Netherlands new favourites for World Cup of Darts despite tricky tie
The Netherlands are the new favourites for the World Cup of Darts at 11/8, following dominant displays in their first two rounds against Italy (5-2) and last year’s quarter-finalists Spain (2-0).
Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen have already achieved better than their second round exit in 2013 by reaching the last eight this time around, but now face a tricky tie with Belgium (16/1).
Huybrechts brothers Kim and Ronny of Belgium managed to whitewash both their opponents India and Austria, and remain the only nation in the draw to have done so. They were the finalists last year, but it’s difficult to see past Premier League champion Barney and word number one Mighty Mike.
On paper, England (6/4 second-favourites) face the easier opponents in the only unseeded country left and World Cup outsiders South Africa. However, title holders Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis will need to up their game, after nervously seeing off the USA 2-1, if they are to beat a side who have highly impressed so far.
The victors of that battle will face one of Wales (25/1) or Australia (8/1). Again, both nations came through tough ties, with the former only advancing thanks to a fantastic 112 checkout by Mark Webster to win the match in the doubles decider, with their opposition needing just 40.
Australia and Simon Whitlock in particular have performed well, but a Welsh upset is on the cards here due to their passion and teamwork, with Paul Nicholson being the weak link for the Aussies.
The last quarter-final match sees British nations Northern Ireland (33/1) and Scotland (5/1) go head-to-head, to face either the Netherlands or Belgium in the semis.
This will be a tasty duel, with both sides getting to this stage with relative ease, but the form and experience of Premier League Scottish duo Peter Wright and Robert Thornton should be enough to see them through.
Scotland versus Netherlands, and England against Wales are the pick for the semi-finals, with the Dutch to go all the way and win their and Van Barneveld’s second Word Cup title.