The 2020 World Cup of Darts gets underway on Friday as the seeded nations bid to avoid a shock early…
The 2020 World Cup of Darts gets underway on Friday as the seeded nations bid to avoid a shock early exit in Salzburg.
Two of the leading players from each nation will battle it out across three days for £350,000 in prize money as the unique invitational heads to Austria behind closed doors.
With Peter Wright and Gary Anderson both having opted out of this year’s tournament, Scotland’s title defence falls into the hands of John Henderson and Robert Thornton.
Thornton is making his fifth World Cup appearance, a first since 2016, while Premier League Challenger Henderson will pull on the Scotland shirt for the first time.
The tartan twosome kick off their campaign in the evening session at the Salzburgarena with a tricky tie against Japan’s Seigo Asada and Yuki Yamada.
Asada was part of the Japan side which reached the Semi-Finals last year – where their run was ended by eventual champions Scotland.
England, who claimed this title on four occasions thanks to Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis, are seeded number one as Michael Smith and Rob Cross partner up once again.
The Premier League pair suffered a shock Second Round defeat to Ireland last summer and will be keen to mount a sterner title challenge at the second time of asking.
England, though, are poised for a tough opening test against the Philippines in a repeat of last year’s First Round meeting which ended 5-1.
The Philippines are once again represented by Lourence Ilagan and Noel Malicdem – who famously missed a match dart against Peter Wright in Round Two of the World Championship last December.
Wales have been touted by many as favourites to claim this title for the first time, and top 16 stars Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton will look to get off to a positive start when they face Russia.
Price and Clayton are looking to emulate fellow countrymen Mark Webster and Barrie Bates – who reached the final a decade ago – and will be determined to put last year’s shock First Round exit behind them.
Russia are again represented by former Challenge Tour event winner Boris Koltsov and Aleksei Kadochnikov – who is making his third PDC World Cup appearance.
The Netherlands launch their pursuit of a record fifth World Cup title with a tie against rank outsiders Brazil.
World number one Michael van Gerwen, who was won this title on three occasions, is partnered for the first time by former Lakeside finalist Danny Noppert.
The Dutch duo take on 2018 Challenge Tour event winner Diogo Portela and Bruno Rangel – who have twice reached the Second Round in three previous appearances.
Fourth seeds Northern Ireland look to atone for last year’s First Round exit as Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan take on Jeff Smith and Matt Campbell of Canada.
Dolan is one of six World Cup ever-presents and enjoyed a fine run to the Semi-Finals alongside ‘Superchin’ four years ago.
Meanwhile, Republic of Ireland aim to rekindle the memories of last year’s sensational run to the final when they take on Australia in one of the stand-out First Round ties.
William O’Connor and Steve Lennon fell agonisingly short of a fairy-tale success last summer and will be quietly confident of going a step further as they link up once again.
The Irish duo, however, face arguably the toughest available test on paper against former European Champion Simon Whitlock and Autumn Series event winner Damon Heta.
Max Hopp is partnered for the first time by Gabriel Clemens as the German duo look to overcome Finland’s Marko Kantele and Veijo Viinikka.
Hosts Austria, comprised of charismatic pair Mensur Suljović and Rowby-John Rodriguez, have been drawn to face the USA as Chuck Puleo returns to partner debutant Danny Lauby Jr.
European Grand Prix champion Jose de Sousa looks to guide rookie partner José Marques to an historic debut victory for Portugal when they take on Patrik Kovács and János Végső of Hungary.
Cody Harris and Haupai Puha form a dangerous New Zealand side as they take on Niels Heinsøe and veteran Per Laursen of Denmark.
World Matchplay champion Dimitri Van den Bergh partners former World Cup finalist Kim Huybrechts for Belgium as they take on Tour Card holder Karel Sedláček and former World Youth finalist Adam Gawlas of the Czech Republic.
World Championship quarter-finalist Darius Labanauskas joins Mindaugas Barauskas for Lithuania as they start out against Gibraltar’s Craig Galliano and Justin Hewitt.
Jesús Noguera makes his debut for Spain alongside ever-present Toni Alcinas as they meet Andrea Micheletti and Daniele Petri of Italy.
European Championship semi-finalist Devon Petersen aims to continue his red hot run of form when he teams up with newcomer Carl Gabriel for South Africa to face former World Master Krzysztof Ratajski and Krzysztof Kciuk of Poland.
Tour Card holder Madars Razma and rookie Janis Mustafejevs make their debut as late stand-ins for Latvia, replacing China, and will look to seize their chance when they face dangerous duo Kai Fan Leung and Royden Lam of Hong Kong.
Daniel Larsson, who recently hit a nine-darter on the PDC Home Tour, partners Dennis Nilsson for Sweden as they take on John Michael and Veniamin Symeonidis of Greece.
The action gets underway from 12pm GMT, with First Round matches to be contested over the best of nine legs (pairs).
PDC World Cup of Darts 2020 Schedule
All times GMT (local time one hour ahead)
Friday November 6
Afternoon Session (12pm-4pm)
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 (6pm-10pm)
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