With the this year’s PDC World Cup of Darts starting in Hamburg on Thursday, here is part two of our guide to all you need to know about the teams, from past records to tournament odds and the ones to watch.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Seven Best World Cup Last 24 Group Stage 2013 Player to watch Andrea Micheletti First round vs Canada Tournament odds 1000-1
For all of the plaudits received for the European Tour’s continued success over the last five or so years, Italy is one country yet to experience that darts boom. The Italians’ World Cup record reads: Played 7 Lost 7 and for the third straight year it will be a completely changed line-up in the tournament. Stefano Tomassetti, a cook by trade, and Andrea Micheletti, who was at European Q-School in January, will both make their television debuts this week. They will hope to do better than their fellow countrymen Michel Furlani and Alessio Mediana, who lost 5-1 to Canada in the first round in 2018. The two nations meet again in the opening round this year.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Nine Best World Cup Quarter-Finals 2013, 2018 Player to watch Seigo Asada First round vs Gibraltar Tournament odds 250-1
The most successful Asian country in the history of the PDC World Cup, Japan could be ones to watch again this year. The ever present Haruki Muramatsu was paired up with his sixth different partner in last year’s event, and he and Seigo Asada knocked out Austria and Canada to reach their second World Cup quarter-final. Asada pushed James Wade close in the 2019 PDC World Championship, a match which hit the headlines for Wade’s post-match comments, but in the aftermath many noted that Asada could hold his own on the main tour. Asada and Muramatsu have both been in the winners’ circle on the Asian Tour this year and, facing outsiders Gibraltar in round one, will be looking to go far again.
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World Cup appearances (including this year) One Best World Cup Debut 2019 Player to watch Darius Labanauskas First round vs New Zealand Tournament odds 250-1
The only debutants in the class of 2019, Lithuania were a late replacement in this year’s World Cup, replacing Switzerland. Darius Labanauskas is the obvious name which grabs the attention in the Lithuanian team, Lucky D won a tour card at European Q-School in January and recently reached a final on the ProTour. Labanauskas has an abundance of stage experience, he famously beat Raymond van Barneveld at the last PDC World Championship, while his partner Mindaugas Barauskas makes his television debut in this tournament. Their first World Cup game will see them face another unseeded nation in New Zealand, who include Cody Harris in their line-up. That tie could come down to which of Labanauskas and Harris stamp their authority the most.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Nine Best World Cup Winners 2010, 2014, 2017, 2018 Player to watch Jermaine Wattimena First round vs Spain Tournament odds 11-4
World Cup winners for the last two years, and the pre-tournament favourites, but the Netherlands come into this tournament with more questions than previous years. The dominant team of Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld, who together won three of those four World Cups, have been split up. Jermaine Wattimena, as the second highest Dutchman on the PDC Order of Merit, takes the departing van Barneveld’s place and in an unusual circumstance makes his World Cup debut as a favourite to win the whole thing. Can this new Dutch line-up win a record fifth World Cup for their country? As world number one, reigning world champion, and newly-crowned Premier League champion, van Gerwen is expected to perform well. Wattimena has enjoyed a healthy rise up the rankings over the last few years, but he will have to tick off a fair few milestones on the way to winning the title this weekend. His best run on TV to date has been four appearances in the last 16.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Nine Best World Cup Semi-Finals 2014, 2016 Player to watch Brendan Dolan First round vs South Africa Tournament odds 14-1
With a two-time major winner in Daryl Gurney, and a former major finalist playing well again in Brendan Dolan, this Northern Ireland team are a genuine dark horse in the World Cup this year. The pair reached the semi-finals in their first year together in 2016, while the last two campaigns have seen them fall to host nation Germany, in the first round in 2017 and then the last 16 in 2018. Good news for Northern Ireland is that they are not due to meet the Germans until the semi-finals, and Gurney and Dolan would happily take another meeting with Hopp and Schindler, even if that scenario was to come to fruition they would be up against a boisterous home crowd. Ranked fourth in the world, Gurney is undoubtedly one of the best right now, and with a rejuvenated Dolan, who made the World Championship quarter-finals in December, they will take some beating this year.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Nine Best World Cup Last 16 2010, 2015 Player to watch Cody Harris First round vs Lithuania Tournament odds 400-1
