For observers, the Dutchman Michael van Gerwen (33) is the clear favorite for the title. In the last World Cup, the 33-year-old footballer was very unlucky: the corona infection cost the participation of “Mighty Mike”. The three-time world champion will be suitably motivated in the race for a fourth world title. Defending champion Scot Peter Wright, 52, world leader Welshman Gerwyn Price, 37, and world runner-up Englishman Michael Smith, 32, are being marketed as his worst rivals.
“I felt good last year, but what are you going to do,” van Gerwen told Online Darts of his coronavirus-related withdrawal from the last World Cup. He had to accept that and now focus on the new test. He issued a clear warning about his rival, Michael “Bully Boy” Smith. He is in impressive form and “you have to watch him after the Grand Slam,” van Gerwen said.
Triple German involvement
Florian Hempel (32), Gabriel Clemens (39) and Martin Schindler (26) are Germany’s hopes for the upcoming World Darts Championship. The latter two are even seeded and enter the tournament only in the second round. But there is one player many expected ahead of the World Cup to miss: Wiesbaden-born Max Hopp, 26.
Hoppa has long been considered a darts prodigy. in 2016 he took part in the PDC World Championship as the second youngest player and in 2015 became the world youth champion. However, he was denied a really big shot. And he failed to qualify for the upcoming tournament for the second time in a row after 2021. Hoppa is still taking it in stride: “Of course I haven’t played what I’ve shown in the last two years, but we’re also coming from a very high level,” he told Sport1. Hopps will cover the World Cup for an external broadcaster.
Frauenpower in Ally Pally
It is likely that three participants will draw special attention to themselves in the upcoming tournament. Because at least since Fallon Sherrock, 28, became the first woman to win the PDC World Championship in 2020, women have been making inroads into the male-dominated sport. 18-year-old Briton Beau Greaves was particularly impressive this year. The teenager went 52 matches unbeaten and secured her first women’s world title in April. In the match against Sherrock, Greaves won with an average of 107 points, the most ever achieved by a woman. Now Beau ‘n’ Arrow is trying its luck in London.
As for Sherrock: The 28-year-old’s involvement in the build-up to the World Cup has sparked heated debate. After all, she wasn’t qualified for the contest in the first place. However, the World Darts Association PDC later changed the qualification rules to give women the third starting spot in the biggest darts tournament of the year. Sherrock’s victory in the Women’s World Match was later announced as a qualifying criterion.
Rounding out the British women’s trio is Lisa Ashton (52), who is participating in the World Championship for the fourth time. She is also English.
Darts action is available on Sport1 and DAZN
Anyone who wants to watch the World Darts Championship on screen can do so on Sport1 or via the DAZN streaming service. It starts on December 15 at 20:00. Mickey Mansell (49) and Ben Robb (34) battle it out to see who will face defending champion Peter Wright in the second round. The match against the Scots is the fourth on the first day of the competition.
Michael Smith starts the tournament on December 16, Price on the 19th and van Gerwen on the 21st. Florian Hempel is the first German player to start the World Cup on December 16 at around 10 p.m. In the first round, he competes with England’s Keegan Brown (30).
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