The 2021 World Cup of Darts gets under way in Jena on Thursday with eight unmissable First Round pairs matches….
The 2021 World Cup of Darts gets under way in Jena on Thursday with eight unmissable First Round pairs matches.
The annual 32-nation event will see two-player teams competing from September 9-12 – featuring both Singles and Doubles matches over the four days.
The top eight countries are seeded based on the lowest combined PDC Order of Merit ranking of the two representatives.
Day One features ties from the bottom half of the draw, with three previous World Cup of Darts winners in action.
Second seeds Wales kick off the defence of their title with a show-down against Finland as Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton take on Marko Kantele and Veijo Viinikka.
The Welsh duo will team up for the fourth consecutive year as they bid to avoid a potential banana skin against former Tour Card holder Kantele and former World Championship qualifier Viinikka.
Michael van Gerwen is partnered for the first time by Dirk van Duijvenbode as the dangerous Dutch duo open up their campaign against Andreas Toft Jørgensen and Niels Heinsøe.
Van Gerwen has lifted this title on three occasions since 2014 but is yet to claim any silverware so far this season, while Grand Prix finalist Van Duijvenbode comes into the event on the back of a six-match winless run.
Heinsøe is making his third consecutive World Cup appearance for a Denmark side who are without stalwart Per Laursen for the first time since the event began in 2010.
Former finalists Australia kick off their latest pursuit of glory with a tie against darting minnows Italy.
Following the recent passing of Kyle Anderson, it is likely to be an emotional occasion for Simon Whitlock and Damon Heta – who faced each other in the Hungarian Darts Trophy last weekend.
Danilo Vigato and Michele Turetta are both making their television debuts and will be out to pull off a huge upset to etch their names into World Cup of Darts folk law.
Gary Anderson’s withdrawal from the event means John Henderson joins World Matchplay champion Peter Wright for 2019 winners Scotland.
Henderson made his debut alongside Robert Thornton last year and returns to partner the world number two as they start out against China’s Jianfeng Lu and Wenqing Liu.
Top 16 star Krzysztof Ratajski and fellow Tour Card holder Krzysztof Kciuk form a dangerous Poland duo who are looking to overcome an equally strong Czech Republic pair of Karel Sedlacek and Adam Gawlas – who reached the Quarter-Finals of the recent Hungarian Trophy.
Another closely-matched tie on paper sees Danny Lauby Jr. and Chuck Puleo of the USA take on Sweden’s Daniel Larsson and Johan Engström – who will both feature in next week’s Nordic Masters.
Gibaraltar aim to record their first World Cup victory since 2015 as young prospects Justin Hewitt and Sean Negrette take on the vastly experienced Darius Labanauskas and former Challenge Tour player Mindaugas Barauskas.
The action gets under way from 6pm BST, with First Round matches to be contested over the best of nine legs in pairs format.
World Cup of Darts 2021 Day One Schedule
All times BST
Thursday September 9
6.15pm Hungary v Lithuania
6.45pm Czech Republic v Poland
7.15pm Gibraltar v Singapore
7.45pm USA v Sweden
8.15pm Scotland (6) v China
8.45pm Netherlands (3) v Denmark
9.15pm Wales (2) v Finland
9.45pm Australia (7) v Italy