Haupai Puha makes his World Cup debut as he links up with Cody Harris in this year’s New Zealand line-up, but he had a taste of the big stage when he qualified for two of the World Series events in Australasia last summer. Harris is the more established name in the team and is regarded as one of the best players without a PDC tour card. He made an impression as an unknown in the 2016 PDC World Cup and has continued to rack up experience. Yet to win a game on the World Cup stage in his three appearances so far, Harris will want to break his duck with new partner Puha this week.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Four Best World Cup Last 16 2016 Player to watch Lourence Ilagan First round vs England Tournament odds 250-1
Playing in their first World Cup since 2016, the Philippines’ return to the tournament has garnered a lot of attention, particularly since the first-round draw was made and they were paired up with top seeds England. Lourence Ilagan and Noel Malicdem both competed at the 2019 PDC World Championship and gained plaudits from their performances on the biggest of stages. Since their Alexandra Palace appearances, the pair have done some damage on the PDC Asian Tour. Ilagan has won an event, as well as reaching two semi-finals and three quarter-finals, while Malicdem has also won an event and featured in two other semi-finals. In a short race to five legs in the opening round, the Philippines will be eyeing up the scalp of Rob Cross and Michael Smith, and if they do their pre-tournament odds of 250-1 will look very big indeed.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Eight Best World Cup Last 16 2013, 2014 Player to watch Krzysztof Ratajski First round vs Czech Republic Tournament odds 66-1
Poland come into this year’s World Cup off the back of four straight first-round defeats. Krzysztof Ratajski and Tytus Kanik, both tour-card holders more than holding their own on the PDC circuit, will want to put a stop to that losing run this week. Of the unseeded nations, only Germany are shorter odds than Poland to go all the way and win the title, and that is a testament to what this Polish duo have achieved in recent years. Ratajski won the World Masters in 2017 and last year won two Players Championship events in one weekend. Kanik won a tour card at the start of 2018 and in April made his first PDC semi-final. Poland will be a tough nut to crack.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Seven Best World Cup Quarter-Finals 2017 Player to watch Boris Koltsov First round vs Austria Tournament odds 500-1
The much-loved Aleksandr Oreshkin is not in the Russian team this year, as Aleksei Kadochnikov makes his return to the World Cup for the first time since 2015 to partner Boris Koltsov. Kadochnikov is giving away a lot of experience to his partner Koltsov, who has played in three PDC World Championships and this year has been a regular face on the ProTour. Koltsov was a winner on the Challenge Tour in January and has also competed in two European Tour events this season. Kaodochnikov has been more prolific on the EADC Pro Tour back home, where his two titles in 2019 has taken his total tally to six. Facing an Austrian side who struggled to get going 12 months ago, Russia could dump out one of the seeds in the first round.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Nine Best World Cup Runners-up 2015, 2018 Player to watch Gary Anderson First round vs Denmark Tournament odds 4-1
When the curtain comes down on Gary Anderson’s career, his CV will be one to look back on fondly. Two world titles, two Premier League titles, and countless other majors have been won by Anderson over the last decade. One title which does elude him is the World Cup and, like the World Grand Prix, the Grand Slam and the European Championship, he has come very close to adding it to his collection. With Peter Wright as his partner, Anderson has lost in two World Cup finals, in 2015 and 2018. The quality that those two possess would deem it a real surprise if they never get their hands on the World Cup. How many more chances will they get and have their best chances already been and gone? Anderson has rarely played in 2019, as he recovers from a back injury, while Wright struggled for results in the Premier League. Form can come and go, and there is no doubt these two, when they are firing, can be a match for anyone. If the Scots can find it this week this may be a big opportunity for them to win a first World Cup.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Six Best World Cup Quarter-Finals 2017 Player to watch Paul Lim First round vs Wales Tournament odds 500-1
