Dutch Dominate Spectacular World Cup in Frankfurt

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.

Fantasy Final

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

The Scots fought hard but Peter Wright was left to rue crucial missed darts at Double 16 in the pairs contest against the Dutch. (Photo: Lawrence Lustig)

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.

Sensational Semis

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.

Kyle Anderson (left) and Simon Whitlock mastered the art of team play during their run to the semi-finals. (Photo: Lawrence Lustig)

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?

World Youth Champion Dimitri van den Bergh has come on leaps and bounds over the past few months. He has now tipped as a future World Champion at senior level. (Photo: Kelly Deckers)

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.

Asian Sensations

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.

Japanese debutant Asada (left) combined with ever-present Muramatsu to fine effect. (Photo: Kelly Deckers)

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.

 

Singapore Slinger

Paul Lim is one of the most respected figures in the history of the sport. (Photo: PDC)

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.

Schindler Shines

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.

Both members of team Germany are just 21 years of age. The future looks bright for German darts. (Photo: Lawrence Lustig)

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

Afternoon Session

Quarter-Finals

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)

Semi-Finals

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

 

Final

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

2018 PDC World Cup of Darts Preview

The wildest major of the year commences this evening, as the PDC stages the 8th edition of the World Cup of Darts in Germany.

32 nations spanning 6 continents will battle for the £300,000 prize fund and £60,000 winner’s cheque. 64 players will proudly represent their countries and dream of lifting the trophy on Sunday night.

Passionate fans from across the globe will descend upon the Eissporthalle in Frankfurt- creating the most colourful, diverse atmosphere the sport has to offer.

A tournament renowned for dramatic upsets and breakthrough performances over the years, the unique team format always produces incredible entertainment.

With first-round matches once again a pairs contest over the best of 9 legs, the arena will be full of tension and excitement as the big-hitters try desperately to avoid a humiliating early exit.

20 players will make their World Cup debuts, including World Champion Rob Cross and China’s Momo Zhou- only the 2nd female ever to compete in the extravaganza.

Dutch Delight

van Barneveld is adored by his Dutch fans. Winner of the World Cup on 3 occasions, he has never failed to qualify for the event. (Photo: PDC)

Defending Champions The Netherlands are seeking a 4th crown- with World No.1 Michael van Gerwen and 5-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld once again leading the line.

The dynamic Dutch duo are strong favourites to retain the title they captured 12 months ago against surprise finalists Wales.

Seeded 3rd, courtesy of van Barnevelds lower ranking, they face Gibraltar in the opening round on Friday night in the bottom half of the draw.

Expected to easily negotiate the early rounds, there is a strong prospect of a mouth-watering semi-final against closest rivals England.

For Wales, incidentally, Gerwyn Price returns after last year’s heroics with Johnny Clayton replacing Mark Webster after his rapid ascent up the Order of Merit in the past year.

It marks the end of Webster’s ever-present record in the event. He captained the side to a runners-up spot at the inaugural showcase, back in 2010.

Clayton reached the Final of the European Championships last fall before defeating new teammate Price to claim a maiden European Tour title in Austria last month.

Form suggests another strong showing might be on the cards for the Welshmen if they can now co-exist on the stage.

Scottish Redemption?

Peter Wright and Gary Anderson are once again top seeds after stellar individual performances on the PDC circuit.

The proud Scotsmen- ranked 2 and 3 in the world respectively- will seek redemption after suffering the most shocking upset in the competitions history in 2017.

Since their jaw dropping first-round defeat by unheralded Singapore last time out, they have scooped up 10 PDC titles between them.

Incredibly, for the talent available amongst their ranks, Scotland has never won this coveted event. In fact, they can consider one run to the final in 2015 a huge underachievement as a nation.

Having drawn the vastly experienced USA team, Scottish fans might fear a second consecutive slip on the banana skin.

Could Larry Butler and Darin Young do the unthinkable by emulating Singapore? (Photo: PDC)

60 year-old veteran Larry Butler won the first World Matchplay tournament way back in 1994. He also reached the final of the BDO World Masters as recently as 2015 proving his career is far from finished.

‘The Bald Eagle’ joins forces with ever-present US team member Darin Young, himself a serial winner on the North American circuit- with 9 World Championship appearances under his belt as well.

Neither will be scared to beat the Scots should the opportunity present itself.

New Faces

World Champion Rob Cross continues his incredible record of having qualified for every eligible major tournament since he gained his Tour Card barely 18 months ago.

He debuts alongside 2017 semi-finalist Dave Chisnall for 4-time winners England.

Although the English are the most prolific winners since the tournaments inception, they have never triumphed without Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis launching the arrows.

But, combine Cross’ finishing prowess with ‘Chizzy’s power scoring and they should be no match for the Czech Republic on Friday night. Many will fancy their chances as out-right contenders.

Momo Zhou will take centre stage for China and create history in the process. (Photo: PDC)

Chinese sensation Momo Zhou will be caught in a media frenzy tonight. She becomes the 1st woman to compete in the World Cup since 3-time Women’s World Champion Anastasia Dobromyslova represented Russia in 2010.

Hoping to blaze a trail for women in the sport, Zhou came through qualifying with a highly respectable average of 83.5 in her final match.

With a potential audience of 1.4 billion people cheering her on back home, it is an incredible opportunity to advertise Darts to a wider female audience.

Momo teams with Zong Xiao Chen in a very winnable first-round encounter against Swiss debutants Alex Fehlmann and Andy Bless.

Upsets and Dark Horses

Elsewhere, Belgium face Ireland in, arguably, the tie of the first-round. In spite of a changed line-up, the Belgians remain perennial outside bets for the title, largely thanks to Dimitri van den Bergh’s recent exertions.

Out of the blue, ‘The Dreammaker’ stunned Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson last Sunday en route to the final of his debut World Series event- also held on German soil.

He splits up the Huybrechts duopoly after leapfrogging Ronny to a career-high of 36 in the Order of Merit.

Brothers Ronny and Kim Huybrechts have reached one final, 3 semi-finals and a quarter-final at the World Cup since joining forces in 2013- an incredible record. (Photo: PDC)

Brother Kim will captain the side having enjoyed a decent outing at the Dutch Darts Masters earlier this month. He reached the semi-finals, only to be stopped in his tracks by young Irishman Steve Lennon.

The two will come face to face again tomorrow night- with Dimitri and Ireland’s William O’Connor fighting by their sides.

Ireland could well upset the apple cart in what should be a tight affair.

Darth Maple

Scheduled to open the tournament, at 6pm (BST) this evening, are the Canadian’s John Part and Dawson Murschell when they take on Italy.

3-time World Champion Part enjoyed a renaissance at the UK Open in March. The Hall of Famer reached the quarter-finals of an individual major for the 1st time since 2012, having suffered from ongoing health issues in those intermittent years.

Considered one of the greatest thinkers in the history of the sport, ‘Darth Maple’ could prove to be the perfect mentor for the raw, but gifted, Murschell.

Then aged 21, ‘Awesome Dawson’ made waves last summer by defeating James Wade in a World Series event over in the United States.

Currently transitioning to life on the PDC Pro Tour- after coming through Q-School in January- he has already claimed the scalps of Stephen Bunting and Gerwyn Price in recent outings.

In a wide open top half of the draw, the 51 year-old Legend and exuberant upstart have the potential to form a dangerous alliance.

