World Cup of Darts Tips And Preview by James Punt
The 2019 World Cup of Darts starts next week in Hamburg, Germany. Some of the best players in the world will be present, representing their countries in an exciting knockout format. The Dutch dream team of MVG and RVB won the last two World Cups, but MVG has a new partner this time in Jermaine Wattiemena. Can they complete a famous hat trick for Holland? Our darts doyen James Punt has produced an extensive preview, check out his World Cup of Darts tips below…
The tournament format remains the same with 32 nations represented, eight seeded, and the format is a straight knockout format. The first round is a best of nine legs pairs match. A tricky format in a short match. That allows for some surprise results early doors. The 2nd round through to the semi-finals is played with two best of seven singles with a pairs match to decide the winner if necessary. The final is won by the first team to get three points with two singles matches and a pairs match. Singles matches will be the decider if required.
This is the format in use for the last five years, before that we had a group based system. The last five World Cup of Darts have been won three times by the Netherlands and twice by England. So the two biggest darting nations with the highest ranked players. The Netherlands have had a long standing team of Van Gerwen and Van Barneveld. Two world champions, one is the best player in the world and it is not a surprise that they have been so successful. England’s line up has been more fluid but they last won it twice with Taylor and Lewis, both world champions.
So the winning team needs to contain top quality players, preferably world champions and a degree of continuity in team selection helps.
World Cup of Darts Preview
The Seeds – Official PDC World ranking in brackets
The Netherlands – Michael van Gerwen (1) + Jermaine Wattimena (23). Odds 4.00
This year the competition does have a different feel to it. The biggest difference is that there is no Raymond van Barneveld to support Van Gerwen. His team mate this year is Jermaine Wattimena who is the world number 23. He is a better player than Barney is nowadays, hence why Barney is retiring at the end of the year. But he isn’t anywhere near as good as Barney was even two or three years ago.
Only ranked as the 4th seed, the Netherlands are weaker this year than they have been for a long time. MVG will have to get used to a new partner and Wattimena will feel under some pressure to live up to Barney’s past record. He is a good player, not a great player, but he is the highest ranked Dutch player after Van Gerwen. There are plenty of up and coming Dutch players but they just haven’t arrived yet.
England – Rob Cross (2) + Michael Smith (6). Odds 4.00
England is the number one seed but once again they have a different team. Rob Cross returns after his debut last year but he is joined by Michael Smith this year. Smith, the world number six, gets the call based on his ranking but would England be better served by having Ian White or James Wade in the side? Smith is one of the most gifted players on the planet but he is suffering with double trouble and under pressure you can’t keep on missing doubles. If Smith starts missing then England are under big pressure and even if they are to reach the final….is Cross ready to win again? He is struggling in big matches in big tournaments.
Scotland – Gary Anderson (3) + Peter Wright (5). Odds 5.00
Scotland is something of a quandary. They have the world number 3 and the world number 5. Gary Anderson and Peter Wright. Great on paper but what can we say about Gary Anderson? He has been something of an invisible man this year as he tries to recover from his back injury. He has played eight competitive matches in 2019, that’s eight matches in five months. Of those eight matches he has won just three. To be fair his scoring in most of those matches was pretty good but he was losing.
A lack of competitive matches allows rust to creep into the game, poor decision making, poor concentration and just a lack of match fitness. We don’t know how well his recovery is going; will his back stand up to four days of competition? At least the matches are short. And as for Peter Wright his form remains inconsistent and while this is a team with great potential, they could make another final, but they are just as likely to fall flat on their faces.
Wales – Gerwyn Price (7) + Jonny Clayton (15). Odds 8.00
The Welsh pair of Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton is a strong one and they are the third seeds. On current form Price is a top four player but also on current form, Clayton is not as good as his ranking of 15th suggests. His floor form has been good but his stage form poor and this is a stage event. He has played ten Euro Tour matches and won just four. That is a worry. It is also a new team line up so it lacks continuity. Clayton is the key here. He has won five of his last ten matches and he needs to up his game a notch or two if Wales is to improve on its runner spot in 2017.
Australia – Simon Whitlock (11) + Kyle Anderson (23). Odds 26.00
Australia is the 5th seed. They are not the 5th best team in this competition and it is just that their world rankings make them so. On current form they wouldn’t be seeded. Whitlock is past his best, yes he made the final of the recent German Darts Grand Prix but that is the only decent bit of form he has shown for quite some time. Anderson is struggling against the top players and it is hard to see Australia repeating their run to the semi-finals last year.