One of the big unique selling points of the PDC World Cup is the chance to watch players, from various corners of the world, who you rarely get the chance to see. Step forward, Paul Lim. A true legend of the sport, you cannot help but smile when you see Lim, now 65, playing on the stage. Nowadays, at the top of the PDC, we are getting used to seeing other legends, such as Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld, waving goodbye, but Lim shows no signs of slowing down. Two years ago, Lim and his partner Harith Lim, pulled off a huge World Cup upset to dump out Scotland in the first round. That year Singapore reached the quarter-finals, and last year Paul Lim averaged 102 to beat then reigning world champion Rob Cross 4-2 in the second round. The Lims were beaten in a doubles decider by England, but make no mistake an upset is never too far round the corner when they are involved. Wales, beware.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Eight Best World Cup Quarter-Finals 2012, 2014 Player to watch Devon Petersen First round vs Northern Ireland Tournament odds 500-1
Devon Petersen once again leads South Africa’s latest charge in a PDC World Cup, this year with a new partner in Vernon Bouwers, who makes his television debut in the tournament. As well as leading the team, Petersen will be tasked with helping Bouwers get to grips with his new surroundings, a job which he will be used to having done so with previous partners. A run to the last 16 at the 2019 PDC World Championship helped save Petersen his tour card, and avoid going to Q-School to try and win it back, and he will hope to thrive on the big stage again this week. Northern Ireland are a tough opening assignment for South Africa in the first round, as Peterson and newcomer Bouwers face two experienced foes in Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Nine Best World Cup Semi-Finals 2010 Player to watch Cristo Reyes First round vs Netherlands Tournament odds 250-1
Nine years after they shocked the darting world by beating England in the first PDC World Cup, Spain will need to produce another giant killing if they are to extend their campaign this year beyond the first round. Tour-card holders Cristo Reyes and Toni Alcinas are no strangers to causing an upset. Alcinas partnered Carlos Rodriguez in that famous win over Phil Taylor and James Wade in 2010, while in December he sent Peter Wright packing in the PDC World Championship. Reyes also has pedigree on the big stage, he has pushed Michael van Gerwen close at Alexandra Palace in the past. That pre-tournament price of 250-1 will take a huge hit if they can pounce on any early nerves from the Netherlands in round one.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Nine Best World Cup Last 16 2010, 2012, 2014 Player to watch Magnus Caris First round vs Brazil Tournament odds 500-1
Away from the talk of which of the leading nations will walk away with the World Cup this year, another story deserves our attention and that is of Magnus Caris, who in this World Cup plays his last competitive tournament before retiring. The Swede has had a fine career, first in the BDO and then the PDC, and will be missed. Caris joined us on the Weekly Dartscast as a guest last week to talk about his career in the sport and is determined not to bow out with a whimper. Caris, and his partner Dennis Nilsson, have avoided the big boys in the first round. They face a Brazil who have yet to lose in round one, while Sweden have fallen at the first hurdle in each of the last four years. Can Caris roll back the years?
World Cup appearances (including this year) Nine Best World Cup Quarter-Finals 2012 Player to watch Darin Young First round vs China Tournament odds 500-1
Tipped by this writer to go the furthest out of all the non-European nations in this year’s World Cup, the pressure is on the United States to keep up my recent good run of predictions! Ok, so their first-round clash with China is the only tie to feature two non-European teams, which helps my chances of success, but Darin Young and debutant Chuck Puleo will come into the tournament in good spirits. Young has played in every single PDC World Cup and has been dominant on the domestic circuit. Puleo finished as the highest-ranked American on the CDC Pro Tour last year to earn a debut at the World Championship. The United States have two players in good form and ready to make the most of a rare chance to play on the big stage.
World Cup appearances (including this year) Nine Best World Cup Runners-up 2010, 2017 Player to watch Gerwyn Price First round vs Singapore Tournament odds 13-2
If Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton click this week, we could well be about to see Wales become the third nation to win the PDC World Cup. Price just seems to improve year on year. He comes to this World Cup as a major champion, following that Grand Slam success last November, and he came close to a place in the Premier League Play-Offs last month. Clayton made his World Cup debut last year and looked a little nervous, understandable given that he replaced two-time finalist Mark Webster in the line-up, but he deserves to be there. Now in the top 16, Clayton is a proven performer. He beat Michael van Gerwen on TV last year and maybe is now starting to believe in his own ability. A first-round test with Singapore will stand Price and Clayton in good stead, if they can get past the Lims, and a spot in the final day would then look to be firmly in their grasp.
Who do you think will win the 2019 PDC World Cup of Darts? Who are your dark horses and your players to watch this week? Leave a comment below.