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Michael van Gerwen
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World Darts Championship: 'MVG' heads the best international hopefuls at Ally Pally

Three-time winner Michael van Gerwen heads a global assault for glory at the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

Van Gerwen is one of 12 Dutchmen who will be toeing the oche at Ally Pall this Christmas, with only England represented by more players.

There are 46 players from the UK and Ireland, which means 50 more are heading for London from further afield, with another 23 nations around the globe preparing to line up for one of the greatest shows in sport.

What: World Darts Championship
When: December 15th - January 3rd, 2023
Where: Alexandra Palace, London
How to watch: Sky Sports
Odds: Michael van Gerwen 5/2, Gerwyn Price 6/1, Michael Smith 15/2, Peter Wright 10/1, Luke Humphries 14/1, Josh Rock 16/1, Jonny Clayton 16/1

Are the omens in place for an 'MVG' victory?

It's 11/5 that Dutch is the Winner's Nationality at the 2023 world championship with van Gerwen leading that country's quest for the title.

'The Green Machine' is to lift the trophy for a fourth time and having not won it since 2019, he'll feel he's overdue a triumph.

The omens are there. This year he has won the Premier League, the World Matchplay and the World Grand Prix and the last time he achieved that holy trinity - back in 2016 - he went on to be crowned world champion at the end of the year.

Standing between van Gerwen and the small matter of a £500,000 winner's cheque are 95 other darts stars, many of them little known outside of their homelands but all with big hopes of making a name for themselves.

Barney Army ready to get in full throat

The Netherlands has long been the powerbase of continental darts with the likes of Roland Scholten, Co Stompe and the pioneering 'Big' Bert Vlaardingerbroek all crowd favourites on the big stage.

Raymond van Barneveld picked up the baton in 1991 and now, five world titles and many years later, the 55-year-old still believes he can produce a run.

The 80/1 shot will have the crowd on his side, that's for sure, and his performances at last month's Grand Slam when he twice beat Gerwyn Price on his way to the semi-finals suggest there's life in the old maestro yet.

That said, there are other members of the Dutch dozen who will have their admirers and backers, among them reigning UK Open champion Danny Noppert - a BDO world finalist in 2017 - and Dirk van Duijvenbode, the runner-up to Price in September's World Series.

Noppert is a 33/1 chance, Van Duijvenbode 28/1.

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Euro aces looking to cash in at the Palace

Next door to the Netherlands is Belgium, who are represented by a trio of stars.

Kim Huybrechts was a quarter-finalist over a decade ago, while Dimitri van den Bergh has twice reached the last eight since then.

Both men can have their day with Van den Bergh's odds of 28/1 suggesting he could be a contender, perhaps more so than his 300/1 compatriot Huybrechts - Mike de Decker completes the Belgian cohort.

Germany has two seeded stars in Gabriel Clemens and Martin Schindler though higher-ranked than the pair of them are Portugal's former Grand Slam winner Jose de Sousa - seeded 17 and 100/1 - and Krzyzstof Ratajski, seeded 18 and 125/1 to become Poland's first-ever world champion.

World Cup duo lead Antipodean attack

Australia has had a world finalist before when Simon Whitlock reached the showpiece in 2010, losing 7-3 to Phil Taylor in the final.

'The Beard to be Feared' has never disappeared, indeed he and Damon Heta are major winners having gone all the way at this year's World Cup.

Heta (66/1) is seeded and gets good reviews every time he toes the oche; Whitlock (150/1) isn't seeded but boasts the pedigree to take down a few scalps between now and New Year.

John Part was for so long the face of Canadian darts, but 'Darth Maple' is now part of the Sky's comms team, and who will be an interested observer when his countrymen Matt Campbell, David Cameron and Jeff Smith take to the stage.

World Senior Matchplay winner Cameron at least has a major trophy on his mantelpiece, though Smith is a former BDO world finalist. Campbell, at 500/1, is the shortest of the three, however.

One Ally Pally favourite who will be missing this year is Paul Lim, the veteran from Singapore who missed out in Asian qualifying.

While Lim nurses his wounds and wonders whether another chance will come, Lourence Ilagan, Christian Perez and Toru Suzuki did make it through from Asian qualifying alongside Filipino Paulo Nebrida, the only first-timer of the quartet.

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