2020 BetVictor World Cup of Darts Preview

BetVictor World Cup (PDC Europe)

The 2020 BetVictor World Cup of Darts begins on Friday as 32 nations compete for the title in Salzburg, with reigning champions Scotland taking on Japan in their first round tie.

The tenth staging of the World Cup of Darts will see 32 countries represented by two-player teams at the Salzburgarena in Austria to compete from November 6-8.

From the original field, Singapore and China's withdrawals have allowed Portugal and Latvia to make their World Cup debut this weekend.

Scotland are the tournament's reigning champions after claiming the 2019 title in Hamburg, although this year see John Henderson and Robert Thornton replace the title-winning pairing of Peter Wright and Gary Anderson.

They face Japan's Seigo Asada and Yuki Yamada in a tough opener on Friday, with World Cup debutant Henderson proud to be able to represent his country.

"It means everything to me," said Henderson. "I know Robert has already done it - to get this opportunity means so much to me.

"There's so much pride in it. We're just going to go out there and do our best. There is a bit of pressure, a lot of people are expecting Scotland to do well, but I'm sure we'll do the country proud.

"We're just going to go out there and enjoy it. We've watched Japan in the last couple of years and they've been really dangerous, so it's not going to be easy."

Wales are the 3/1 pre-tournament favourites with sponsors BetVictor, with Gerwyn Price having won the World Series of Darts Finals at the same venue in September and Jonny Clayton reaching the European Championship semi-finals last weekend.

"It's a great honour to represent Wales again," said Price, ahead of their opener with Russia on Friday. "Jonny is coming into some good form at the right time of year and I've been playing well recently.

"In other tournaments, if I lose I disappoint myself more than anything, but this time there's a lot more expectation and pressure I think. Hopefully we can both play well together, do Wales proud and bring the trophy home.

"Mark Webster keeps reminding Jonny that me, Barrie Bates and Mark have all played in World Cup finals and he hasn't, so hopefully we can get there this time and if we could win it then Jonny can turn the tables."

Of Friday's opponents, Price added: "Boris Koltsov is a good player and I don't know too much about his team-mate, but me and Jonny should have enough in hand to deal with them, and if we concentrate on our own game I think we'll be alright."

England are the top seeds, with the pairing of Michael Smith and Rob Cross looking to claim their first title for the four-time champions going into a first round tie with the Philippines' Lourence Ilagan and Noel Malicdem.

"It's amazing every time I get to represent England," said Cross. "It's going to be my third time this year and I'm really looking forward to it - it makes you very proud to represent your country.

"Both me and Michael have been missing a few doubles recently but I've been on the practice board a lot trying to correct it, and I reckon we can have a good run.

"The first night is maybe the most dodgy game because it's just a game of Pairs and a short format, but we want to get up there and put a big performance in because they're a dangerous pairing and we'll have to play really well."

The Netherlands - who open their challenge against Brazil - are also four-time winners, with three-time champion Michael van Gerwen partnered this year by debutant Danny Noppert.

2019 finalists Ireland are again represented by William O'Connor and Steve Lennon, and they will face Australian pair Simon Whitlock and Damon Heta in arguably the tie of Friday's first round.

"There's lots of good memories from last year," said O'Connor. "If you look at the draw we had, it was probably one of the worst draws you can get, so we went in with the intentions of playing well and whatever happens, happens.

"This year when the draw came out, I just looked and started laughing for a minute. That's what happens when you become a seed! There are a lot of easier draws, but I suppose there are tougher draws as well.

"If I can do the little things right and play my best, regardless of the result I'm very, very happy."

Debutants Portugal are represented by rising star Jose De Sousa, who won a European Tour title last month, and Jose Marques, who competed in the 2020 Qualifying School.

Gabriel Clemens' rise into the world's top 32 will see him make his debut for Germany alongside Max Hopp this year.

Jesus Noguera has come into the Spanish team for his debut in place of Cristo Reyes, while the Chinese pairing of Di Zhuang and Zizhao Zheng are both making their first World Cup appearances.