Exciting talent Dawson Murschell will look to compatriot John Part for guidance as he debuts for Canada.

Every Session of the 2018 PDC World Cup of Darts will be covered live by Sky Sports. Subscribers to PDCTV can also follow the action in HD.

 

2018 Betway World Cup of Darts

Schedule of Play

Thursday May 31 (7pm local time, 6pm BST)

First Round

Italy v Canada

Russia v Spain

Switzerland v China

Denmark v Brazil

Wales v Thailand

Australia v Hong Kong

Scotland v United States of America

Austria v Japan

 

Friday June 1 (7pm local time, 6pm BST)

First Round

New Zealand v Singapore

Greece v Finland

Northern Ireland v Poland

Hungary v South Africa

Belgium v Republic of Ireland

England v Czech Republic

Sweden v Germany

Netherlands v Gibraltar

 

Saturday June 2

Afternoon Session (1.30pm local time, 12.30pm BST)

Second Round

Wales/Thailand v Switzerland/China

Australia/Hong Kong v Russia/Spain

Austria/Japan v Italy/Canada

Scotland/USA v Denmark/Brazil

 

Evening Session (7pm local time, 6pm BST)

Second Round

Belgium/Republic of Ireland v Greece/Finland

England/Czech Republic v New Zealand/Singapore

Northern Ireland/Poland v Sweden/Germany

Netherlands/Gibraltar v Hungary/South Africa

 

Sunday June 3

Afternoon Session (1pm local time, 12pm BST)

Quarter-Finals

Evening Session (7pm local time, 6pm BST)

Semi-Finals

Final

Format

First Round

Best of nine legs Doubles

Second Round, Quarter-Finals & Semi-Finals

The Second Round, Quarter-Finals & Semi-Finals will be played as two best of seven leg 501 Singles matches. Both nations nominate the order in which their players play. In the event of both nations winning one Singles match apiece, a best of seven leg 501 Doubles match will be played to decide the tie.

Final

The Final will be played as two best of seven leg 501 Singles matches. Both nations nominate the order in which their players play the first two matches. This is followed by a best of seven leg 501 Doubles match and then Reverse Singles matches. The first team to win three games is declared the winner.

2017 World Cup of Darts quarter-finals report.

2017 World Cup of Darts – Quarter-finals report – Netherlands set up England rematch

2017 World Cup of Darts quarter-finals report.
2017 World Cup of Darts quarter-finals report: Champions England edged out Austria to reach the semis.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig / PDC

England and Netherlands meet again

Reigning champions England marched on into the semis, after edging out Austria, and have set up a clash with the Netherlands in a rematch of last year’s final. Meanwhile, other seeded nations Belgium and Wales came through their respective duels to face off in the top half of the draw later in the evening.

The afternoon session saw plenty of thrilling action, and included a 170 checkout and the second-highest ever televised average!

Read on below for Sam Barnard‘s 2017 World Cup of Darts quarter-finals report in further depth…

Singapore v Belgium

After seeing his older brother Ronny Huybrechts throw the highest ever TV average by a Belgian (115.62), recorded on Saturday afternoon, Kim was determined to not only topple Singapore’s Paul Lim in the first singles match but his sibling’s record too!

In the end, he did both, beating 63-year-old Lim – who played his part in a thrilling opening clash of the session by averaging over 100 – and being just one dart on double 18 away from breaking Michael van Gerwen’s world record of 123.40.

Kim’s effort of 121.97 is still the second-highest televised average, and he certainly gave his nation a great confidence-boosting start after winning 4-1.

However, a below-par Ronny couldn’t capitalise as Harith Lim (not related to Paul) claimed a crucial 4-2 victory, with two ton-plus checkouts along the way, to set up a doubles decider.

Ronny certainly turned up in this battle, and was the better of the four players this time around to help inspire Belgium to a 4-2 win and a place in the semi-finals.

Russia v Wales

Up next were Russia and Wales, and Gerwyn Price certainly didn’t enjoy his 4-1 win over Aleksandr Oreshkin, whose slow and unorthodox style seemed to frustrate the Iceman at times.

But his victory gave Wales a 1-0 lead in the quarter-final and took some of the pressure off teammate Mark Webster, who hadn’t had the best of tournaments prior to this match.

However, The Spider made light work of Boris Koltsov to whitewash him 4-0, and thus avoid having to face a doubles decider.

Wales now take on fellow seeds Belgium in the semis later in the day, with both aiming to reach the final for the second time.

England v Austria

Mensur Suljovic wowed the crowd by firing in the first 170 checkout of the 2017 World Cup of Darts to break Adrian Lewis early and go 2-0 up in their singles fixture.

The super Serbian-born arrowsmith soon finished the job to defeat Jackpot 4-0.

That meant that debutant Dave Chisnall, who also led the way for England against Gibraltar in the first round, had to keep them in it again.

Chizzy showed his ability and calmness in his 4-1 victory over Rowby-John Rodriguez, and took advantage of poor counting by the young Austrian.

But like Ronny Huybrechts for Belgium, Lewis put his poor singles performance behind him to help England to a crucial break in the third leg which put them 2-1 up with a fine 129 finish on bullseye.

Jackpot was unable to hit the same target in the following leg, however, which allowed Suljovic to break back and put Austria back on the front foot.

Lewis was able to finish the next two legs, though, and guide his nation into yet another semi-final.

Germany v Netherlands

Young Martin Schindler started off in the best possible fashion, hitting a 180 on his first throw and eventually winning the leg to immediately break Michael van Gerwen.

He took the next leg too, but Mighty Mike went up a level and took the next four legs in a row to win 4-2.

That meant that Raymond van Barneveld had the chance to wrap up the tie against Max Hopp.

It certainly didn’t go the darting giant’s way at first either, as Hopp went 2-0 up, but Barney was able to take the next three legs and go just a leg from putting the Netherlands through to the semis.

However, after missing two darts on double to win, Hopp took advantage and took out a crucial 105 checkout to level the scores to 3-3.

Maximiser then held his nerve to set up a doubles decider in thrilling fashion.

The Netherlands were briefly troubled in the middle of the doubles encounter, but in the end ran out 4-1 winners to set up a crunch clash with England in the semis.

Results

Singapore 1-2 Belgium
Paul Lim 1-4 Kim Huybrechts
Harith Lim 4-2 Ronny Huybrechts
Doubles: 2-4

Russia 0-2 Wales
Aleksandr Oreshkin 1-4 Gerwyn Price
Boris Koltsov 0-4 Mark Webster

England 2-1 Austria
Adrian Lewis 0-4 Mensur Suljovic
Dave Chisnall 4-1 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Doubles: 4-2

Germany 1-2 Netherlands
Martin Schindler 2-4 Michael van Gerwen
Max Hopp 4-3 Raymond van Barneveld
Doubles: 1-4

Hosts shock sixth seeds at the World Cup of Darts 2017 – Day two report

Credit Lawrence Lustig – PDC

It was a day for the favourites in Frankfurt as all the top seeds progressed after Singapore shook the darting world yesterday evening. Josh Green gives his account on proceedings of day two at the World Cup of Darts.

The hosts made it through to the round of 16 in front of a raucous Frankfurt crowd at the World Cup of Darts. The match was in the balance for almost half an hour, as it came down to a nail-biting final leg.

Daryl Gurney had given Northern Ireland the advantage earlier in the match with a 124 checkout on the back of two maximums from partner Brendan Dolan and Germany’s Max Hopp.

