England have easier run than Dutch to final of World Cup of Darts
Frankfurt plays host to the World Cup of Darts for the first time, after taking over from fellow German city Hamburg who held it for the previous three years, in what will be the fifth edition of the tournament. The 32 nations will fight it out for the £50k first place prize.
Despite being whitewashed 3-0 in the 2014 final to the Netherlands, Coral make England the 13/8 favourites to lift their third title, perhaps partly due to the fact that Stoke duo Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis will once again pair up.
Another reason may be that they have a favourable route to the final, as just Belgium and Australia are the potential teams to cause them trouble.
England (1/12 for victory) face Denmark (6/1), who have only ever won twice in four World Cups (against Gibraltar and South Africa in close 5-4 battles), and are understandably heavy odds-on favourites to beat them.
It is hard to look past the Netherlands for their third title, though, particularly as they will have in-form giants of the game Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen, who both reached the recent Premier League Darts play-offs.
You can back the Dutch (seeded third, perhaps due to Barney’s low world ranking of 14) at a more enticing 7/4 chance to defend their crown, although their path to the final is more tricky.
They face USA first up, who have been known to cause the odd shock or two, having defeated eventual runners-up Wales in 2010, before reaching the quarters in 2012 and second in 2014. The Americans lost out to England on both those occasions, but gave them a run for their money. Barney and Mighty Mike are odds-on at 1/12 to beat USA (6/1) first, though.
The latter nation in particular happen to have the most devastating player in the world on the biggest stage right now in high-Flying Scotsman Gary Anderson. After success in the World Championship and the Premier League Darts, he will be hoping to add the World Cup to his 2015 trophy locker too.
Anderson, who was overlooked last year to represent his country as Peter Wright and Robert Thornton were favoured, partners the former this time out, and they kick off their campaign against Singapore. They are odds-on at 1/10 to defeat the Asian nation (11/2).
Elsewhere, World Cup runners-up Belgium (in 2013) and Australia (2012), will be hoping to go one step further, and are both priced at 25/1 to win their first World Cup.
They will both have familiar line-ups, with Huybrechts half-brothers Kim and Ronny representing Belgium and Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson turning out for the Aussies. They are respective odds-on shouts at 1/4 and 2/9 to defeat the Philippines and Russia in the first round, and could potentially meet in the quarters.
Other British Isles nations Northern Ireland (1/8), Wales (4/11) and Republic of Ireland (2/7) all stand decent chances, certainly getting through the opening round as they face Thailand (9/2), Hong Kong (2/1) and Poland (5/2) respectively.
Tiny British territory and darts mad Gibraltar, meanwhile, have a great chance of recording their first ever World Cup win, as they take on Italy (11/10 for victory) first up, and the 13th seeds are odds-on at 4/6 to beat them.
Their bitter rivals Spain, though, will be more fancied to progress, as they boast Cristo Reyes, who shocked both Wes Newton and Kevin Painter at the last World Championship, before losing to eventual winner Anderson in the last 16.
While Spain are are long 100/1 shouts to win the World Cup, they are odds-on at 4/9 to knock out Norway (13/8) in the opening match of the tournament, and have the potential to give probable next opponents Belgium a tough test.
Another 2015 World Championship surprise package Max Hopp, 18, who knocked out Mervyn King, makes his World Cup debut for hosts Germany, and will partner Jyhan Artut, playing in his fifth finals.
Germany (1/5) are up against India (10/3) first, and could set themselves up for an interesting encounter with neighbours Austria, who also have young prospect in Rowby-John Rodriguez as well as the experienced Mensur Suljovic. They are odds-on at 2/7 to beat Czech Republic (5/2).
The remaining fixtures are an all-Asian battle between Japan (2/5) and China (7/4), a close encounter as John Part’s Canada (8/13) take on New Zealand (6/5), Sweden (2/5) duel with Hungary (7/4), while a new-look Finland (11/8) are against South Africa (8/15).
— Sky Sports Darts (@SkySportsDarts) June 9, 2015
First round fixtures:
Thursday, June 11th
Spain (12) v Norway
Japan (16) v China
Austria (8) v Czech Republic
Gibraltar (13) v Italy
Belgium (5) v Philippines
England (1) v Denmark
Germany (9) v India
Australia (4) v Russia
Friday, June 12th
Canada (11) v New Zealand
Sweden (15) v Hungary
Wales (7) v Hong Kong
Republic of Ireland (10) v Poland
Northern Ireland (6) v Thailand
Scotland (2) v Singapore
Netherlands (3) v USA
South Africa (14) v Finland
The second round will take place on Saturday 13th, while the quarters, semis and final will all be on Sunday 14th.
Betting tip – Scotland win Word Cup of Darts @ 7/2