World Cup 2019 - The Reigning Champion

The Netherlands
This year for the first time the Dutch Team will consist of Michael van Gerwen and Jermaine Wattimena and they will try to defend the title which last year Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld won for third time after 2014 and 2017. Team Netherlands won the title in the inaugural World Cup 2010 as well but then with Raymond van Barneveld and Co Stompe.

Raymond van Barneveld was one of the players taking time eight times in the World Cup and he was disappointed when he was not again nominated in his last year - as he will retire after the World Championship and of the year - though of course as a fair sportsman he congratulated Wattimena. Van Barneveld slid down the ranking over the last two years and now sits behind Wattimena in place 29 of the PDC Order of Merit while Wattimena is the second highest ranked Dutchman after Michael van Gerwen on place 23. That probably was the reason for the PDC's decision especially after van Barneveld couldn't use his chance after the PDC had nominated him for the Premier League. He was eliminated on Judgement Day and won only a single match in this year's campaign.

Wattimena was quite surprised and delighted to be nominated.
Wattimena after some years on the BDO Circuit joined the PDC in 2014. The today 31 years old Dutchman started to play darts in 2006. In 2008 he won the Malta Open his first international tournament. 2009 he reached the last 24 of the Winmau World Masters. In the following years he didn't achieve a lot but in 2014 he was back and won the German Gold Cup. When he once again missed in the same year to qualify for the BDO World Championship he decided to try his luck with the PDC and played the qualifier for the PDC World Champion which he won. He never looked back but too part in Qualifying School 2015 and won a Tour Card on the third day. In his first two years he didn't attract much attention but reached from time to time a Pro Tour semi-final and slowly moved up the rankings and qualified every year for the PDC World Championship. In the PDC World Championship 2019 he showed a strong performance against Gary Anderson but in the end lost the match. 2019 he stood in his first Pro Tour final as well - and lost to Michael van Gerwen.

Nothing is known about the relationship between Michael van Gerwen and Jermaine Wattimena - how they harmonize as a team will only show in the World Cup. Due to the ranking positions the reigning champion is the number four seed of the tournament behind the teams from England, Scotland and Wales - the competition will be fierce. It is difficult to predict how strong Scotland's Gary Anderson will be after his long break due to his back problems; Peter Wright this year is not predictable either. Michael Smith - who together with Rob Cross is Team England - has already for the whole season problems to hit his doubles. Jonny Clayton - who partners Gerwyn Price in Team Wales - didn't play a strong season either. All that means Team Netherlands will not be without a chance to defend the title - should van Gerwen and Wattimena work as a team.

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