World Cup of Darts 2022: the big contenders for PDC doubles event in Germany

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The Eissporthalle Frankfurt will be the venue as 32 nations compete at one of the most unique competions in darts.

The 2022 World Cup of Darts gets underway this week with a stacked line up of the best players from across the globe set to represent their countries.

There will be 64 competitors participating at the event in teams of two, representing 32 nations at the only doubles event of the PDC calendar.

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Although some of the bigger names of the sport like Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen will miss the event, world champions like Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright will be back to fly the flag for their homeland.

Here is a breakdown of the early contenders for this year’s PDC World Cup of Darts:

Wales

Jonny 'The Ferret' Clayton (L) of Wales celebrates winning after he competes against Gerwyn 'The Iceman' Price of Wales during Night 7 of Cazoo Premier League Darts on at Rotterdam Ahoy on March 24, 2022 in RotterdamJonny 'The Ferret' Clayton (L) of Wales celebrates winning after he competes against Gerwyn 'The Iceman' Price of Wales during Night 7 of Cazoo Premier League Darts on at Rotterdam Ahoy on March 24, 2022 in Rotterdam
Jonny 'The Ferret' Clayton (L) of Wales celebrates winning after he competes against Gerwyn 'The Iceman' Price of Wales during Night 7 of Cazoo Premier League Darts on at Rotterdam Ahoy on March 24, 2022 in Rotterdam | Getty Images
  • Team (world ranking): Gerwyn Price (2) & Jonny Clayton (8)
  • Tournament odds: 6/4
  • Previous wins: 2020

Wales are the pre-tournament favourites and one of just two teams made up of two of the current top ten ranked players in the world.

Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton lifted the trophy for Wales in 2020 and both have only improved since then with Price winning the World Championship in 2021 and becoming world number one while Clayton used the competition as a launching pad for success in the Premier League, Masters and World Grand Prix.

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Both enter the tournament in good form as well, with Clayton having topped the Premier League table before losing to Joe Cullen in the semi-finals, while Price reached the semi-finals of the US Darts Masters and quarter-finals of the Nordic Darts Masters this month.

Price and Clayton have a close bond and previous success as a team so, all things considered, they are well worth their tag as favourites.

England

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  • Team (world ranking): Michael Smith (4) & James Wade (5)
  • Tournament odds: 9/2
  • Previous wins: 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016

The only other nation who can boast two of the undisputed best players in the world are England.

The four-time winners, a joint record held with The Netherlands, are in the separate half of the bracket from Wales so the odds currently point towards an all British final.

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The glut of talent that England possess is highlighted by the fact that former world champion, and current world number 10, Rob Cross misses the tournament as do the likes of Joe Cullen and Dave Chisnall in favour of the Smith/Wade partnership.

However, it was Smith and Wade who represented England last year and saw their tournament ended by unfancied Austria in the semi-finals.

Mensur Suljović and Rowby-John Rodriguez shocked their much higher ranked opponents with a dominant victory and the English pair will have to be wary of many dangerous sides in their half of the bracket this time around, including Poland and Portugal who are certainly capable of causing an upset.

Netherlands

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  • Team (world ranking): Danny Noppert (11) & Dirk van Duijvenbode (16)
  • Tournament odds: 13/2
  • Previous wins: 2010, 2014, 2017, 2018

There’s no two ways about it, the absence of Michael van Gerwen is a huge blow for The Netherlands’ chances.

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Dirk van Duijvenbode is a capable replacement, good enough to beat anyone in this tournament on his day, while Danny Noppert is still riding high from his first major win at the 2022 UK Open.

Although both are excellent players in their own right, the team is without MVG at a time when the world number three is rapidly returning to the peak of his powers.

So far this month he has reached the final of the US Darts Masters and won finals night at the Premier League having finished second in the table.

The three time world champion is also the second most successful individual player in the history of the World Cup, having been a part of three of The Netherlands’ four winning sides with only the legendary Phil Taylor bettering him with four.

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Looking at what this Dutch team has, rather than what it is missing, are two very strong players who are certainly capable of going all the way but will have to go through some serious opposition to do it.

Scotland

World Champion Peter Wright got off to the perfect start in week one of the new look Premier League as he beat Jonny Clayton in Cardiff to win the event World Champion Peter Wright got off to the perfect start in week one of the new look Premier League as he beat Jonny Clayton in Cardiff to win the event
World Champion Peter Wright got off to the perfect start in week one of the new look Premier League as he beat Jonny Clayton in Cardiff to win the event | Getty Images
  • Team (world ranking): Peter Wright (1) & John Henderson (67)
  • Tournament odds: 12/1
  • Previous wins: 2021

The reigning champions are back together with a point to prove as the team of Peter Wright and ‘Big’ John Henderson look to replicate their success from last year.

Like the Netherlands, Scotland are without a star player in two time world champion Gary Anderson - who partnered Wright in Scotland’s first World Cup win in 2019.

Not only that, but Henderson has actually slipped down the Order of Merit below Alan Souttar and is now only the fourth highest ranked Scottish player on the circuit.

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Despite that, The Highlander earned the opportunity to return to the stage after winning the trophy last year although his inclusion is reflected in the bookmakers view of their chances.

While it would be entirely unfair to call Henderson a “weak link” as a ten year veteran of the PDC the weight of expectation in the team will fall mostly on the current world champion and top ranked player.

Victory for Peter Wright this year would bring him level with great rival Michael van Gerwen on three World Cup wins and Snakebite will fancy adding even more silverware to an already packed trophy cabinet.

It is also worth pointing out that Henderson proved the doubters wrong last year, so why shouldn’t he be capable of doing it again?

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Belgium & Australia

Two countries who have never tasted success at the World Cup but are seen as dark horses this year are Belgium and Australia.

The Belgian side of Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts boast a good balance of experience and talent, with world number nine Van den Bergh entering the competition on the back of victory at last week’s Nordic Darts Masters and Huybrechts offering ten years of consistent performances on the circuit.

Meanwhile, Australia have the eye-catching partnership of Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock who are ranked 20th and 25th in the world respectively.

Heta has earned his nickname of The Heat by becoming one of the most difficult players to stop once he hits a vein of form, while Whitlock has consistently been amongst the top players in the world since joining the PDC in 2009 - demonstrating impressive longevity while others have come and gone.

Both the Aussies and the Belgians look like decent outside bets this year, especially after 2021’s tournament showed just how far two seemingly unfancied sides can go.

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