The PDC World Cup of Darts returns for the 11th time this September, and it promises to be the most exciting one to date. Throughout its history, the PDC World Cup of Darts has been dominated by two nations in Netherlands and England, but things changed in 2019 when neither made it to the finals.
The new era nearly ended in 2020, when Michael Smith and Rob Cross reached the finals but proved to be no match for the Welsh duo in Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton, who swept their neighbours 3-0 and secured the first title for their nation.
To no one’s surprise, Wales are expected to show up at the 2021 PDC World Cup of Darts once more, with the betting odds suggesting that Wales are set to join England and the Netherlands as the third nation to hoist the trophy in consecutive years.
Can Scotland Emulate The Success From 2019?
Scotland (13.00 at Bet365) enter the 2021 PDC World Cup of Darts as the 2019 champions when Peter Wright and Gary Anderson won against Ireland’s Steve Lennon and William O’Connor. The duo have finally managed to lift the trophy after they’ve finished runners up in 2015 and 2018.
Last year, they did not play and made way for John Henderson and Robert Thornton to represent the nation, albeit with far less success. Thornton and Henderson did not make it past round two, when they lost to the eventual champions, Wales.
Scotland is now back with Wright in the lineup; however, Anderson again refused to play and will be replaced by Henderson. This is obviously a problem, and while we are confident in Wright’s ability to play top-level darts, we aren’t as excited about Henderson, who simply isn’t Anderson.
Northern Ireland and Belgium Could Make Some Noise
Belgium (7.00 at Bet365) enter the 2021 PDC World Cup of Darts as fourth seeds and will be represented by Kim Huybrechts and Dimitri van den Bergh. The latter is a major champion and seems to be in excellent form, having made it to the finals of the World Matchplay while averaging an impressive 63% win rate on the season – he was at only 53% in 2020.
Obviously, van den Bergh is one of the top players in the world, but much like it’s the case with Scotland, he has been paired with a not-so-good teammate, Huybrechts. With all due respect, Huybrechts is not exactly a player you would count on to win titles – even though he was runner-up in 2013 with his brother Ronny.
He can have his moments and will have games where he scores big, but he is not consistent with those showings and usually averages sub-90. If Huybrechts can find his rhythm, Belgium could impress, but that’s one big “IF”.
Northern Ireland (15.00 at Bet365) are the fifth seed, represented by Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan. Looking at Northern Ireland’s lineup, you could definitely say that they have the talent to compete for the gold, so it’s no surprise that many view the Gurney-Dolan pairing as dark horses of the 2021 World Cup of Darts.
They have accolades to show for and seem to be in good form. While Gurney has achieved more, Dolan has been hitting bigger numbers of late, as evident from their FDI rankings, where Dolan is ranked 10th, while Gurney is 23rd. What’s more, Dolan is ninth on the OOM, while Gurney is 26th.
Bet356 has Northern Ireland priced at 15.00 to win the whole thing, which seems about fair. Dolan and Gurney reached the semi-finals in 2016, so they are good enough to compete for a strong finish, but they’ve since failed to impress and crashed out of the first round three times and made it to the second round only once.
Maybe, But Probably Not
Australia (17.00 at Bet365) reached finals in 2012 on the wings of Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson. Whitlock is back, ready to compete for the title alongside Damon Heta, which looks like a good pairing on paper; however, we have a hard time believing they can improve upon the showing nine years ago.
Whitlock is no longer the player he once was, while Heta isn’t quite at the level needed to compete for the highest honours. That said if they both step up and peak at the right time, we might be impressed with the Aussie duo, who reached the quarter-finals last year. But again, we’re talking about the “what if” scenario.
Germany (23.00 at Bet365) are the home team for the 2021 World Cup of Darts, represented by Gabriel Clemens and Max Hopp. We would have liked to see Martin Schindler in the lineup, but he was replaced by Clemens.
Still, you could argue that Clemens is a more suited player to compete for the title, and that might be true, albeit that doesn’t change the fact that his duo, Hopp, isn’t in great form. He has been averaging sub-90 over the year and has won only four of his last 10 matches.
You need two elite-level players to win the World Cup of Darts; unfortunately, Germany seem to have only one.
There are plenty of teams I haven’t touched so far, and I will have to leave out more than a handful from this prediction. Some worth mentioning are Poland (34.00 at Bet365), Austria (67.00 at Bet365), Ireland (81.00 at Bet365) and the Czech Republic (151.00 at Bet365), who could be competitive enough to pick up a few wins, but neither comes off good enough to go all the way.
Two outsiders that could impress and should be considered a dark horse are Jeff Smith and Matt Campbell of Canada (81.00 at Bet365). They made it to the quarter-finals last year, when they beat Northern Ireland and New Zealand, but had to admit defeat to Belgium.
Still, Smith and Campbell are solid players and have been in good form of late. That particularly holds true for Campbell, who has topped the European Challenge Tour OOM last week and seem set for solid showings at the 2021 World Cup of Darts.
Two Good Players Is All That It Takes
Obviously, you need two good players to win the World Cup of Darts, and the winning team traditionally fields a world champion. Interestingly, that wasn’t the case last year; however, 2020 was the first year to date that the cup had been won without a world champion in the lineup.
Having said that, Gerwyn Price, who lifted the trophy alongside Jonny Clayton, would then go on to win the world championship a few months later, so take that as you may.
On the topic of teams that field world champions, only three are attending the 2021 World Cup of Darts – Wales, Scotland, and the Netherlands, so it’s more than fair to say that the winner will come out of those three.
If we compare the three nations, it’s very easy to cross out the Netherlands (5.50 at Bet365) from our list of potential champions. Not necessarily because they lack talent, but mostly because Michael van Gerwen hasn’t been in great form of late, having won only one of his last four games and is without a title since November 2020.
Similarly, Dirk van Duijvenbode hasn’t achieved much recently (1-9 in his last 10). That’s unfortunate since van Duijvenbode has improved his game by a lot in 2021, albeit his recent form is concerning.
I have already touched on Scotland above and explained why Wright and Henderson might not be able to go all the way. Wright is good, but we just don’t see how he will manage to carry Henderson to the top. We’re ready for Scotland to prove us wrong – and they might if Henderson steps up; however, we wouldn’t count on that happening.
That leaves us with Wales (2.87 at Bet365), who have everything other title candidates are lacking. Wales field two of the best players in the world currently, including Jhonny Clayton and world champion Gerwyn Price.
With those two in the lineup, it will be tough to doubt Wales’ chances to defeat any team they face, and as Price and Clayton have already proven last year, they are the most potent duo in the world. There are no guarantees, but from the looks of it, Wales are a class above the rest and the main favourites to go back-to-back.
Prediction: Wales to win – 3.28 at Betfair – 2 Units