The World Cup of Darts gets underway in Frankfurt on Thursday evening when the bottom half of the draw plays its first round matches on a night where the big names and seeded nations will look to avoid an upset.
We have to wait until Friday evening for the entrance of the number one seeds England and the defending champions Scotland but with the host nation Germany among the countries on show on Thursday the crowd will have plenty to get behind.
First Four Matches
The action begins with the popular Paul Lim taking to the stage as his Singapore pairing with Harith lim will take on Denmark for whom there is no Per Laursen this year. Vladimir Anderson and Andreas Toft Jorgensen are the Danish representatives. New Zealand have often flattered to deceive in this tournament but they begin their quest in the second match of the night when they take on Switzerland. The third game onto the stage might be the pick of them as the former finalists Republic of Ireland meet a dangerous Canada. We reach the halfway mark of the opening evening with the runners up of last year, Austria, taking on Finland.
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Later Four Matches
It is the second half of the evening where the seeded players come out to play. The first seeded team on show are Northern Ireland. Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney will be expected to have few problems in seeing off Gibraltar. 2020 winners Wales will be next onto the stage. They have a first round date with the Philippines before the home nation Germany get their campaign underway. Spain will be the team looking to play the role of party poopers. The final match of the night sees a Dutch side without Michael van Gerwen for the first time going up against Brazil.
This first round is the only time in this competition where the format is half decent. It is definitely a leveller and as such we have seen a number of shocks over the years. I’m not sure we’ll see any as far as the seeded nations are concerned unless Germany struggle with home expectation. Canada beating Republic of Ireland wouldn’t be a shock to me because I see that as a 50:50 contest but that isn’t how the bookmakers see it so I’m happy to get on the North Americans.
Republic of Ireland obviously made the final here a few years ago but neither William O’Connor or Steve Lennon bring much in the way of form into this competition with them. O’Connor has done little of note since his run at the UK Open while Lennon has done very little in 2022. Jeff Smith hasn’t done much either in fairness but we know he is a class act. Matt Campbell was in the final of a Players Championship event six weeks or so ago and seems to be improving all the time. He might be the best player on show from a form point of view and that makes me think that Canada can make it three first round defeats in a row for Republic of Ireland since the made the final.
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