The Netherlands retained the World Cup of Darts with a convincing victory over No.1 seeds Scotland.
Michael van Gerwen- at his imperious best throughout the tournament- whitewashed great rival Gary Anderson 4-0 to round-off a fascinating weekend in Germany.
The World No.1 and partner Raymond van Barneveld sealed a 4th crown for the Dutch. This equalled England’s record in the competition and denied the Scots a maiden victory.
It was the final everybody hoped for, and most had expected before a dart was thrown on Thursday evening.
Indeed, 3 of the top 4 ranked players in the world were on show, with 5-time Champion of the World van Barneveld completing the star-studded line-up.
Inevitably, it was van Gerwen who set the tone for the holders with a thunderous 143 checkout in the very 1st leg of the final.
‘Mighty Mike’ kept the pressure on Scotland Captain Peter Wright who, despite drawing level at 2 legs all could do nothing to prevent the unstoppable ‘Green Machine’ winning the 1st rubber 4-2 for the Dutch.
However, Gary Anderson then stepped up and smashed in 5 180’s in as many legs to bulldoze past van Barneveld in double quick time and level the tie at 1 apiece.
Then, the 4 all-time greats graced the stage at the same time for what proved to be a pivotal Doubles encounter.
Scots Come up Short Again
It was here where van Barneveld- undeterred from his beating just minutes earlier- conjured up a flawless display of finishing to swing all momentum in favour of the Dutch duo.
A stunning 135 outshot followed by a cool 96 in the next leg moved them 3-0 clear.
Anderson produced his own moment of magic in leg 4 (a 127 Bullseye finish) to reduce the arrears, but it was to no avail.
Nonchalantly, ‘Barney’ pinned double 8 for a 4-1 win- and a 2-1 advantage in the final.
With the Scots now firmly on the back foot, it was left for MVG to ruthlessly dispatch Anderson and secure the trophy for his team- the 3rd time he and van Barneveld have won it together.
It was the fitting finale to an incredible tournament that showcased the depth of darting talent being produced across the globe.
Epitomising the team ethic generated by this unique event were the two surprise semi-finalists- Australia and Belgium.
The Aussies performed impeccably as a unit, battling past Spain and Wales in deciding Doubles matches to reach the last-4.
Captain Simon Whitlock registered 7 180’s across his two rubbers against favourites Wales. Teammate Kyle Anderson nailed all 4 doubles against Gerwyn Price and Johnny Clayton in the decider.
Their form continued to produce a classic semi-final tie with Scotland.
Whitlock- playing as well as he has in years- pushed Peter Wright all the way, courtesy of 2 tonne-plus finishes and a typically unorthodox 68 (treble 14, double 13).
Wright fell over the line 4-3 by pinning double 5 with his last dart in hand as ‘The Wizard’ lurked on 76.
Kyle Anderson then stunned his namesake Gary with an unbelievable upset. Level at 3-3, Kyle produced the leg of the tournament under the most severe pressure.
Knowing failure sent his country packing; ‘The Original’ suffered 2 bounce-outs in the final leg.
Remarkably, he still left 130 after throwing 9 arrows (with only 7 counting), before striking treble 20, treble 10 and tops, effectively for a 10-dart leg!
The Aussies eventually ran out of steam in the following doubles rubber, after gamely battling back from 3-0 down to 3-3.
Having forced the Scots to play every possible leg in order to defeat them, Whitlock and Anderson can hold their heads high. Furthermore, they should look forward to the coming months as individuals on the PDC circuit.
Destiny for Dimitri?
23 year-old Dimitri van den Bergh- arguably the player of the tournament- proved once more why he is such a highly regarded talent.
Brilliantly, van den Bergh rescued his country from the brink of a 1st-round exit against Ireland. He then showed composure beyond his years in defeating England’s Dave Chisnall at the quarter-final stage.
Together with partner Kim Huybrechts, they mauled ‘Chizzy’ and World Champion Rob Cross 4-0 in the pairs- averaging a tonne in the process.
Consequently, perennial over-achievers Belgium reached a 4th consecutive World Cup semi-final. Here, they gave a fine account of themselves against champions elect Holland.
Dimitri forced Raymond van Barneveld to play the best he ever has done on T.V, recording a massive 113.38 average to ‘The Dreammaker’s 107.54 in an amazing 4-2 win.