Northern Ireland – Daryl Gurney (4) + Brendan Dolan (39). Odds 15.00
Sixth seed is Northern Ireland. Their high ranking is thanks to Daryl Gurney being the world number 4. He is once again partnered by Brendan Dolan who has slipped down to 39th. He has shown some flashes of form this year but this is something of a lopsided team and while Gurney is a huge asset he needs back up. If Dolan can find his best form then they remain a dangerous team. They have been team mates for the last three years and made the semi-final in 2016.
Belgium – Kim Huybrechts (28) + Dimitri van den Bergh. Odds 26.00
Belgium is the 7th seed and they have a terrific World Cup record, if a very frustrating one. In its current format they have reached the semi-final for the last four years. The team was made up of the brother Huybrechts for many moons but last year Ronny was replaced by Dimitri van den Bergh which put some fresh energy into the team. Van den Bergh is a very exciting talent, not at his best this season it must be said while Huybrechts has the right temperament for this competition. He is super competitive and loves a good scrap. You can’t write them off having another good run but actually winning it? Unlikely. Both players are playing very poorly, both losing seven of the last ten matches. That’s shocking form from both.
Austria – Mensur Suljovic (8) + Zoran Lerchbacher (64). Odds 34.00
The last of the seeded teams is Austria. Another lopsided team with Mensur Suljovic dragging them into the seeds. He is joined once again by Zoran Lerchbacher who was his partner last year for the first time and they went out in the first round, beaten 5-4 by Japan. It was fair to say that Suljovic looked less than impressed by his team mate. Austria has reached a couple of quarter finals but not with this pairing. Suljovic is their anchor man and he has lost his last five matches in a row. That doesn’t bode well and another early exit is possible.
Best of the unseeded nations
There 24 unseeded teams and some of them are potential dark horses but in the modern era (last five years) no unseeded team has made a semi-final never mind a final.
Germany – Max Hopp (25.00) + Martin Schindler (51). Odds 41.00
Germany has home advantage and it is a big advantage, make no mistake. The big crowd will be totally behind their team and they will give their opponents a very hard time. Just ask Gurney and Dolan who have lost to the hosts for the last two years. The pairing of Max Hopp and Martin Schindler has potential but a lot depends on young Schindler. He is still developing as a player but his form in the last 12 months has not been great. While Hopp is moving in the right direction once again, Schindler is losing a lot of matches. In the 40 matches he has played in 2019 he has lost 60% of them. He can be quite brilliant and the crowd may get him going but on paper he looks to be a weak link.
Republic of Ireland – Steve Lennon (35) + William O’Connor (47). Odds 81.00
Ireland has a talented team comprising William O’Connor and Steve Lennon. O’Connor recently won his first pro tour title but Lennon hasn’t really kicked on in the last year. He reached the last 16 in the UK Open but hasn’t followed it up with very much of note. He is losing too many matches. There is some potential here but a lot depends on Lennon upping his current form.
Japan – Seigo Asada (-) + Haruki Muramatsu (-). Odds 251.00
Japan is once again represented by Seigo Asada and Haruki Muramatsu and they reached the quarter final last year, beating Austria and Canada. Obviously they are more used to playing soft tip darts but Asada showed what a good player he was in this year’s World Championship when he beat Ratajski before being bullied out of his match with James Wade. He was giving Wade a very hard time before Wade went over the top and won the match and a £5000 fine for his poor behaviour. He is tied at the top of the Asian Tour OOM with Muramatsu 6th.
New Zealand – Cody Harris (-) + Haupai Puha (-). Odds 401.00
New Zealand has Cody Harris and Haupai Puha. We have seen quite a bit of Harris in the World Series and at the World Championship and he has made the move to live in the UK and play full time. He didn’t win a tour card so he is playing in the Challenge Tour and some BDO events. He won on the Challenge Tour last year and reached three finals but his upward momentum has stalled a bit this year. Haupai Puha has played in two World Series events but he plays his darts on the Australian and New Zealand tours and he is something of an unknown at this level. He has won two titles on the DPA pro tour this year.
Philippines – Lourence Ilagan (-) Noel Malicdem (-). Odds 301.00
The Philippines have their backers and they are a potential banana skin for the number 1 seeds in the first round. Lourence Ilagan and Noel Malicdem are talented players and are 3rd and 5th on the PDC Asian Tour. If England take them for granted or suffer with double troubles then they could find themselves under pressure.
