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Simon Gott 5th Jun 2014 - 13:56

World Cup of Darts Preview

ENGLISH stars Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis are aiming to complete a hat-trick in the World Cup of Darts this weekend, with the expanded 32-nation event beginning on Friday in Hamburg.

Taylor and Lewis have secured victory for England in the past two years of the event by returning from Hamburg with the title - defeating Australia in a sudden-death leg in 2012 before overcoming Belgium in the 2013 final.

The duo will again team up to represent England this weekend, with 32 nations competing in the knockout tournament, where £200,000 in prize money is on offer alongside the title of World Cup of Darts Champions.

England will face Thailand in Friday's first round, with Taylor and Lewis taking on debutants Thanawat Gaweenuntawong and Watanyu Charoonroj in their best of nine leg Doubles contest - and the 29-year-old is hoping to inspire England's football World Cup bid by retaining the darts version of the title.

"If we can win the World Cup of Darts, I'm sure the lads can go on and win the World Cup of football," said Lewis.

"A lot of people don't realise how much it means when you're up there with that England shirt on. It means a lot to both of us and we'll go up there and try our best, and hopefully come away with the trophy.

"We're both looking forward to the World Cup because we love playing darts with each other and we're both winners, and we want to win this for England."

Lewis cites 2010 winners Netherlands as England's main rivals going into the event, with World Champion Michael van Gerwen and new Premier League champion Raymond van Barneveld the 13/10 favourites.

However, Lewis is in confident mood and added: "There's nobody with the experience of me and Phil, apart from maybe Barney and Michael.

"In the first year, Phil wasn't great and I pulled him through it, and last year I wasn't great and he pulled me through. We're a great team, and if we both click this year, then I can't see anybody else winning it."

The Dutch duo lost out in a shock Last 16 upset against Finland 12 months ago, but van Gerwen travels to Germany on the back of his victory in the Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters a week ago.

"I've never won this tournament before, so it's a nice target for me," said van Gerwen. "Last week was a great win for me and it was a boost for my confidence.

"I'm the World Champion and Raymond's the Premier League winner and now I've won in Dubai, so we're the favourites but we need to try to play as well as possible.

"Last year was quite weird for me because I'd never played in the World Cup pairs before and the expectation was high on us. We were both playing quite well at the time and on stage we didn't perform like we wanted to and weren't as concentrated as we wanted to be.

"We both learned from it and I think we are both playing better than last year. Phil and Adrian are a fantastic pair but we know we can win this - we're seeded number two but I don't see it that way.

"Scotland are strong this year - you have Peter Wright and Robert Thornton and there's no Gary Anderson - and Belgium did really well last year.

"Kim and Ronny Huybrechts are not players who are, for example, number one and eight in the world, but as a team they're brothers and know each other so well that they feel confident with each other, and that's why they play so well.

"If we concentrate and focus on ourselves from the beginning, then I think we can really do some damage but this year is going to be really difficult and we're looking forward to it."

The tournament's number three seeds are Scotland, with World Championship finalist Wright - who also lost out in last week's Dubai decider to van Gerwen - joined by in-form Thornton as they open up against Russia.

"The experience of playing in Dubai will stand me in good stead this week," said Wright, who had partnered Gary Anderson in 2012. "It was fantastic, an amazing venue and an amazing place.

"Last week will give me loads of confidence for the World Cup. I'm playing with Robert Thornton and really looking forward to it."

2012 finalists Australia, represented by Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson, open their challenge against Danish duo Per Laursen and Dennis Lindskjold.

"I'm really determined to win this tournament," said Whitlock. "The World Cup is as important to me as the World Championship because you're representing your country and I'm so proud to be able to do that.

"We've come so close to winning the World Cup in the past and that makes me even more determined to do well this year, but we know it's going to be tough.

"The Danish guys have both played in the World Championship and we saw last year that even the nations who aren't as well established can cause big upsets, so we'll have to be on our game from the very start."

The World Cup of Darts begins on Friday afternoon, with the first round being split across two sessions in Hamburg.

Host nation Germany, represented by Jyhan Artut and Andree Welge, take on South Africa's Devon Petersen and Graham Filby in their opener, while former semi-finalists Finland and Spain are also in action in the opening session, against Poland and New Zealand respectively.

The top eight seeded nations enter the stage on Friday night, including last year's finalists Belgium - once again represented by brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts - taking on India in another tasty tie.

The World Cup of Darts will be screened live worldwide through the following territories:
Sky Sports HD - UK & Ireland
RTL7 - Netherlands
Sport1 - Germany (Evening Sessions)
Fox Sports - Australia
Sky - New Zealand
Fox - Italy
Fox - Turkey, Malta, Greece & Cyprus
OSN - Middle East
Measat - Malaysia
Viasat - Denmark, Norway & Sweden
Pragosport - Hungary
www.LIVEPDC.TV for International Pass Subscribers outside of UK, Ireland & Netherlands

World Cup of Darts
Friday June 6
Afternoon Session (2pm-6pm local time, 1pm-5pm BST)
First Round
Finland (12) v Poland
USA (16) v Hungary
Hong Kong (13) v Norway
Austria (10) v China
Sweden (14) v Gibraltar
Canada (11) v Japan
Germany (9) v South Africa
Spain (15) v New Zealand

Evening Session (8pm-12am local time, 7pm-11pm BST)
First Round
Republic of Ireland (8) v Singapore
Wales (5) v France
Belgium (7) v India
Northern Ireland (6) v Malaysia
Scotland (3) v Russia
England (1) v Thailand
Netherlands (2) v Italy
Australia (4) v Denmark

Saturday June 7
Afternoon Session (2pm-6pm local time, 1pm-5pm BST)
Second Round
Northern Ireland/Malaysia v Canada/Japan
Belgium/India v Austria/China
Wales/France v Finland/Poland
Republic of Ireland/Singapore v Germany/South Africa

Evening Session (8pm-12am local time, 7pm-11pm BST)
Second Round
Australia/Denmark v Hong Kong/Norway
Scotland/Russia v Sweden/Gibraltar
England/Thailand v USA/Hungary
Netherlands/Italy v Spain/New Zealand

Sunday June 8
Afternoon Session (2pm-6pm local time, 1pm-5pm BST)


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