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Article: Wales Start as Favourites on Friday While Scotland Defend BetVictor World Cup Title

Wales Start as Favourites on Friday While Scotland Defend BetVictor World Cup Title

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

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

Courtesy of PDC Europe

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