PDC World Cup of Darts – Day Two Preview

Friday evening sees the final eight first round matches played. Michael van Gerwen, Raymond van Barneveld and Gary Anderson are all in action as the Netherlands and Scotland begin their campaigns. My ‘game to watch’ of the night is Wales against Hong Kong.

Canada (11) (John Part & Ken MacNeil)
vs
New Zealand (Rob Szabo & Warren Parry)

Best Previous Tournament
Canada – Quarter-final (2010)
New Zealand – Last 16 (2010)

First Match Record
Canada
2010 – W 6-5 vs Belgium
2012 – W 5-3 vs Hungary
2013 – W 5-4 vs Sweden
2014 – L 4-5 vs Japan

New Zealand
2010 – W 6-4 vs Denmark
2012 – L 2-5 vs Austria
2013 – L 3-5 vs Croatia
2014 – L 3-5 vs Spain

Summary
This could be a very close game to call. On paper you could say Canada are favourites, though John Part is not showing the form of years gone by, his partner MacNeil is a steady player and will have benefitted from competing regularly on the PDC circuit this season. The New Zealand team have decent experience and have the ability to cause Canada a lot of problems. I think Canada might just sneak through but wouldn’t be surprised if New Zealand overturned them.

Sweden (15) (Magnus Caris & Daniel Larsson)
vs
Hungary (Nandor Bezzeg & Gabor Takacs)

Best Previous Tournament
Sweden – Last 16 (3 times)
Hungary – Last 32

First Match Record
Sweden
2010 – W 6-2 vs Slovenia
2012 – W 5-2 vs Japan
2013 – L 4-5 vs Canada
2014 – W 5-2 vs Gibraltar

Hungary
2012 – L 3-5 vs Canada
2013 – L 0-5 vs Belgium
2014 – L 1-5 vs USA

Summary
Sweden have won 3 of their 4 opening matches at the tournament in previous years and possibly have their strongest team with Daniel Larsson joining Magnus Caris for this year’s event. Nandor Bezzeg will be the key man for Hungary with more experience than his partner but it is doubtful the Hungarians will have enough to beat the Swedish pair.

Wales (7) (Mark Webster & Jamie Lewis)
v
Hong Kong (Royden Lam & Scott MacKenzie)

Best Previous Tournament
Wales – Final (2010)
Hong Kong – Last 16 (2014)

First Match Record
Wales
2010 – W 6-4 vs New Zealand
2012 – W 4-0 vs Croatia
2013 – W 5-2 vs Spain
2014 – W 5-4 vs France

Hong Kong
2014 – W 5-2 vs Norway

Summary
This is one of the most intriguing first round matches and certainly worth a watch. For Wales Mark Webster is showing an upturn in form this year and Jamie Lewis pushing hard for a place in the top 32. The pairing for Hong Kong are both capable, although more renowned as soft tip players they have both competed in PDC tournaments including the World Championships. The form and confidence of the Welsh pair should get them through but this is a match where an upset can’t be ruled out if the Welsh don’t settle in early.

Republic of Ireland (10) (Willie O Connor & Connie Finnan)
vs
Poland (Tytus Kanik & Mariusz Paul)

Best Previous Tournament
Ireland – Last 16 (3 times)
Poland – Last 16 (2 times)

First Match Record
Ireland
2010 – W 6-3 vs Slovakia
2012 – W 5-2 vs Malaysia
2013 – W 5-0 vs Denmark
2014 – L 3-5 vs Singapore

Poland
2010 – L 2-6 vs New Zealand
2013 – W 5-2 vs Gibraltar
2014 – W 5-4 vs Finland

Summary
Ireland’s key man is expected to be O’Connor, he has had some good results on tour this year including a last 16 appearance at the UK Open and is starting to show back up some of the potential he is capable of. Finnan is a good partner for O’Connor and they look a good enough pairing to avoid an upset in this match.

Northern Ireland (6) (Brendan Dolan & Michael Mansell)
vs
Thailand (Thanawat Gaweenuntavong & Attapol Eupakaree)

Best Previous Tournament
N.Ireland – Semi-final (2014)
Thailand – Last 32 (2014)

First Match Record
N.Ireland
2010 – L 3-6 vs Austria
2012 – W 3-1 vs Denmark
2013 – W 5-2 vs Belgium
2014 – W 5-2 vs Malaysia

Thailand
2014 – L 0-5 vs England

Summary
Northern Ireland had a great run to the semi-finals last year and they are again represented by Dolan and Mansell who appear to have a good team spirit and chemistry together. The Thai pairing lack the experience to trouble Dolan & Mansell too much and I anticipate the Northern Ireland team progressing to the next stage fairly comfortably.

Scotland (2) (Gary Anderson & Peter Wright)
vs
Singapore (Paul Lim & Harith Lim)

Best Previous Tournament
Scotland – Quarter-final (2 times)
Singapore – Last 16 (2014)

First Match Record
Scotland
2010 – W 6-2 vs Russia
2012 – L 2-3* vs South Africa (lost in sudden death leg)
2013 – W 5-3 vs Canada
2014 – W 5-1 vs Russia

Singapore
2014 – W 5-3 vs Ireland

Summary
The Scots bring a strong team to the tournament with current World & Premier League Champion Gary Anderson partnering 2014 World Championship finalist Peter Wright. They have only paired up once in the tournament previously which was 2012 when they lost to South Africa. Both are much improved since then. Singapore led by the very experienced Paul Lim won’t be pushovers but Scotland should have too much ability to avoid an early exit.

Netherlands (3) (Michael van Gerwen & Raymond van Barneveld)
vs
USA (Darin Young & Larry Butler)

Best Previous Tournament
Netherlands – Winners (2010, 2014)
USA – Quarter-finals (2 times)

First Match Record
Netherlands
2010 – W 6-2 vs Germany
2012 – W 3-1 vs Austria
2013 – W 5-3 vs Poland
2014 – W 5-2 vs Italy

USA
2010 – W 6-4 vs Sweden
2012 – W 5-3 vs Philippines
2013 – L 4-5 vs Finland
2014 – W 5-1 vs Hungary

Summary
Defending champions Netherlands enter the competition with the same pairing that won the title last year. The formidable pairing of van Gerwen & van Barneveld will again take some stopping. This is certainly not the easiest draw they could have had, both Young and Butler have been around a long time and won’t roll over but it is hard to look past a Netherlands victory.

South Africa (14) (Devon Petersen & Graham Filby)
vs
Finland (Kim Viljanen & Marko Kantele)

Best Previous Tournament
South Africa – Quarter-final (2 times)
Finland – Semi-final (2013)

First Match Record
South Africa
2012 – W 5-2 vs Spain
2013 – L 4-5 vs Denmark
2014 – W 5-3 vs Germany

Finland
2010 – L 2-6 vs Belgium
2012 – L 4-5 vs Croatia
2013 – W 5-4 vs USA
2014 – L 4-5 vs Poland

Summary
The final match of the first round is another intriguing match which should be competitive. Both of these nations have experience of upsetting the big nations with South Africa having defeated Scotland and Finland beating the Netherlands. The Finland team has changed from the one that reached the semi-finals with Komula and Haavisto both absent. The key player in the match has to be Devon Petersen who thrives on this type of occasion and is the best player out of the quartet. The quality of Petersen should give South Africa the edge.

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