England and Netherlands both progress on night two of World Cup
New-look World Cup sides England and the Netherlands followed fellow favourites Scotland through to the last 16 on a high-quality second night of World Cup of Darts action in Hamburg.
Thursday saw seeds Northern Ireland and Wales defeated to throw the bottom quarter of the draw wide open, while Peter Wright and Gary Anderson averaged over 100 to send a message to the rest of the field. The remaining eight first round match-ups were played on Friday evening at the Barclaycard Arena, with the same best of nine doubles format.
The action kicked off with the only all non-European first round clash as China took on the USA, the former having a late change to their side as Yuanjun Liu replaced Qingyu Zhan due to passport issues. Liu and Zong had a handful of good visits but the consistency of the experienced Darin Young helped out Chuck Puleo as the American duo came through 5-1. The next game was arguably the highest quality contest of the whole first round, and not many would’ve expected it to be Italy v Canada!
Stefano Tomassetti and Dawson Murschell both had individual averages of over 100 and were complemented well by Andrea Micheletti and Jim Long, especially in the middle spell of the match with an Italian 12-darter followed by a 13-darter from Canada. It looked like it would fittingly go all the way, but Micheletti made a mess of the 21 finish to allow Canada to finish a very impressive performance and complete a 5-3 success. It looks like we will be seeing more from the Italian players in the near future.
Krzysztof Ratajski’s Poland are highly-fancied by many in Hamburg this week, and the former World Master backed up those suspicions with a 100-plus individual average. A tricky Czech Republic side were their opponents, but Sedláček and Jirkal failed to get going early on and allowed the Poles to storm into a 3-0 lead. Four relatively simple holds of throw followed as Poland progressed 5-2 with an overall average in excess of 92.
William O’Connor won his first PDC title a matter of weeks ago and will look to follow that up with success for his country. ‘The Magpie’ and Steve Lennon were involved in a closely-matched encounter with Greece, but well-timed finishing from the Irishmen meant that they only dropped one leg and moved through to the last 16. The second half of Friday’s matches saw the last four seeds enter the action in Germany, and four-time champions England were first up.
Michael Smith’s World Cup debut got off to a flying start as he and Rob Cross were clinical on the doubles to see off a potential Filipino banana skin 5-1, finishing half of their checkout attempts and averaging 91.5 to book a meeting with the Republic of Ireland on Saturday evening. Aleksei Kadochnikov was arguably the surprise package of the tournament so far, the relative unknown impressing alongside Challenge Tour star Boris Koltsov as the Russian duo took a 3-1 lead over eighth seeds Austria.
However, Mensur Suljović and Zoran Lerchbacher didn’t suffer the same fate as 2018 and managed to turn it around, thanks in part to a stunning 138 outshot from ‘Hypercane’, which helped them on their way to a 5-3 win, taking the last three legs in an impressive 40 darts. They meet the USA in the last 16, while Australia will take on Canada after they also survived a scare. Tour Card holder Marko Kantele didn’t play his best on the night, but Kim Viljanen inspired the Finnish pairing to a 3-2 advantage.
They managed to take it to a deciding leg, but the Aussies kicked off with back-to-back 140s, allowing Simon Whitlock to check out 70 as they set off on their quest to reach the latter stages of the World Cup once again. The Netherlands also had a tricky draw against 2010 semi-finalists Spain, but debutant Jermaine Wattimena took out 108 in the first leg and they never looked back from there. ‘The Machine Gun’ was arguably more impressive than his partner, the world number one, Michael van Gerwen as the Dutch eased to a whitewash win, only allowing Reyes and Alcinas three darts at doubles.
After the chaos and drama on Thursday, the second batch of first round encounters saw some higher quality but less surprising match-ups, setting up some mouth-watering encounters for Saturday evening, including the Netherlands v Poland and England v the Republic of Ireland as the format is altered slightly to two best-of-seven singles games followed by a doubles decider if needed.
The afternoon session sees favourites Scotland return to action against Sweden and the wide-open bottom quarter continue to take shape as South Africa meet New Zealand and Singapore face Japan. Host nation Germany will also be on centre stage as they take on Belgium in an evenly-matched second round game. A fantastic first round means that we have plenty more darting drama to look forward to in Hamburg as the ninth edition of the World Cup of Darts continues on Saturday.
2019 BetVictor World Cup of Darts
Friday June 7 (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
China 1-5 USA
Italy 3-5 Canada
Poland 5-2 Czech Republic
Republic of Ireland 5-1 Greece
England 5-1 Philippines
Austria 5-3 Russia
Australia 5-4 Finland
Netherlands 5-0 Spain
Saturday June 8
Afternoon Session (1300 local time, 1200 BST)
Second Round x4
South Africa v New Zealand
Singapore v Japan
Scotland v Sweden
Belgium v Germany
Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)
Second Round x4
Australia v Canada
Austria v USA
England v Ireland
Netherlands v Poland