The German pair with a combined age of just 40 years of age responded with a 123 from Hopp, before Martin Schindler held his nerve to keep their dreams alive.

Despite a worrying foot injury for Michael van Gerwen it was a smooth showing for the Dutch in their World Cup of Darts opener.

The tournament favourites averaged 109 in their 5-1 demolition of the Czech Republic, with van Gerwen looking as silky as ever. They will definitely be a force to be reckoned with as they continue their international campaign.

Second seeds England joined their arch rivals in round two, making light work of Gibraltar. Dave Chisnall pulled on the red and white for the first time, and carried the pair to a simple victory.

Adrian Lewis, seemingly rattled by the antics of Dyson Parody, scattered his darts all over the board, leaving Chizzy to sweep up. Despite improving in the latter stages, it was clear the Stoke native was not on top form and will need to improve in the next round.

Alternatively, Chisnall looked at home on the Frankfurt stage. Confident doubling and the usually heavy scoring all coming together for the world number five. With Michael van Gerwen suffering from a foot injury and Scotland already on their way home it could be yet another World Cup of Darts title for England.

In the first match of the evening the experienced pairing of Larry Butler and Darin Young destroyed the relatively youthful Italian pair.

Despite a wobbly start with some inconsistent scoring in the early stages, the USA would pick up their game to proceed with a deserved 5-1 victory.

Butler, who has represented his home country on five occasions, put the win beyond Italy with a sensational 121 checkout on the bull.

The well oiled team of John Norman Jnr and former World Champion John Part shoved the Hungarian’s aside in their pursuit of World Cup glory in Frankfurt.

While the exuberant Norman produced the steady scoring, Part was there to pick up the pieces. Canada had taken a commanding 3-0 lead before Hungary got their first leg on the board.

Following one more Darth Maple checkout, an excellent 83 from Zoltan Mester. The 5-2 victory would be rounded off by the ever green Part, his double 8, taking them into round two.

The fusion of youth an experience proved too much for team China as the Austrian’s performed a demolition job on their opponents.

The result of the contest was never in doubt as Mensur Suljovic showed with some excellent finishing. The fresh faced Rowby-John Rodriguez should also not be underestimated.

His power scoring has been a key factor in previous years, and with top seeds Scotland falling yesterday evening, there could be an opening to be exploited for some of the lesser fancied nations.

South Africa put their name in the hat for round two as ‘Dancing’ Devon Peterson took control to carry a sloppy Deon Oliver through a slow paced encounter.

The formentioned Oliver had split double three with a chance to close out the contest, only for Daniel Larsson to swoop on 110.

Seasoned campaigner Magnus Caris nerly took the match to a deciding leg, narrowly missing a 160 checkout. Peterson would then swoop in and take out a huge 81 on double 12.

World Cup of Darts debutants Brazil moved into round two after a dramatic 5-4 win over fellow first-timmers Switzerland.

Diogo Portela, winner of Sky Darts gameshow One Hundred and Eighty, was the marquee name on the Frankfurt stage, although it was Alexandre Sattin who would hit the crucial double.

There were tears at the final whistle as Sattin landed double top on a 72 combination as Brazil progressed to the round of 16.

USA 5-1 Italy

Canada 5-2 Hungary

Austria 5-0 China

South Africa 5-3 Sweden

Brazil 5-4 Switzerland

Germany 5-4 Northern Ireland

England 5-2 Gibraltar

Netherlands 5-1 Czech Republic

2017 World Cup of Darts Day 1 report.

2017 Betway World Cup of Darts – Day One report – Singapore shock top seeds Scotland

2017 World Cup of Darts Day 1 report.
2017 World Cup of Darts Day 1 report: Paul and Harith Lim caused one of the biggest shocks in World Cup of Darts history.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig / PDC

Lim rolls back years to stun Scots

All but one of the match favourites, according to the bookies, went through on Day 1, but the one upset of the night was arguably the biggest shock in World Cup of Darts history.

Singapore, led by 63-year-old Paul Lim – who famously threw the first-ever World Championship 9-darter way back in 1990 – tore top seeds Scotland apart 5-2 to reach the second round.

PDC worlds number two Gary Anderson and three and Peter Wright, runners-up in 2015, never got going, unlike Lim, who fired in 180s and took out a ton finish to wrap up the match.

Scotland’s early exit smashed the top side of the draw wide open, as remaining seeds Australia, Wales and Belgium all have higher hopes now of reaching their second final.

Read on below for Sam Barnard‘s 2017 World Cup of Darts Day 1 report in further depth…

Check out our World Cup of Darts nation profiles here.

Darting minnows Greece and Thailand kicked off the tournament, and it was a nail-biting encounter for both.

PDC world number 67 John Michael and his European team were slow to start, as they slipped 3-1 behind and it could have been 4-1, but they eventually picked up the pace to rattle off the next four legs to win the match.

Michael’s finishing was the difference, but a special mention goes to Thanawat Gaweenuntawong, who hit a fantastic five 140s.

It’s Greece’s first time in the second round in their second appearance, while Thailand are still winless in four World Cups.

The first 180 of the 2017 tournament was hit by Royden Lam, who helped Hong Kong to a thrilling run to the quarter-final in 2015, but it was Russia who went through on this occasion.

It was also the first time they’ve reached the second round since all the way back in the inaugural 2010 World Cup.

The confident Boris Koltsov lead the way with some fine finishing, which included a 110 checkout to break early, and he was very ably assisted by unorthodox thrower Aleksandr Oreshkin, who hit a number of big scores.

In yet another close encounter, but much higher-averaging affair, the Republic of Ireland edged out Poland to reach the second stage for the sixth time in seven appearances – though they’ve never gone further.

William O’Connor has played in all of them, but it was the older Mick McGowan who produced the goods with some top scoring in particular.

Poland boasted in-form Krzysztof Ratajski and Tytus Kanik, who hit a fabulous 144 checkout, and at one stage it looked as though they would be going through being a break up when 3-2 ahead.

Spain looked down and out in their match with Japan too, and were very below their usual standards, but eventually ground out a win much to their relief – more than joy it seemed.

Japan’s ever-present World Cup player Haruki Muramatsu showed his class throughout, and debutant Yuki Yamada, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself, played very consistently too – even hitting a maximum.

But Muramatsu crucially missed three darts to set up a deciding set, and 2010 semi-finalists Spain go through to the second round, after narrowly going out to eventual champions England last year, despite out-averaging them.

The first seeded team of the night Belgium took to the oche next in Frankfurt, Germany, and made relatively light work of New Zealand, who now face a huge trip back home.

It was a nervy start by both nations, but Kim Huybrechts produced the performance of the night up to this point to guide his side to the second round for the sixth year in succession.

Half-brother Ronny took a longer to get going, but eventually found his aim to round off the match, while Kiwi pair Cody Harris and Rob Szabo’s performances diminished.

While the previous match started in shaky fashion, it was the end of the Australia v Denmark battle that became very nervy.

An off-key and apparently injured (wrist) Simon Whitlock had to be carried by Kyle Anderson for much of the match, and the latter ultimately hit the winning double in a deciding leg to see them beat the Scandinavian nation for the second year running.

Danish veteran Per Laursen looked as though he’d lead his team into the second round at one stage, but missed a dart on double 16 to do so.