2019 World Youth Championship finalist Adam Gawlas steps onto the international stage to partner Karel Sedlacek in the Czech Republic side, while American prospect Danny Lauby makes his World Cup debut alongside Chuck Puleo.

Gibraltar also feature two debutants this year, with teenagers Craig Galliano - also a footballer on the books of Lincoln Red Imps - and Justin Hewitt having come through a qualifier to represent their country.

The first round of the BetVictor World Cup is split across two sessions on Friday, with Saturday's play featuring the second round.

Sunday then sees the quarter-finals in the afternoon session ahead of the semi-finals and final in the evening session.

The BetVictor World Cup of Darts will be televised on Sky Sports as well as through the PDC's international broadcast partners including RTL7 and DAZN, as well as for PDCTV 'Rest of the World Subscribers' and on matchroom.live.

2020 BetVictor World Cup of Darts
Schedule of Play
Friday November 6
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)

8x First Round
Lithuania v Gibraltar
Portugal v Hungary
New Zealand v Denmark
Northern Ireland v Canada
Belgium v Czech Republic
Austria v USA
England v Philippines
Italy v Spain

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
8x First Round
Sweden v Greece
Japan v Scotland
Poland v South Africa
Republic of Ireland v Australia
Wales v Russia
Germany v Finland
Netherlands v Brazil
Hong Kong v Latvia

Saturday November 7
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)

4x Second Round

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
4x Second Round

Sunday November 8
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 GMT)


Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 GMT)
Semi-Finals & Final

Draw Bracket
(1) England v Philippines
Lithuania v Gibraltar
(8) Austria v USA
Portugal v Hungary
(4) Northern Ireland v Canada
New Zealand v Denmark
(5) Belgium v Czech Republic
Hong Kong v Latvia
(2) Wales v Russia
Japan v Scotland
(7) Republic of Ireland v Australia
Poland v South Africa
(3) Netherlands v Brazil
Italy v Spain
(6) Germany v Finland
Sweden v Greece
NB: Singapore replaced by Portugal. China replaced by Latvia.

Competing Nations & Players (seeding in brackets)
(1) England - Michael Smith & Rob Cross
(2) Wales - Gerwyn Price & Jonny Clayton
(3) Netherlands - Michael van Gerwen & Danny Noppert
(4) Northern Ireland - Daryl Gurney & Brendan Dolan
(5) Belgium - Dimitri Van den Bergh & Kim Huybrechts
(6) Germany - Max Hopp & Gabriel Clemens
(7) Republic of Ireland - William O'Connor & Steve Lennon
(8) Austria - Mensur Suljovic & Rowby-John Rodriguez
Australia - Simon Whitlock & Damon Heta
Brazil - Diogo Portela & Bruno Rangel
Canada - Jeff Smith & Matt Campbell
Czech Republic - Karel Sedlacek & Adam Gawlas
Denmark - Niels Heinsøe & Per Laursen
Finland - Marko Kantele & Veijo Viinikka
Gibraltar - Craig Galliano & Justin Hewitt
Greece - John Michael & Veniamin Symeonidis
Hong Kong - Kai Fan Leung & Royden Lam
Hungary - Patrik Kovacs & Janos Vegsö
Italy - Andrea Micheletti & Daniele Petri
Japan - Seigo Asada & Yuki Yamada
Latvia - Madars Razma & Janis Mustafejevs
Lithuania - Darius Labanauskas & Mindaugas Barauskas
New Zealand - Cody Harris & Haupai Puha
Philippines - Lourence Ilagan & Noel Malicdem
Poland - Krzysztof Ratajski & Krzysztof Kciuk
Portugal - Jose De Sousa & Jose Marques
Russia - Boris Koltsov & Aleksei Kadochnikov
Scotland - John Henderson & Robert Thornton
South Africa - Devon Petersen & Carl Gabriel
Spain - Toni Alcinas & Jesus Noguera
Sweden - Daniel Larsson & Dennis Nilsson
USA - Chuck Puleo & Danny Lauby