Dutch hopeful of home World Cup of Pool glory

He-wen Li and Jian-Bo Fu

HOSTS Holland A have a thrilling match in the opening round of the 2008 PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool as they take on neighbours Belgium on the opening night of the competition.
The event, which features 32 two-player teams from around the world, will be staged at Outland in Rotterdam from Tuesday, October 7 to Sunday, October 12.
Nick Van Den Berg and Niels Feijen, ranked fifth and sixth respectively in Europe, are in the Holland A side and one of the favourites to win the title.
They will be backed by a large, passionate crowd as they begin their campaign against the Belgian duo of Serge Das and Noel Bruynooghe.
This pairing produced a huge shock in last year's event when they defeated the highly-fancied Taiwanese team, which included former World Champion Chia-Ching Wu.
But the Dutch outfit remained confident of securing an opening day victory.
"On paper we're much stronger and it's a good draw for us but in a race to eight anything can happen," said van den Berg.
"Maybe it's a good tactic to practice with them beforehand as they don't live too far away! Last year we saw lots of Belgian fans and a lot of Dutch fans so there will be a big crowd. The bigger the better.
"If you look at the level of pool in Belgium and Holland then there's not much rivalry as we have better players in Holland but Belgium finished fifth in last year's World Cup.
"We're really looking forward to it and have a good chance to win the whole tournament as we're both on the top of our game.
"In the last two years, especially last year in Holland, we wanted to win so badly for the Dutch public.
"We put so much pressure on ourselves that we lost matches but this time we have to go into it with less pressure. We have to take it just as any other tournament and see where it ends, but I'm really confident we can do well."
This will be the third time Feijen and van den Berg have represented Holland but Feijen admits they have not been at their best yet.
"We've lost 7-8 twice now in the second round but I feel we have the quality easily to go all the way," said Feijen.
"It would be awesome to win this title in front of the home crowd. The Dutchies haven't won an event yet in Holland, we've had three semi-finalists in the World Pool Masters but no finalists yet.
"I would just love to make the finals together with Nick. It would be cool to play on the final day in front of a packed house there.
"The World Cup of Pool is a very spectacular event and it's cool for the spectators as they see the players consulting each other on occasion and winning or losing together as a team."
Holders China, who defeated Finland 11-10 in a thrilling 2007 final, will again be represented by He-wen Li and Jian-Bo Fu.
They will kick-start the event as they meet India's Sumit Talwar and Alok Kumar in the tournament's opener.
Reigning World Champion Daryl Peach and European No.1 Mark Gray make up a strong looking England team, but they will have to be at their best to get past Malta's Tony Drago and Alex Borg.
The USA pairing of Shane Van Boening and Rodney Morris face newcomers Iceland, while the Philippines outfit of Francisco Bustamante and Dennis Orcollo play in the last first round match against Denmark.  
2008 PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool
Schedule - seeded teams in brackets
Tuesday, October 7
Round 1 - race to 8 (winners break throughout)
Afternoon session - 2pm
India v China (1), Hong Kong v Switzerland (16), Korea v Finland (8)
Evening session - 7pm
TBC v Italy (9), England (5) v Malta, Belgium v Holland A (3)
Wednesday, October 8
Afternoon session - 2pm
France v Canada (12), Thailand v Poland (13), Austria v Vietnam (14)
Evening session - 7pm
Qatar v Germany (4), Iceland v USA (6), Holland B v Taiwan (7)
Thursday, October 9
Afternoon session - 2pm
Croatia v Spain (11), Malaysia v Russia (15), Australia v Japan (10)
Evening session - 7pm
Denmark v Philippines (2)
Second round - race to 8  
China or India v Hong Kong or Switzerland, Belgium or Holland A v Austria or Vietnam
Friday, October 10
Afternoon session - 2pm
TBC or Italy v Korea or Finland, Thailand or Poland v Qatar or Germany, Holland B or Taiwan v Australia or Japan.
Evening session - 7pm
Malta or England v France or Canada, Croatia or Spain v Iceland v USA, Malaysia or Russia v Denmark or Philippines.
Saturday, October 11
Quarter-finals - race to 9
Afternoon session at 1pm, evening session at 6pm. Two quarter-finals in each session.
Sunday, October 12
Semi-finals - race to 9.
Afternoon session at 1pm
Final - race to 11.
Evening session at 6pm.
Competing Teams (All teams / players are subject to confirmation)
Asia (10)
1. China (He-wen Li & Jian-bo Fu)
2. Hong Kong (Lee Chenman & Qualifier)
3. India (Sumit Talwar & Alok Kumar)
4. Japan (Naoyuki Oi & Satoshi Kawabata)
5. Korea (Young-hwa Jeong & Woong-Dae Kim)
6. Malaysia (Ibrahim Bin Amir & Lee Poh Soon)
7. Philippines (Francisco Bustamante & Dennis Orcollo)
8. Taiwan (Chia-ching Wu & Hung-hsiang Wang)
9. Thailand (Nitiwat Kanjanasri & Dechawat Poomjang)
10. Vietnam (Nguyen Thanh Nam & Luong Chi Dung)
North America (2)
11. Canada (Tyler Edey & Edwin Montal)
12. USA (Shane Van Boening & Rodney Morris)
Others (3)
13. Australia (Stuart Lawler & John Wims)
14. Qatar (Fahad Mohammadi & Bashar Hussain)
15. TBC
Europe (17)
16. Austria (Martin Kempter & Jasmin Ouschan)
17. Belgium (Serge Das & Noel Bruynooghe)
18. Croatia (Ivica Putnik & Philipp Stojanovic)
19. Denmark (Martin Larsen & Kasper Kristoffersen)
20. England (Daryl Peach & Mark Gray)
21. Finland (Markus Juva & Mika Immonen)
22. France (Vincent Facquet & Stephan Cohen)
23. Germany (Ralf Souquet & Thomas Engert)
24. Holland (Niels Feijen & Nick van den Berg)
25. Holland B (Dutch qualifying tournament to be held in September)
26. Iceland (Bjorgvin Hallgrimsson & Kristjan Helgason)
27. Italy (Bruno Muratore & Fabio Petroni)
28. Malta (Tony Drago & Alex Borg)
29. Poland (Radoslaw Babica & Mateusz Sniegocki)
30. Russia (Konstantin Stepanov & Ruslan Chinahov)
31. Spain (David Alcaide & Carlos Cabello)
32. Switzerland (Marco Tschudi & Dimitri Jungo)
THE World Cup of Pool will be produced by Matchroom Sport into 31 1-hour highlights programmes which will be seen on stations throughout the world.