World Cup of Darts 2020: Big guns take center stage on...

Michael van Gerwen wants to win his fourth World Cup of Darts title this weekend

The darts world championship is generally considered to be one of the highlights of the sports calendar. It provokes drama, tension and emotions in equal measure, which can be seen in an exciting opening day in Salzburg on Friday.

The 32-nation tournament started with a bang at the Salzburgarena as former champions Netherlands, England and Scotland advanced to the final 16.

Fourth Seed Northern Ireland and 2019 Republic of Ireland finalists were the main casualties of the opening round, although Second Seed Wales was arguably the most impressive performance, with Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton standing out.

Darts World Championship on Friday – first round games

afternoon Eve
Lithuania 5-3 Gibraltar Sweden 0-5 Greece
Portugal 5-0 Hungary Japan 3-5 Scotland
New Zealand 5-2 Denmark Poland 5-0 South Africa
Northern Ireland (4) 2-5 Canada Republic of Ireland (7) 2-5 Australia
Belgium (5) 5-4 Czech Republic Wales (2) 5-0 Russland
Austria (8) 5-2 USA Germany (6) 5-0 Finland
England (1) 5-3 Philippines Netherlands (3) 5-1 Brazil
Italy 4-5 Spain Hong Kong 4-5 Latvia

The dynamics of the pair game is also a fascinating spectacle and the camaraderie between the teams was refreshing to see.

Rob Cross and Michael Smith – usually rivals on the main stage – mastered the Philippines challenge as a unit, while Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts were positively euphoric after a shock against the Czech Republic.

Michael van Gerwen enjoyed the role of seniority working with debutant Danny Noppert, although there are only two years between the two, while Wales and Germany also demonstrated their qualifications in Austria.

Playing pairs, however, is uncharted territory for many of the current protagonists in the PDC and speaks about the Darts Show Podcast, The two-time main winner Colin Lloyd showed the pressure he can exert.

“Tell someone like Rob Cross – he could do anything to get out of D18 while Michael Smith, as we know, is a top, tens and five-man batsman. You have to have all of this in your armory to make yourself think, ‘Right, that’s what I usually do this way,’ said Lloyd.

2:31
Michael van Gerwen seemed to be enjoying the role of team captain when Danny Noppert took to the stage in Salzburg.

Michael van Gerwen seemed to be enjoying the role of team captain when Danny Noppert took to the stage in Salzburg.

“You still need to have confidence in yourself that you are going to take the shot, but if you don’t then you need to try to make your partner as comfortable as possible.

“Your partner might look at you, bow their head and think, ‘Ah, why did he leave me D16? I hate D16, he could have let me upstairs.

“Then you become negative as a couple. You shouldn’t do it because a double is a double on the dartboard, but there are so many different things that you need to look at as a couple, you are not just being selfish and thinking of yourself what you do as an individual athlete. ”

The action on Saturday focuses on the single games, with double decision-makers only being required if the two single games are shared, which will probably benefit the better-decorated nations.

The unique pair format creates obscurity even to the game’s main characters, although the prospect of taking on unannounced stars under normal circumstances reduces the likelihood of shock outcomes.

Second round games on Saturday – order of play

afternoon Canada versus New Zealand
Austria (8) versus Portugal
Belgium (5) versus Latvia
England (1) versus Lithuania
Eve Australia versus Poland
Wales (2) versus Scotland
Germany (6) versus Greece
Netherlands (3) versus Spain

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“These players are great individuals, but sometimes they don’t know how to react and how to act in their game as a couple and I think that’s really exciting,” added Lloyd.

“Once you get to the knockout stage where it’s singles, the bigger names and pressure from the players will likely kick in and the lower ranked players will struggle a little with that.”

Top seed England hit the headlines on Saturday afternoon when they face Lithuania, led by captain Darius Labanauskas – a quarter-finalist at last year’s PDC World Championship.

Smith and Cross will be emphatic favorites to hold their own against hosts Austria in the quarter-finals as Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez lock the horns with debutants Portugal under the captain of the enigmatic Jose De Sousa.

Fifth seed Belgium survived a great fear of the fall of the Czech Republic, and now Van den Bergh and Huybrechts – semi-finalists in 2018 – face Latvia, which, like Portugal, has marked its World Cup arch with a victory.

2:21
Rob Cross and Michael Smith aim to secure England’s fifth World Darts Championship.

Rob Cross and Michael Smith aim to secure England’s fifth World Darts Championship.

Two of last year’s quarter-finalists collide at the curtain in the afternoon when Canada face New Zealand. Canada is fresh from a clinical experience where they caused the shock of knocking out Northern Ireland.

However, the second round tie is a blockbuster showdown between two-time finalists Wales and defending champions Scotland, represented by John Henderson and Thornton.

The Scottish pairing in the new look want to keep the title that Peter Wright and Gary Anderson claimed almost 18 months ago, despite a great challenge against an irrepressible price and a strong Clayton.

The four-time Dutch winner is continuing his bid for a fifth World Cup crown against former semi-finalists Spain, as Michael van Gerwen, the world’s number 1, wants to return to winning ways with the help of the up-and-coming Danny Noppert.

Another fascinating showdown on the horizon is a clash between former finalists Australia and an unannounced Polish partnership in which both nations put in impressive performances to defeat the Republic of Ireland and South Africa respectively.

1:16
Second seed Wales is touted by many as the team to beat this weekend thanks largely to the form of Gerwyn Price.

Second seed Wales is touted by many as the team to beat this weekend, thanks largely to Gerwyn Price’s form.

The sixth seed Germany wants to move into the quarter-finals against Greece for the third time in four years when it competes against Greece – for the first time in the history of the World Cup in the second round.

Due to Van Gerwen’s staggering form, the absence of Wright and Anderson and the uncertainty surrounding England, it has been touted as one of the most open world championships since the tournament began in 2010.

Still, the pressure to represent your country is also a deciding factor and Lloyd is excited to see how the proceedings develop in the days ahead.

“There’s this added pressure – you’re not just playing for yourself, you’re representing your country. I believe there is no higher honor in the world of sport than putting on the jersey to represent your country. ”The former world No. 1 went on.

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November 7, 2020, 6:00 p.m.

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“Some people find this a little too much pressure, but others also think it’s just another darts game.

“The representation of your country can do strange things to players at times, they can pick up their game and find something that hasn’t been there in the last month or two.

“It will all be a lot of fun. It will be a lot of fun pressure. I’ll sit there with a large bowl of popcorn and watch some people squirm while others thrive. ”

Don’t miss any darts at the Darts World Cup on the weekend – the action continues on Saturday from 12 noon Sky Sports Arena and we’ll have the remaining four sessions when the new champions are crowned.

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