

Gerwyn Price will have happy memories of the World Cup in 2017 when Wales reached the final when paired with Mark Webster. Price this time goes with Austrian Open winner Johnny Clayton and will be highly fancied against minnows Thailand.  And you can never write off the hosts Germany, with newly crowned German Open winner Max Hopp and ever-improving Martin Schindler. The youngsters take on Sweden in the opening round. If they come through they could take on Northern Ireland in the last 16 in a repeat of their famous contest 12 months ago which contained a fair amount of “Needle” to say the least. Watch out also for China, who have Momo Zhou in their line-up becoming the 2nd woman to represent their country in this tournament.

The Rileys Connection

Brazil’s Diogo Portela is a Rileys Victoria favourite, with the London based player winning the venue’s Opens and Individual Darts League on a regular basis. Portela pairs with Bruno Rangel this year, with the pairing having played in a range of local events this past weekend. If you want to cheer on team Brazil at this year’s World Cup, you can join in the viewing party at Rileys Victoria this Thursday.

Prize Fund

Winners (Per Player) £30,000
Runner-Up (Per Player) £16,000
Semi-Finalists (Per Player) £10,000
Quarter-Finalists (Per Player) £7,000
Second Round Losers (Per Player) £4,000
First Round Losers (Per Player) £1,500
Total £300,000

 

The World Cup of Darts will be live at your local Riley’s Join us from 7.00pm Thursday 31st May.

Matthew Kiernan Multimedia Journalist. Passionate about darts.