Many expected top seeds Scotland to win this year’s World Cup of Darts, but veteran Paul Lim had other ideas as he opened with a 180 and finished the first leg against throw by hitting double 10.

Singapore broke Anderson and Wright twice more, including the final leg, with the elder Lim taking out a fine 100 finish to win 5-2 and send shockwaves throughout the rest of the field.

Wales were nearly victims of that after-effect, and survived two match darts against Finland to scrape through to the last 16.

Former BDO world champion Mark Webster may have been the more experienced player of the British team, who at one stage had seven perfect darts on the board, but he has much to thank 2017 UK Open runner-up Gerwyn Price for.

Price really kept Wales in the match with great scoring, though it was Webster that finally kept his cool at the end to hit double 5 with his last dart in hand.

Results

Thailand 3-5 Greece
Hong Kong 3-5 Russia
Republic of Ireland 5-3 Poland
Japan 3-5 Spain
Belgium 5-2 New Zealand
Australia 6-5 Denmark
Scotland 2-5 Singapore
Wales 5-4 Finland

Top half second round fixtures

Afternoon session – Saturday (2pm local time, 1pm BST)
Belgium v Greece
Wales v Republic of Ireland
Australia v Russia
Singapore v Spain

2017 World Cup of Darts preview.

2017 Betway World Cup of Darts – Tournament Preview

2017 World Cup of Darts preview.
2017 World Cup of Darts preview: This year’s edition promises to be yet another thrilling show of global darts!
Photo: Lawrence Lustig / PDC

2017 World Cup of Darts preview

Darts World produce a 2017 World Cup of Darts preview, with this year seeing 32 nations across six continents take part for the first time from June 1-4 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Find out more about each country in our in-depth country profiles article.

England are the defending champions, and have won four of the previous six editions, but will be without Phil Taylor this year.

Dave Chisnall is his replacement, and the 180 specialist will team up with Adrian Lewis in the hope of helping his nation to a third straight title.

England take on fellow British territory Gibraltar, who have 2016 Gibraltar Darts Trophy quarter-finalist Dyson Parody, as well as Dylan Duo, who returns to the set-up after missing out the last two years.

Meanwhile, Scotland are the top seeds for the first time, thanks to boasting worlds number two and three Gary Anderson and Peter Wright respectively.

The pair reached the final in 2015, and have a great chance of doing at least the same again, after avoiding England and the Netherlands in the top half of the draw.

Scotland take on Singapore first, with the Asian nation able to call upon the first man to ever hit a World Championship nine-darter in Paul Lim for the fourth year in succession.

But tournament sponsors betway have made the Netherlands slight favourites to win back their first title (and third in total) since 2014. That’s despite them being third seeds.

In world number one Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld, they are the only pairing in this year’s event both to have won a World Cup.

The Dutch take on the Czech Republic first, in a relatively straight forward tie as they are still yet to win a match in this event in three attempts.

Test your darting knowledge by naming all 40 nations to have taken part in the World Cup.

Elsewhere, the other three former finalist nations Wales, Australia and Belgium have all been drawn in the same top half.

In-form Gerwyn Price joins former 2008 BDO world champion Mark Webster in Wales’ team for the second straight year, and they kick off their campaign against Finland.

They could face Australia as early as the quarter-finals, and the Aussies should have no troubles getting to that stage for the fourth year in succession.

Ever-present World Cup star Simon Whitlock, who reached the final in 2012 with Paul Nicholson, partners Kyle Anderson again, and they’ll be confident in beating Denmark for the second straight year.

Belgium, meanwhile, have never gone out earlier than the quarters since Kim Huybrechts joined the team in 2012, and with his half-brother Ronny they were shock finalists in 2013. They take on New Zealand up first.

Sixth seeds Northern Ireland face host nation Germany in perhaps the match of the first round, and it really could be a fiery and nervy occasion for both teams.

The Germans, who have 20-year-old duo Max Hopp and Martin Schindler in their side this year, will be desperate to go through after losing in the first round last year.

But the British nation boast in-form Daryl Gurney and the experienced Brendan Dolan, who got all the way to the semis last time.

Another intriguing opening stage battle sees two debutants drawn against each other, Brazil and Switzerland.

The South Americans are the first ever nation from their continent to take part in the PDC World Cup of Darts, while the Swiss only made it after fellow Europeans Latvia pulled out just before the deadline.

Brazil have PDC player Diogo Portela, who made his European Tour debut this year, to turn to and are slight favourites for this clash.

Austria are the other seeded country we’ve yet to mention, and with Mensur Suljovic in their team, anything is possible. They face China first.

Other nations to look out for, who have done well in the World Cup in the past, include a John Part-led Canada, Spain, South Africa, USA and Hong Kong, who are against respective teams Hungary, Japan, Sweden, Italy and Russia.

Thailand v Greece and Republic of Ireland v Poland are the final two fixtures of our 2017 World Cup of Darts preview, which on paper look very close.

Draw & schedule

Thursday, June 1 (8pm local time, 7pm BST)

First round

Thailand v Greece
Hong Kong v Russia
Republic of Ireland v Poland
Japan v Spain
Belgium v New Zealand
Australia v Denmark
Scotland v Singapore
Wales v Finland

Friday, June 2 (8pm local time, 7pm BST)

First round

USA v Italy
Hungary v Canada
Austria v China
South Africa v Sweden
Brazil v Switzerland
Northern Ireland v Germany
England v Gibraltar
Netherlands v Czech Republic

Saturday, June 3

Second round

Afternoon session (2pm local time, 1pm BST)
Belgium/New Zealand v Thailand/Greece
Wales/Finland v Republic of Ireland/Poland
Australia/Denmark v Hong Kong/Russia
Scotland/Singapore v Japan/Spain

Evening session (8pm local time, 7pm BST)
Austria/China v Hungary/Canada
Northern Ireland/Germany v Brazil/Switzerland
England/Gibraltar v South Africa/Sweden
Netherlands/Czech Republic v USA/Italy

Sunday, June 4

Afternoon session (2pm local time, 1pm BST)
Quarter-finals

Evening session (8pm local time, 7pm BST)
Semi-finals
Final

First round draw & tournament bracket

(1) Scotland v Singapore
Japan v Spain
(8) Belgium v New Zealand
Thailand v Greece
(5) Australia v Denmark
Hong Kong v Russia
(4) Wales v Finland
Republic of Ireland v Poland

(2) England v Gibraltar
South Africa v Sweden
(7) Austria v China
Hungary v Canada
(6) Northern Ireland v Germany
Brazil v Switzerland
(3) Netherlands v Czech Republic
USA v Italy

2017 World Cup of Darts nation profiles.

2017 Betway World Cup of Darts – Nation Profiles

2017 World Cup of Darts nation profiles.
Find out everything you need to know about each team in Darts World’s 2017 World Cup of Darts nation profiles.
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

2017 World Cup of Darts nation profiles

Darts World’s Sam Barnard provides 2017 World Cup of Darts nation profiles, which include in-depth facts, stats and everything you need to know about all 32 participating countries at this year’s tournament in Frankfurt, Germany.

The seventh edition of this now-annual event is the most global to date, with six continents being represented – only Antarctica misses out for obvious reasons.

England are the defending champions, though miss a notable key figure for the first time, while there are two countries making their debuts.

So, without further ado, read on for our 2017 World Cup of Darts nation profiles.

All odds below are with tournament sponsors betway.com, and are subject to change.

