By News Team
4th November 2020
Darting nations are set to do battle in Salzburg this weekend as this year’s World Cup of Darts takes place from Friday to Sunday.
Last year’s champions Scotland will be defending their crown in Austria and we’ve previewed the best of the action below.
England’s Smith and Cross top seeds
Representing England this year is Michael Smith and Rob Cross, who will be looking to bring back the trophy for the first time since Adrian Lewis and Phil Taylor last won it in 2016. Cross hasn’t had a brilliant year, being dumped out of the Premier League early doors while barely making an impact in the majors, so winning this will therefore be just the boost he needs going into the William Hill World Darts Championship next month.
Smith, meanwhile, has also not had the year he’d have liked, but he is in a transformation period, having had a decent Premier League campaign. He most recently made it to the semi-finals of the International Darts Open, where he lost to eventual winner Joe Cullen.
But when both of these men are at their best they can beat anyone in front of them. As a result, four-time winners England are the top seeds in the competition and are currently 4/1 to go all the way this year. They headline the first day with a first-round match against Philippines.
Wales look strong in hunt for maiden win
The second seeds in the competition this year are Wales and they are strongly fancied at 13/5 for victory. World number three Gerwyn Price partners Jonny Clayton and the duo will be looking to make history by claiming a maiden World Cup of Darts triumph for their country.
Price is this year’s Belgian Darts Championship winner while also bagging a Players Championship as well last month’s World Grand Prix. He’s looked formidable throughout the season and is currently well fancied for the William Hill World Darts Championship at 5/1.
Clayton is also a solid partner, having reached the semi-finals of this year’s UK Open, while he’s made a habit of going deep in tournaments. A solid pairing, the Iceman and the Ferret could be the ones to bring the first World Cup back to Wales. They open their campaign against Russia on Friday.
Van Gerwen and Netherlands for the win?
Netherlands are the third seeds and will go into the competition confident with world number one Michael van Gerwen and Danny Noppert representing the nation. MVG hasn’t had a dominant year at all, however, and this has left many asking what’s happened to the former world champion.
It’s clearly a matter of when and not if he’ll find his form again and having won the UK Open over the summer, it’s not as bad as many have made out. You don’t win 55 televised titles if you haven’t got the talent, and MVG will be back to his best soon enough. We can’t say for sure if it’ll be during the World Cup of Darts, but it would be a fantastic way to get back on track.
Van Gerwen has tasted success in the tournament before, having won with Raymond van Barneveld three times previously. This time he’s paired with Noppert, who currently sits 21st in the PDC rankings. Brilliant on his day, Noppert can cause problems for the best in the game. Opening their account against Brazil on Friday, Netherlands are the 5/2 favourites to go all the way once more.