Wayne Mardle's 2019 World Cup of Darts predictions
Last Updated: 06/06/19 5:29pm
The 2019 World Cup of Darts gets underway on Thursday and Wayne Mardle returns with his crystal ball to preview all the action in Hamburg.
The Netherlands are bidding to secure a record fifth World Cup crown - their third in succession. However, they'll be without Raymond van Barneveld for the first time since the tournament's inception, as debutant Jermaine Wattimena teams up to partner Michael van Gerwen.
Top seeds England are the only other nation to have tasted World Cup glory, but the four-time winners also have a new look pairing in the shape of Rob Cross and Michael Smith.
Peter Wright and Gary Anderson represent Scotland for a fifth time, whilst former finalists Wales, Australia and Belgium all feature as seeds once again.
Wayne previews the action and believes there will be a new name on the trophy this year...
Seeds in danger?
England in my opinion will reach the final if they don't lose to the Philippines, but I think the Philippines team of Lourence Ilagan and Noel Malicdem are so underestimated it's ridiculous.
They do play a lot of pairs and Ilagan for me has got one of the best actions in world darts. They've both got composure under pressure. This is a different thing completely.
"I've had the pleasure of representing England and it's such a great thing to be involved in, but the pressure is huge."
Mardle on the World Cup
I've had the pleasure of representing England and it's such a great thing to be involved in, but the pressure is huge. I just think the Philippines have got a good game in them.
Northern Ireland play South Africa and that could be a tight one. I think Northern Ireland will win but Devon Petersen is playing the darts of his life right now. He could inspire, he's got a new partner this year so maybe there's an upset there.
I only kind of fancy the number one seeds to get beaten out of the fancied lot which is odd, but that's purely because I think Ilagan and Malicdem are very, very good. It's the best of nine legs, it's such a short format.
The surprise package?
I predicted them as dark horses last year and that's Austria. Whilst it's pairs obviously, they both need to be playing well.
There's going to be moments where you are going to have to gel as a pair and if one of you is not playing particularly great then the pressure can get to that player, like Lerchbacher last year.
Lerchbacher is now playing better, and I think if he plays well, they could do alright. I think they could even reach the final.
They're in the same half as England and I think England could lose to the Philippines. That's the reason I fancy Austria.
In the semi-finals, I am going for Austria to beat the Netherlands. I know the Netherlands are in the same half with Michael van Gerwen and Jermaine Wattimena, but it's not as strong without Barney there, so I think there's a real opportunity for everyone to be fair.
I'm going for Scotland to beat Wales. With Wales, it's so reminiscent to how I feel about Lerchbacher and Mensur [Suljovic]. Mensur in effect is in Price's place. Lerchbacher and Clayton - it is down to those.
You know Price is going to play well for Wales, it's about the weaker of the two players. That's why England and Holland have been so good in this competition.
This is why I think Peter Wright and Gary Anderson are going to be hard to beat. Peter Wright is the worse player out of the two and he's still world class. I think Scotland should really reach the final.
I think Scotland beat Austria in the final. I think Peter has started to look slightly better. I'm not saying he's playing anywhere near the peak of his powers, I just think he's looked a little bit more likely.
I've seen Gary in a few exhibitions. He's playing well but you need to be match-fit. Once you've been missing for a while, it's really hard to get your nerve back straight away.
They could come a cropper Scotland, but I just think that the opportunity has come about for them to go and win it, because they're fancied so often and I don't see how they can fear anyone in the bottom-half.
Wayne Mardle was speaking to Sky Sports' Josh Gorton. You don't have to wait long for more live darts, with coverage of all four days of the World Cup of Darts from Hamburg live on Sky Sports Action from June 6-9, starting at 6pm on Thursday.