Australia (5th seeds)

2017 team: Simon Whitlock (7th appearance) and Kyle Anderson (2nd)

Past players: Paul Nicholson (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Runners-up (2012)

First 2017 opponents: Denmark (June 1, 21:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Denmark, Russia/Hong Kong, Wales, Scotland/Belgium, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 25/1 (4th favourites)

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As with 18 other nations, Australia have now taken part in every World Cup to date, and Whitlock has played in them all.

The Wizard helped lead the Aussies to the 2012 final, with then-teammate Nicholson, but is with the higher ranked Anderson for the second year running.

Australia got to the quarters in 2016, narrowly losing only to the Netherlands, and face Denmark first up this time around – a nation they defeated 2-1 in the second round last year.

Whitlock has been in great form in 2017 so far, and his team will be expected to at least reach the last eight again.

Austria (7th seeds)

2017 team: Mensur Suljovic (7th appearance) and Rowby-John Rodriguez (4th)

Past players: Maik Langendorf (2010, 2013), Dietmar Burger (2012)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Group stage/Quarter-finals (2010, 2016)

First 2017 opponents: China (June 2, 20:00 BST)

Potential run to final: China, Canada, England, Netherlands, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 40/1 (joint-7th favourites)

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Austria have arguably underperformed in the World Cup, having boasted current PDC top 10 star Suljovic in all six previous editions and young talent Rodriguez for the last three.

However, The Gentle has only recently come to prominence in the last year or so, and the nation did get to the quarters again in 2016 – after previously reaching the final eight (group stage) in 2010 too.

They should get to that stage again, if they beat China (who they defeated 5-2 in 2014) and then likely Canada, as expected.

Austria will then have to again contend with England, who they lost to last year in the quarters but are now without four-time World Cup winner Phil Taylor.

Belgium (8th seeds)

2017 team: Kim Huybrechts (6th appearance) and Ronny Huybrechts (5th)

Past players: Patrick Bulen (2010), Rocco Maes (2010), Kurt van de Rijck (2012)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Runners-up (2013)

First 2017 opponents: New Zealand (June 1, 19:00 BST)

Potential run to final: New Zealand, Greece, Scotland, Wales/Australia, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 33/1 (joint-5th favourites)

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Ever since half-brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts were shock 2013 finalists in their first World Cup together, Belgium have stuck with this pairing.

They’ve reached the quarters once and semis twice since, which is why their joint-5th favourites tag belies their eighth seeding.

Belgium kick off against potentially tricky opponents New Zealand this year, but should get through safely if 2017 Premier League player Kim is anywhere near to his best.

They are in line to set up a rematch of their quarter-final with Scotland last year, after they beat the British team 2-1 to reach the semis.

Brazil

2017 team: Diogo Portela (debut) and Alexandre Sattin (debut)

Past players: N/A

Past appearances: Debut

Best performance: N/A

First 2017 opponents: Switzerland (June 2, 21:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, England, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 1000/1

More info
Brazil are the first South American nation to take part in the World Cup of Darts, thanks to Portela, who is also the only arrowsmith from his continent to play on the PDC circuit and qualify for a European Tour event.

The 28-year-old has showed so much dedication to get where he is, ever since first appearing on UK TV screens a couple years ago on the gameshow One Hundred and Eighty – which of course he won, along with designated pro and former World Cup player James Wade.

This will no doubt be Portela’s best moment in darts to date, as he has the chance to show off his skills to an even bigger audience and help the sport in Brazil further develop.

He partners Alexandre Sattin, who is a steady and experienced doubles player and gained his place via qualifiers in Brazil.

Canada

2017 team: John Part (7th appearance) and John Norman Jr (debut)

Past players: Ken MacNeil (2010, 2012, 2015, 2016), Jeff Smith (2013), Shaun Narain (2014)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Group stage/Quarter-finals (2010, 2016)

First 2017 opponents: Hungary (June 2, 19:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Hungary, Austria, England, Netherlands, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 300/1

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Legendary three-time world champion Part is back on our TV screens for another World Cup, despite having effectively been in semi-retirement from the game the past couple of years.

Darth Maple partners dubutant Norman Jr this year, with the duo both gaining PDC Tour Cards via Q-School earlier in 2017.

Canada will be hoping to repeat their best effort of getting to the last eight in 2010 and 2016.

They are expected to get past Hungary, who they beat 5-3 at this stage in 2013, but will then likely tackle Austria.

China

2017 team: Weihong Li (debut) and Yuanjun Liu (2nd appearance)

Past players: Yin Deng (2014), Jun Cai (2014), Jun Chen (2015), Xuejie Huang (2015), Wenge Xie (2016)

Past appearances: 3 (2014, 2015, 2016)

Best performance: Second round (2016)

First 2017 opponents: Austria (June 2, 20:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Austria, Canada, England, Netherlands, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 1000/1

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China have shown steady progression in darts since first appearing in the World Cup in 2014, reaching the second round for the first time last year, and PDC chairman Barry Hearn has recognised that by adding Shanghai to the World Series of Darts in 2016 and 2017.

Liu was apart of that 2016 World Cup first round triumph over the Czech Republic, and he is now partnered with debutant Li.

It’ll be a tough ask for China to replicate their success last year, though, with Austria being their opening opponents.

Hearn and the PDC will be hoping that one day darts can be as big a hit in China as another of his projects snooker has, with the potential to boast hundreds of millions of viewers from the East Asian nation.

Czech Republic

2017 team: Karel Sedlacek (debut) and Frantisek Humpula (debut)

Past players: Martin Kapucian (2010*), Pavel Drtil (2010*, 2016), Michal Kocik (2015, 2016), Pavel Jirkal (2015)

Past appearances: 3 (2010, 2015, 2016)

Best performance: First round (2010, 2015, 2016)

First 2017 opponents: Netherlands (June 2, 22:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Netherlands, USA, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 1000/1

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Czech Republic are technically taking part in their third World Cup, as they had to withdraw from the first 2010 edition after travel issues (*but as they weren’t replaced the records say they were entered that year).

However, the Central European nation are yet to gain a win in this competition, losing in the first round the last two years to Austria and China.

Their best result was against the latter (5-3), but only a miracle will see them past two-time champions the Netherlands.

Czech Republic have gone for two debutants this time around, so perhaps they are hoping for beginner’s luck?

Denmark

2017 team: Per Laursen (7th appearance) and Alex Jensen (debut)

Past players: Vladimir Andersen (2010), Jann Hoffmann (2012, 2013), Dennis Lindskjold (2014), Per Skau (2015), Daniel Jensen (2016)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Second round (2012, 2016)

First 2017 opponents: Australia (June 1, 21:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Australia, Russia/Hong Kong, Wales, Scotland/Belgium, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 500/1

More info
Laursen is in an exclusive club of being only one of 13 players to have now taken part in all seven World Cups.

However, in that time, he and Denmark have only won twice – though could end that run if they manage to upset Australia in round 1 after losing to them 2-1 in the last 16 last year.

One of Russia or Hong Kong would be next, but it’s easier said than done, and it remains to be seen how Jansen will cope on his debut.

England (2nd seeds)

2017 team: Adrian Lewis (6th appearance) and Dave Chisnall (debut)

Past players: Phil Taylor (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), James Wade (2010)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Champions (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016)

First 2017 opponents: Gibraltar (June 2, 22:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Gibraltar, South Africa/Sweden, Austria, Netherlands, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 11/2 (3rd favourites)

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England have won the last two titles, and four of the six in total. However, they’ll be without 16-time world champion Taylor for the first time.

