Live televised PDC darts makes its return this week when the 2021 World Cup of Darts takes place in Jena, Germany. The Darts World Cup begins on Thursday with games taking place in evening and afternoon sessions over the weekend until we reach the final on Friday night.
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32 nations will be represented by two-player teams the top seeds of which are England are the top seeds. James Wade and Phil Chisnall will be turning out for England, but it’s reigning champions Wales that catch the eye.
Since they took the title last year, Welsh darts has enjoyed something of a bumper year. Gerwyn Price was ranked third in the world this time in 2020 but has since usurped Michael van Gerwen as the world number one after he won the PDC World Championship in January. But, while that was largely expected, the rise of his Wales teammate Jonny Clayton has been more surprising.
The Ferret is now the Darts Masters and Premier League of Darts champion as well as being ranked 13th in the world. Clayton’s successes as well as those of the Iceman, means Welsh darts is thriving right now. This dangerous pairing, which has improved since conquering this event last year, are very much the team to beat.
The Iceman also travels to Germany on the back of winning the Hungarian Darts Trophy, while Clayton has banked four event wins this season and almost made it five in last month’s Players Championship.
Who is favored to win World Cup of Darts 2021?
Wales open up against Finland on Thursday and bet365 have priced them up at 15/8 to retain their title and it’s hard to argue against that. In addition to Finland, the Welsh quarter of the draw includes Hungary, Lithuania, Australia, Italy, the USA and Sweden.
While there isn’t too much in that quarter to worry the Welsh team, the threat of Australia can’t be overlooked. Australia will be represented by Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock, who will be hoping to do as well as possible to honour Australian darter Kyle Anderson, who died last month.
When teamed up with Paul Nicholson back in 2012, Whitlock came close to winning this event and has made the last eight three times and the last four on three other occasions. The Aussie pair met recently at the Hungarian Darts Trophy, where Heta beat Whitlock. Their pooled talents here could prove to be a danger for the Welsh.
Another home nation, Scotland, will be represented by Peter Wright, who is now joined by John ‘The Highlander’ Henderson following the withdrawal of Gary Anderson. At 12/1, Scotland represents real value and will begin their campaign against Chinese debutants Jianfeng Lu and Wenqing Liu in a match where it is hard to see the Scottish pair struggling, especially given how well the recently-crowned World Matchplay champion, Snakebite, performed when we last saw him.
That’s not to say that you don’t get shocks in this event. One year before they became World Champions, Wales was beaten by Singapore, who have also beaten Scotland in the past, but won’t come up against them in the early rounds this time thanks to the draw.
England’s James Wade and Dave Chisnall are the top seeds based on their respective rankings. The 4/1 shots find themselves in the first quarter of the draw alongside their first opponents Brazil, Spain, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Japan, and the host nation, Germany.
England is the odds-on favourites to win their draw but together Chizzy and The Machine haven’t won much of late, save for the UK Open in Wade’s case and an excellent and memorable win over Michael van Gerwen at the last World Championship in the case of Chisnall. This is hardly inspiring stuff from the English.
Speaking of Michael van Gerwen, he is partnered by debutant Dirk van Duijvenbode, which should make The Netherlands more than dangerous at 9/2. Drawn in the fourth quarter alongside the likes of Denmark, Gibraltar, Singapore, China, the Czech Republic, Poland and Scotland, the Netherlands — who open up against Denmark — should make it through to the final stages, although Scotland and Poland might prove tricky.
There is some top talent on show in the Second Quarter as well, where Belgium should prevail. Dimitri Van Den Bergh is partnered by Kim Huybrechts in a group that boasts Greece, Austria, Philippines, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong, the Republic of Ireland and Portugal, for whom world number eight and PDC Grand Slam holder Jose De Sousa will star.
Belgium has been knocking at the door for some years now, reaching the final in 2013, but are now more threatening than ever due to the emergence of world number-five and former Matchplay winner Dimitri Van den Bergh.
The Dream Maker played superbly in the recent Matchplay renewal, where despite chucking some stunning numbers, ultimately came up short against a Peter Wright who was himself throwing his best darts in years. Teamed with the 2013 runner-up Kim Huybrechts, Belgium look well worth their 6/1 price.
The fourth and final home nation, Northern Ireland, is also in this quarter and looks like providing a nice each-way bet at 14/1 with bet365. Their team consists of Brendan Dolan, who recently beat Michael van Gerwen on his way to the Hungarian Darts Trophy quarters, where he lost to eventual winner Gerwyn Price and whose average of 96 is the 12th highest here. He teams up with Daryl Gurney with whom he reached the semis during 2017 and neither should be troubled by their opening fixture against Hong Kong on Friday.
Darts World Cup 2021 Teams
- England – James Wade & Dave Chisnall
- Wales – Gerwyn Price & Jonny Clayton
- Netherlands – Michael van Gerwen & Dirk van Duijvenbode
- Belgium – Dimitri Van den Bergh & Kim Huybrechts
- Northern Ireland – Daryl Gurney & Brendan Dolan
- Scotland – Peter Wright & John Henderson
- Australia – Simon Whitlock & Damon Heta
- Germany – Gabriel Clemens & Max Hopp
- Austria – Mensur Suljovic & Rowby-John Rodriguez
- Brazil – Diogo Portela & Artur Valle
- Canada – Jeff Smith & Matt Campbell
- China – Jianfeng Lu & Wenqing Liu
- Czech Republic – Karel Sedlacek & Adam Gawlas
- Denmark – Andreas Toft Jørgensen & Niels Heinsøe
- Finland – Marko Kantele & Veijo Viinikka
- Gibraltar – Sean Negrette & Justin Hewitt
- Greece – John Michael & Veniamin Symeonidis
- Hong Kong – Kai Fan Leung & Man Lok Leung
- Hungary – János Végső & Patrik Kovács
- Italy – Danilo Vigato & Michele Turetta
- Japan – Matsuda Jun & Yoshihisa Baba
- Lithuania – Darius Labanauskas & Mindaugas Barauskas
- Philippines – Lourence Ilagan & Christian Perez
- Poland – Krzysztof Ratajski & Krzysztof Kciuk
- Portugal – Jose de Sousa & Jose Marques
- Republic of Ireland – William O’Connor & Steve Lennon
- Russia – Boris Koltsov & Evgenii Izotov
- Singapore – Paul Lim & Harith Lim
- South Africa – Devon Petersen & Carl Gabriel
- Spain – Jesus Noguera & Jose Justicia
- Sweden – Daniel Larsson & Johan Engström
- USA – Danny Lauby & Chuck Puleo
2021 World Cup of Darts Fixtures
Thursday September 9
First Round (Best of nine legs – doubles)
- Hungary v Lithuania
- Czech Republic v Poland