Afterwards, Huybrechts- who gave MVG a run for his money before also losing 4-2- reiterated his belief that van den Bergh will one day win the World Championship.
A bold claim, but on the evidence of recent weeks Dimitri looks every inch a future Major Champion.
Elsewhere, the World Cup came to life with some encouraging performances by the teams from the Far East.
Experienced Japanese duo of Seigo Asada and Haruki Muramatsu played extremely well, ousting 8th seeds Austria in a nail-baiting 1st-round.
Afterwards, they clinically dispatched Canada before bowing out at the quarter-final stage.
Chinese debutant Momo Zhou can also take great credit for her showing on the big stage.
26 year-old Zhou- just the 2nd woman ever to compete in the World Cup- did not buckle under the intense media spotlight.
In fact, she seemed the calmest of all 4 players on stage in China’s tie against Switzerland.
Although a lack of experience led to important doubles being missed, Zhou’s action is extremely solid and she could be one to watch over the coming years.
Still in its infancy, the PDC’s Asian Tour already appears to be aiding the growth of the sport on the continent.
In one of the standout results of the whole weekend, darting legend Paul Lim rolled back the years to defeat current World Champion Rob Cross.
Paul, now 64, averaged 102.29- to the delight of the crowd- in taking down his 27 year-old adversary.
An absolute icon of the sport, ‘The Singapore Slinger’ has never played better in his near 40 year career.
27 years after becoming the first man to achieve a 9-dart finish at the Worlds, in 1990, there are no signs that the veteran will be retiring anytime soon.
At the other end of the scale, 21 year-old Martin Schindler elevated himself alongside compatriot Max Hopp as the future of German darts.
In front of raucous home support in Frankfurt, ‘The Wall’ recorded a whopping 110 average in his quarter-final loss to Michael van Gerwen.
Incredibly, Schindler is actually 4 days older than his far more experienced teammate Hopp, who did a great job of supporting Schindler throughout the tournament.
Progressively, these two youngsters could well become permanent fixtures for their country over the coming decade or more.
Having reached back-to-back World Cup quarter-finals in the past two years, German fans might well bare witness to even higher levels of success in the future.
Overall, the 2018 World Cup of Darts was a phenomenal spectacle with performance levels off the chart.
Every professional will be desperate to book their place in the 2019 edition of what is an increasingly important event in the PDC calendar.
2018 World Cup of Darts Final Day Results
Sunday June 3
Scotland v Japan
Singles One: Peter Wright 4-0 Seigo Asada
Singles Two: Gary Anderson 4-0 Haruki Muramatsu
Doubles: Scotland v Japan – Not needed
Final Result: Scotland 2-0 Japan
Australia v Wales
Singles One: Simon Whitlock 4-2 Gerwyn Price
Singles Two: Kyle Anderson 0-4 Jonny Clayton
Doubles: Australia 4-1 Wales
Final Result: Australia 2-1 Wales
England v Belgium
Singles One: Kim Huybrechts 2-4 Rob Cross
Singles Two: Dimitri Van den Bergh 4-3 Dave Chisnall
Doubles: Belgium 4-0 England
Final Result: Belgium 2-1 England
Netherlands v Germany
Singles One: Michael van Gerwen 4-1 Martin Schindler
Singles Two: Raymond van Barneveld 4-0 Max Hopp
Doubles: Netherlands v Germany – Not needed
Final Result: Netherlands 2-0 Germany
Evening Session (7pm local time, 6pm BST)
Scotland v Australia
Singles One: Peter Wright 4-3 Simon Whitlock
Singles Two: Gary Anderson 3-4 Kyle Anderson
Doubles: Scotland 4-3 Australia
Final Result: Scotland 2-1 Australia
Netherlands v Belgium
Singles One: Michael van Gerwen 4-2 Kim Huybrechts
Singles Two: Raymond van Barneveld 4-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Doubles: Netherlands v Belgium – Not needed
Final Result: Netherlands 2-0 Belgium
Netherlands v Scotland
Singles One: Michael van Gerwen 4-2 Peter Wright
Singles Two: Raymond van Barneveld 1-4 Gary Anderson
Doubles: Netherlands 4-1 Scotland
Singles Three: Michael van Gerwen 4-0 Gary Anderson
Singles Four: Peter Wright v Raymond van Barneveld – Not needed
Final Result: Netherlands 3-1 Scotland