Chisnall is now higher in the PDC world rankings than the all-time great, so merits his place alongside Lewis, but how will he hope on his debut?

Chizzy has certainly been in good form this year, making a courageous run towards the end of the Premier League campaign and throwing a nine-darter in May.

England should have no troubles against against fellow British nation Gibraltar, but potential second round opponents South Africa have caused a few shocks over the years, and from then on it won’t be easy for them.

Finland

2017 team: Kim Viljanen (3rd appearance) and Marko Kantele (5th)

Past players: Jarkko Komula (2010, 2013, 2014), Petri Korte (2012), Jani Haavisto (2013, 2014)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Semi-finals (2013)

First 2017 opponents: Wales (June 1, 22:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Wales, Ireland/Poland, Australia, Scotland, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 200/1

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Finland have been ever-presents at the World Cup, and certainly showed their worth in 2013 by reaching the semis.

Their pair of Komula and Haavisto, who shocked the likes of the Netherlands, Belgium and hosts Germany that year won’t be in Frankfurt this time around, but in Viljanen and Kantele the nation certainly have experience.

They haven’t won together, however, and face a very difficult opening tie against title contenders Wales.

Kantele will be hoping to rely on his form, that has seen him qualify for two European Tour events this year so far.

Germany

2017 team: Max Hopp (3rd appearance) and Martin Schindler (debut)

Past players: Jyhan Artut (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), Andree Welge (2010, 2013, 2014), Bernd Roith (2012)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Quarter-finals (2013, 2015)

First 2017 opponents: Northern Ireland (June 2, 21:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Northern Ireland, Brazil/Switzerland, Netherlands, England, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 100/1

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Artut misses out this year for the first time since in World Cup of Darts history, as Germany have gone with 20-year-old Schindler to partner Hopp (of the same age).

Being the youngest pairing by far this year, they’ll have to show experience beyond their years if they are to defeat sixth seeds Northern Ireland.

But backed by a passionate home crowd, this is perhaps the tie of the opening round, so expect it to be a cracker.

If the Germans can cause a first round shock, it’ll certainly be good for the tournament and fans, and they have the potential to face rivals the Netherlands and England in the quarters and semis, which could produce fireworks.

Gibraltar

2017 team: Dyson Parody (7th appearance) and Dylan Duo (5th appearance)

Past players: Manuel Vilerio (2015, 2016)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Second round (2015)

First 2017 opponents: England (June 2, 22:00)

Potential run to final: England, South Africa/Sweden, Austria, Netherlands, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 1000/1

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Parody has flown the flag for Gibraltar since the tournament’s inception in 2010, but is now back with partner Duo after the latter’s two years absence.

The oversees British territory, by far the smallest 2017 World Cup nation in terms of population (with around 30k), managed to claim their first win during that time over Italy in 2015.

Passionate Parody certainly lit up the stage that year, but will have to unearth the quality that saw him reach the 2016 Gibraltar Trophy quarters and nearly knock out Michael van Gerwen along the way, if his team are to have any chance of beating England.

Gibraltar will certainly have to try and ruffle a few feathers to unsettle the new partnership of Lewis and Chisnall.

Greece

2017 team: John Michael (2nd appearance) and Ioannis Selachoglou (2nd)

Past players: N/A

Past appearances: 1 (2016)

Best performance: First round (2016)

First 2017 opponents: Thailand (June 1, 19:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Thailand, Belgium, Scotland, Australia/Wales, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 300/1

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Greece are taking part in only their second World Cup of Darts, but have PDC world number 67 (at the time of writing) Michael to help them to their first victory.

The Cypriot-born 43-year-old has been a fan favourite at the PDC World Championship the last three years, thanks to his enjoyable walk-on (dance) to Zorba the Greek, and is partnered again with Selachoglou.

Greece have a slightly more favourable first round fixture this year, after losing to Canada in 2016, as they take on Thailand.

They are slight favourites to beat them in the opening match of the 2017 World Cup.

Hong Kong

2017 team: Royden Lam (4th appearance) and Kai Fan Leung (debut)

Past players: Scott MacKenzie (2014, 2015, 2016)

Past appearances: 3 (2014, 2015, 2016)

Best performance: Quarter-finals (2015)

First 2017 opponents: Russia (June 1, 19:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Russia, Australia, Wales, Scotland, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 500/1

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Hong Kong are another Asian nation that have shown much promise in recent years, and they even reached the quarters in 2015 after brilliantly shocking seeded British Isles duo Wales and Republic of Ireland.

They were edged out by the latter 5-4 in a rematch last year, but will back themselves to topple Russia this time around.

The bespectacled Lam takes part in his fourth straight World Cup, but will be without usual partner MacKenzie, who is replaced by debutant Leung.

Hungary

2017 team: Zoltan Mester (debut) and Janos Vegso (debut)

Past players: Nandor Bezzeg (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), Kristian Kaufmann (2012), Zsolt Meszaros (2013, 2014), Gabor Takacs (2015), Patrik Kovacs (2016)

Past appearances: 5 (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

Best performance: Second round (2015, 2016)

First 2017 opponents: Canada (June 2, 19:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Canada, Austria, England, Netherlands, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 1000/1

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Despite having no established names, Bezzeg and Kovacs led Hungary to first round victories the last two years – over Sweden and then Thailand.

However, debutants Mester and Vegso will represent them in 2017, with the duo having impressed in European Tour Eastern European qualifiers this year.

They are tasked with reaching the second round for the third year in succession, and have an outside chance against Canada, who they lost to 5-3 in 2012.

Hungary’s prize for beating the North Americans would likely be a meeting with neighbouring nation Austria.

Republic of Ireland

2017 team: Mick McGowan (4th appearance) and William O’Connor (7th)

Past players: Connie Finnan (2013, 2014, 2015)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Second round (2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016)

First 2017 opponents: Poland (June 1, 20:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Poland, Wales, Australia, Scotland, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 150/1

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A number of arrowsmiths have hailed from Ireland over the years, but it might be a surprise to know that they’ve never got past the second round at the PDC World Cup of Darts.

They’ve reached that stage five times, however – only being winless in 2014.

Their first round meeting with Poland is a repeat of when they thrashed them 5-0 in 2015, but the Polish have improved a lot since and were without key man Krzysztof Ratajski that year.

McGowan and O’Connor have played together in this tournament three times, but this clash could go right down to the wire.

Italy

2017 team: Daniele Petri (5th appearance) and Gabriel Rollo (debut)

Past players: Matteo Dal Monte (2013), Marco Brentegani (2014, 2015), Michel Furlani (2016)

Past appearances: 4 (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

Best performance: First round/Group stage (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

First 2017 opponents: USA (June 2, 19:00 BST)

Potential run to final: USA, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 1000/1

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Italy are still winless in this tournament after four attempts, and Petri has played in them all.

He is partnered with debutant Rollo this time around, after three others before him have failed to inspire their nation to a maiden win.

Even if they manage to beat the USA, they would most likely have to take on darting giants the Netherlands in the second round.

The Italians gave a decent try of it in 2014, though, when they managed to take two legs off Van Gerwen and Van Barneveld.

