The first round of the PDC World Cup of Darts draws to a close on Friday evening when the top half of the draw get their campaigns underway out in Hamburg. We saw shocks and surprises on the opening night and should be expecting the same here.
Northern Ireland and Wales were two seeded nations who bit the dust in a dramatic night of darts on Thursday which should ensure the likes of England, Netherlands, Australia and Austria take no liberties when they get their tournament started on Friday.
We begin with the relatively low key looking affair between China and the United States where the Asian side have to be up against it having had to endure a late chance in team members due to a visa issue. Those two are followed Italy and Canada who will be looking to take advantage of avoiding stronger nations in the draw. Poland have been touted as a dark horse in places and they open their campaign against the Czech Republic before another side who have had murmurs of producing a decent weekend, Republic of Ireland, take on Greece to finish the first half of the evening.
The seeded teams are in action in the last four matches of the night and it is the number one seeds England on show to kick off the second half of the session. They take on a Philippines side who should be underestimated at their peril. Austria have never really delivered the heights expected of them in this tournament and they take on Russia looking to avoid being a banana skin before former runners up Australia open their campaign against Finland. The final match of the first round sees the Netherlands beginning their title defence when they face the more than competent Spain side.
There are a lot of one-sided matches on the card here and if there is one thing the past has told us in this pairs section in this format it is that there will be surprises. We just have to pick where they might be and I’ll take two in that regard. Austria have a really ordinary record in this tournament. The only times they have made the quarters, where they have been seeded to make, has been when Rowby-John Rodriguez was partnering Mensur Suljovic. It is Zoran Lerchbacher here who has been in rotten form on the tour this year. With that in mind there is a fair chance that Russia will not just keep this close but also win too. Boris Koltsov is a much improved player to the extent that he has made a couple of last 32s on the European Tour this year. His partner will be much of a muchness but if Suljovic feels the pressure of carrying his partner, don’t be surprised if the Russians say goodbye to them.
Spain are the other side who I fancy could deliver the goods on the night. The Netherlands are obviously a force in darts but Jermaine Wattimena is the new partner for MVG and he won’t have played much pairs in recent times. The advantage Spain might have is that Cristo Reyes and Antonio Alcinas have represented them in this for the last four years so they will be used to the challenge that faces them. Spain have knocked off some big nations in the past in this tournament and if Wattimena was to have a mare on debut there could be a huge shock in this one.
WON – Back Russia (+2.5 legs) to beat Austria for a 3/10 stake at 2.25 with Betfred
Back them here:
Back Russia to beat Austria for a 1/10 stake at 6.00 with Coral
Back Spain (+2.5 legs) to beat Netherlands for a 3/10 stake at 2.40 with 888sport
Back Spain to beat Netherlands for a 1/10 stake at 6.00 with Betway