Poland – Krzysztof Ratajski (44) + Thomas Kanik (79). Odds 81.00)
Poland is once again represented by Krzysztof Ratajski and Tytus Kanik. Ratajski we know all about. He has won three pro tour events and is a very good player and now ranked 44th in the world. Tytus Kanik has a tour card and reached his first player’s championship semi-final in April and the last 16 in the Austrian Open in early May. He is an improving player and he has taken some big scalps including Glen Durrant just a couple of weeks ago. They gave Northern Ireland a very close game in the first round last year, losing 5-4.
Spain – Christo Reyes (36) + Toni Alcinas (53). Odds 251.00
Spain has the experienced pairing of Alcinas and Reyes. This will be their fifth World Cup together and they have only lost one first round match and that was a 4-5 defeat to the English pairing of Taylor and Lewis. Getting beyond the second round has proved too tough for them however.
World Cup of Darts Tips: Outright Selections
I really don’t expect any big shock when it comes to the winner. It will be a seeded team but it won’t be Austria or Australia. England is the 4.00 joint favourite but they do not have a great draw. The first round is a real banana skin against the Philippines. Their 2nd round match is likely to be Ireland whom they should beat but they are no mugs. They are in the same half of the draw as fellow 4.00 shots the Netherlands and that will be very hard even without Barney in the team. One of the two joint favourites will definitely not make the final.
In the bottom half of the draw we have Scotland who look to have a kind draw with nothing to be worried about until the quarter finals and then a likely meeting with Belgium or maybe the home nation, Germany. We know little about Anderson’s fitness levels or form and Peter Wright is still misfiring every now and then. They do not make much appeal at 5.00.
World Cup Of Darts Tips: Wales Could Go Far
The bottom quarter has Northern Ireland and Wales. It is hard to see why they won’t meet in the quarter finals. Who would win that? I would have to make Wales the favourite. Price has a bit of a hold over Gurney in terms of H2H stats which could be the difference there. So a Wales vs. Scotland or Germany semi-final looks possible. There are question marks over all three teams.
Scotland are hard to quantify due to Anderson’s lack of form and Wrights inconsistent form. I just find it hard to believe they can keep it going for five matches. Belgium have two players who know each other very well, who get on very well and who gelled very well when they played last year. Their respective levels of current form is terrible but this is a nation who has reached four consecutive semi-finals. That is not to be sniffed at.
World Cup Of Darts Tips: Don’t Look Past The Dutch
So in the top half I have to stick with the Netherlands. MVG is such a force that he can carry a player if he needs to. Wattimena is no mug and if he can relax then he can make his own contribution. England is the big danger to them but I worry about both players mental strength at crucial moments. Cross is playing well, scoring well but coming up short at the wrong time. Smith can be devastating but if he gets stuck on his doubles then he is very vulnerable. They have two tricky matches early on into the bargain.
In the bottom half Wales are the call to get to the final. Price reached the final with Mark Webster in 2017 and he is a much better player nowadays. Jonny Clayton’s recent stage form isn’t great but if he can bring his floor game to this tournament then he will be a strong ally to Price.
A Netherlands vs. Wales final would be a good one. MVG and Price are two of the best players in the world right now and how ironic would it be if Price was to get his first win over MVG in a team event?
World Cup Of Darts Tips : 1 point Wales to win the World Cup of Darts @ 8.00 with William Hill, Betvictor
World Cup Of Darts Tips : 1 point Netherlands/Wales to meet in the final @ 10.00 with Boylesports
There is a ‘To win their quarter’ market available with some bookmakers and one bet worth having.
The 1st quarter should go to England who is the 1.61 favourites. Too short a price in my opinion.
The 2nd quarter should be won by The Netherlands. They face Spain in the first round and most likely Poland in the second so the draw could have been kinder but odds of 1.72 look a touch generous if anything.
The 3rd quarter has Scotland as the 1.73 favourite which looks very short. In the last 5 years they have failed to make the semi-final three times and with question marks about Anderson’s form and indeed Wright’s form they look poor value.
Belgium have won their quarter for the last four years and only just missed out in 2014, reaching the quarter final. Yes the team has changed but it is the same one that got to another semi-final last year. The two players combined form sees just six wins from twenty matches and that makes them very hard to fancy.
Germany will be a big test for anybody. They get home advantage every year which is unfair. Would they play any other World Cup in the same country every year? Max Hopp is in great form, winning eight of his last ten matches and runner up in Player’s Championship 16 a couple of weeks ago. Schindler isn’t in his best form but in front of his home crowd he could find some inspiration.
World Cup Of Darts Tips : 1 point Germany to win the third quarter @ 5.50 with Sky bet
The 4th quarter sees Wales as the 1.83 favourite. Northern Ireland is the biggest threat but at 2.62 they look a little short. No bet