Japan

2017 team: Haruki Muramatsu (7th appearance) and Yuki Yamada (debut)

Past players: Taro Yachi (2010), Morihiro Hashimoto (2012, 2014, 2015), Sho Katsumi (2013), Keita Ono (2016)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Quarter-finals (2013)

First 2017 opponents: Spain (June 1, 20:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Spain, Scotland, Belgium, Australia/Wales, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 500/1

More info
This will certainly be an emotional World Cup for Japan, as Hashimoto – a three-time participant – sadly passed away earlier this year aged just 40.

The former Japan Masters star, who twice played in the PDC Worlds main draw, will always be remembered for his charismatic displays.

Japan face a tough opening first task this year against a rapidly rising Spain, who they lost to 6-3 at this stage in 2010.

Muramatsu was present that day, and has ever since for the Asian nation. He’s back to partner debutant Yamada.

Netherlands (3rd seeds)

2017 team: Michael van Gerwen (5th appearance) and Raymond van Barneveld (7th)

Past players: Co Stompe (2010), Vincent van der Voort (2012)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Champions (2010, 2014)

First 2017 opponents: Czech Republic (June 2, 22:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Czech Republic, USA, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 5/4 (favourites)

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Onto the nation hoping to win back the World Cup trophy, after losing 2016’s final and going out in the semis the year before.

World number one Van Gerwen and two-time champion of this event Barney team up for the fifth straight year, despite Jelle Klaasen being ranked above the latter.

Van Barneveld’s lower ranking makes the Dutch third seeds, but it does not stop the bookies making them slight tournament favourites.

It was Mighty Mike that ultimately let them down last year, losing out to Lewis in a decider for the title, which will make him all the more determined.

The Netherlands open up against Czech Republic, which should be no trouble for them and a nice start to the tournament to help settle any nerves.

New Zealand

2017 team: Cody Harris (2nd appearance) and Rob Szabo (3rd)

Past players: Phillip Hazel (2010, 2013), Warren Parry (2010, 2015, 2016), Warren French (2012), Preston Ridd (2012), Craig Caldwell (2013, 2014)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Second round (2010, 2015)

First 2017 opponents: Belgium (June 1, 21:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Belgium, Greece, Scotland, Australia/Wales, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 250/1

More info
New Zealand will be hoping to rely on emerging talent Harris, who makes his second World Cup appearance, and he’ll be partnered by the experienced Szabo this time.

Harris has been winning tournaments left, right and centre Down Under, and will hope to convert that form onto the oche in Frankfurt.

Szabo missed out on a place last year, but has played twice before, helping the Kiwis to a tight first round victory over Canada in 2015.

It’ll be a big shock if New Zealand beat Belgium, who always do well in this event, though. A winnable second round tie is on the cards if they somehow do.

Northern Ireland (6th seeds)

2017 team: Daryl Gurney (2nd appearance) and Brendan Dolan (7th)

Past players: John MaGowan (2010), Michael Mansell (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Semi-finals (2016)

First 2017 opponents: Germany (June 2, 21:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Germany, Brazil/Switzerland, Netherlands, England, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 40/1 (joint-7th favourites)

More info
Northern Ireland are genuine dark horses for the title, as in-form Gurney and the first ever player to throw a double-start 9-darter Dolan are both capable of conjuring up magic.

They can certainly aim to match their feat of reaching the semis last year, though first have to see off Germany in front of a partisan home crowd.

The sixth seeds also have a potentially tricky run from the quarter-finals, with the Netherlands, England and then Scotland all possible opponents in a row.

Poland

2017 team: Krzysztof Ratajski (4th appearance) and Tytus Kanik (2nd appearance)

Past players: Krzysztof Kciuk (2010, 2013), Krzysztof Chmielewski (2014), Krzysztof Strozyk (2014), Mariusz Paul (2015, 2016)

Past appearances: 5 (2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

Best performance: Second round (2013, 2014)

First 2017 opponents: Ireland (June 1, 20:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Ireland, Wales, Australia, Scotland, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 500/1

More info
What is it about Polish darts players with the forename Krzysztof? A total of four have represented them at the World Cup of Darts.

Ratajski is the most famous of them all and was part of the team that reached the second round in 2013.

The 40-year-old has gained a lot of experience this year, after dominating his regional qualifiers to take part in all 2017 European Tour events to date.

Ratajski partners Kanik, one of only two Polish players in World Cup history not called Krzysztof, this year for the first time.

Poland will hope to do a lot better than when they lost 5-0 to upcoming opponents Republic of Ireland in 2015.

Russia

2017 team: Boris Koltsov (3rd appearance) and Aleksandr Oreshkin (2nd)

Past players: Anastasia Dobromyslova (2010), Roman Konchikov (2010), Evgenii Zhukov (2014), Evgenii Izotov (2014), Aleksei Kadochnikov (2015)

Past appearances: 4 (2010, 2014, 2015, 2016)

Best performance: Second round (2010)

First 2017 opponents: Hong Kong (June 1, 19:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Hong Kong, Australia, Wales, Scotland, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 500/1

More info
Female player Dobromyslova has been the face of Russian darts for many years, and even took part in the 2010 World Cup when they beat Gibraltar.

Russia haven’t won a match since Dobromyslova’s only appearance, despite having now used seven players throughout the years.

Current pairing Koltsov and the eccentric Oreshkin are the only duo to have taken part in this event multiple times, and play together for the second year in succession.

It’s fair to say Russia have been very unlucky, however, as they were drawn against the Netherlands, Australia and Australia the last three years.

They finally have a winnable tie this time around, but still shouldn’t underestimate Hong Kong.

Scotland (1st seeds)

2017 team: Gary Anderson (6th appearance) and Peter Wright (4th)

Past players: Robert Thornton (2010, 2013, 2014, 2016)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Runners-up (2015)

First 2017 opponents: Singapore (June 1, 22:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Singapore, Spain, Belgium, Australia/Wales, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 6/4 (2nd favourites)

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Scotland are top seeds for a very good reason, that Anderson and Wright are numbers two and three respectively in the PDC rankings.

Between them, they’ll be making their 10th World Cup appearance in total, but this will only be the third time they’ve been paired together.

They are known not to be the best of friends, but they’re both highly professional and driven so will be sure to put disagreements to one side as they chase a maiden triumph in this tournament.

Anderson and Wright teamed up when Scotland were runners-up in 2015, and have both arguably gone up a level or two since – particularly Snakebite, who is perhaps the form player of 2017.

Singapore are their first opponents, as they were when they beat them 5-1 in 2015 on the way to reaching the final.

Singapore

2017 team: Paul Lim (4th appearance) and Harith Lim (4th)

Past players: N/A

Past appearances: 3 (2014, 2015, 2016)

Best performance: Second round (2014, 2016)

First 2017 opponents: Scotland (June 1, 22:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Scotland, Spain, Belgium, Australia/Wales, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 1000/1

More info
Singapore are taking part in their fourth World Cup, and have always been represented by Paul and Harith Lim (not related).

The former will always have a place in darting folklore, having thrown the first-ever World Championship nine-darter way back in 1990.

He may now be 63 years old, but still has the ability to trouble the best in the world – as he did when he rattled Van Gerwen in last year’s Shanghai Masters.

Singapore have reached the second round twice from their three appearances, when they upset the Republic of Ireland (in 2014) and South Africa (2016).

Their only opening round defeat was to Scotland, 5-1, but they face them first again.

South Africa

2017 team: Devon Petersen (6th appearance) and Deon Oliver (debut)

Past players: Shawn Hogan (2012, 2013), Charl Pietersen (2013), Graham Filby (2014, 2015, 2016)

Past appearances: 5 (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)

Best performance: Quarter-finals (2012, 2014)

First 2017 opponents: Sweden (June 2, 20:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Sweden, England, Austria, Netherlands, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 500/1

More info
South Africa nearly always make an impression at the World Cup, and have even twice reached the quarters against the odds.

That is mainly down to their star player Petersen, though he did also miscount in 2012 against Wales which ultimately cost them a place in the semis.

The only African nation to have taken part in this event lost in the opening round for the first time last year, losing 5-1 to Singapore, but Petersen and dubutant Oliver will hope to get back to winning ways when they take on Sweden.

Will they regret picking talented youngster Warrick Scheffer, who was unable to take part in South Africa’s qualifiers to partner Petersen, though?

Spain

2017 team: Cristo Reyes (3rd appearance) and Antonio Alcinas (7th)

Past players: Carlos Rodriguez (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Semi-finals (2010)

First 2017 opponents: Japan (June 1, 20:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Japan, Scotland, Belgium, Australia/Wales, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 100/1

More info
While Alcinas has taken part in all six of Spain’s previous World Cup campaigns and helped them to the semis in 2010, Reyes is well and truly the star of the team.

The Canary Islands native is only playing in his third tournament, but has established himself as a top player on the PDC circuit.

Spain put in decent showings the last two years with this current pair, and should have enough quality to knock out Japan.

They likely face a second round battle with top seeds Scotland, who they’ve surprisingly beaten both times they’ve met in the World Cup (in 2010 and 2013). Gary Anderson was present on those occasions too.

Sweden

2017 team: Magnus Caris (7th appearance) and Daniel Larsson (3rd)

Past players: Par Riihonen (2010, 2013), Dennis Nilsson (2012), Peter Sajwani (2014)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Second round (2010, 2012, 2014)

First 2017 opponents: South Africa (June 2, 20:30 BST)

Potential run to final: South Africa, England, Austria, Netherlands, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 500/1

More info
Veteran Caris has been in the game longer than most, and is still going strong, having recently reached the 2017 Gibraltar Trophy quarters.

The 48-year-old has played in every World Cup to date, and partners Larsson for the third straight year.

They are still without a win together, though, having suffered disappointing defeats to Hungary and fellow Scandinavians Denmark.

Caris will hope his recent resurgence in the game can inspire to his fourth World Cup first round win.

Switzerland

2017 team: Patrick Rey (debut) and Philipp Ruckstuhl (debut)

Past players: N/A

Past appearances: Debut

Best performance: N/A

First 2017 opponents: Brazil (June 2, 21:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Brazil, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, England, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 1000/1

More info
Switzerland were only handed their World Cup debut this year after Latvia pulled out at the last minute, and they’ll hope to seize their opportunity with both hands.

They face fellow first timers Brazil, but go into the clash as slight outsiders.

Their best-known player Thomas Junghans was originally named in their two-man team, but the 2015 BDO World Masters semi-finalist was later replaced by Rey.

It could be a low-scoring, but tense first round affair with Brazil.

Thailand

2017 team: Thanawat Gaweenuntawong (4th appearance) and Attapol Eupakaree (3rd)

Past players: Watanyu Charoonroj (2014)

Past appearances: 3 (2014, 2015, 2016)

Best performance: First round (2014, 2015, 2016)

First 2017 opponents: Greece (June 1, 19:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Greece, Belgium, Scotland, Australia/Wales, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 1000/1

More info
Thailand and Gaweenuntawong are playing in their fourth World Cup, with Eupakaree his partner for the third successive year.

The nation are still winless, but have faced England and Northern Ireland in tough first round battles.

They have a decent chance against Greece this year, but are still rated the outsiders.

USA

2017 team: Darin Young (7th appearance) and Larry Butler (5th)

Past players: Bill Davis (2010), Gary Mawson (2012)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Group stage/quarter-finals (2010, 2012)

First 2017 opponents: Italy (June 2, 19:00 BST)

Potential run to final: Italy, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland

Betway tournament odds: 500/1

More info
Butler is another blast from the past to take part in this year’s World Cup, as he’ll be forever known as the first person to win the World Matchplay (back in 1994).

The Eagle knows his teammate Young very well, having played in this competition together a total of four times – as well as in many other events back in their homeland.

However, Young was partnered with others for the USA’s best runs to date in this tournament (in 2010 and 2012) in reaching the last eight.

They should certainly have no troubles against Italy, but won’t be looking forward to a probable second round duel with the Netherlands, who they lost to 5-2 in 2015.

Wales (4th seeds)

2017 team: Gerwyn Price (2nd appearance) and Mark Webster (7th)

Past players: Barrie Bates (2010), Richie Burnett (2012, 2013, 2014), Jamie Lewis (2015)

Past appearances: 6 (all)

Best performance: Runners-up (2010)

First 2017 opponents: Finland (June 1, 22:30 BST)

Potential run to final: Finland, Ireland/Poland, Australia, Scotland, England/Netherlands

Betway tournament odds: 33/1 (joint-5th favourites)
The final team of our 2017 World Cup of Darts nation profiles is Wales, who like Northern Ireland have a side capable of causing an upset.

Also like their fellow British country, they have a good blend of hungry and in-form talent (Price) and someone with great big stage experience (2008 BDO world champion and 2010 World Cup finalist Webster).

The duo didn’t quite hit it off as well as Gurney and Dolan last year, as they lost out to Canada in the second round, but 2017 UK Open runner-up Price in particular has improved a great amount.

Wales have a favourable-looking first couple of rounds this year compared to others, and certainly have a great chance of beating Australia and reaching the semis, if either get that far.

PDC World Cup of Darts quiz

QUIZ: Name all 40 PDC World Cup of Darts nations from 2010-2017!

PDC World Cup of Darts quiz
Can you name all 40 of the PDC World Cup of Darts countries?
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

PDC World Cup of Darts countries quiz

With the PDC World Cup of Darts taking place from June 1–4 this year, get warmed up for the event in Frankfurt by taking our dedicated quiz.

Simply name all 40 countries that have taken part in the tournament since its inception in 2010 up until the upcoming 2017 version, which sees two new nations take part.

So, test out your darting knowledge by trying out our PDC World Cup of Darts countries quiz, which is powered by Sporcle and conjured up by Sam Barnard for Darts World.

You have just 5 minutes to guess all 40 of them, including the two new additions remember!

Are you ready then? To start, click the ‘play’ button below to start the quiz, and enter your answers in the box provided:


How did you do? Let us know your score out of 40 on our Twitter and Facebook pages to compare how you did against others!

Without giving too much away for our PDC World Cup of Darts countries quiz, here is a bit of background about the competition.

Starting in 2010, as a result of a dispute with the BDO, the tournament hosted 24 nations – with two players on each team – who all gathered to the northeast of England in early December.

There was no event in 2011, but it has taken place from 2012 every year since.

Germany have been the hosts in those six following years, including in 2017, with Hamburg and Frankfurt being the cities.

In total, there have been only been two champion nations, but four other finalists.

This year, there will be 32 countries in total to battle it out for the title, with the total prize money being upped to £300k from £250k. The champions will take away £60,000.

So, without further ado, see how you do in our PDC World Cup of Darts countries quiz!

For more quizzes too, check out our dedicated page.