The PDC World Cup of Darts makes its way into day two with underdogs hoping to follow Japan’s example.

Haruki Muramatsu and Seigo Asada stole the show in Frankfurt. The Japanese duo beat eighth seed Austria comfortably. Brazil thrashed Denmark, while Switzerland broke new ground with a win over China. Cristo Reyes and Antonio Alcinas of Spain won a nine-leg thriller against Russia. In more sedate ties, Scotland, Wales, Australia and Canada all won with ease. Now comes the second lot of first round fixtures, starring history’s only PDC World Cup of Darts winners.

New Zealand v Singapore and Greece v Finland

Before they turn up, the people’s champions of 2017 begin what they’ll hope will be a repeat performance. Paul Lim and Harith Lim did Singapore proud last time. After stunning Scotland and Spain, the Belgians ended their World Cup dreams. This time, New Zealand are first in the firing line. The second tie of the evening is certainly one of the undercards. Greece stalwart John Michael, now without a Tour Card, is joined by Veniamin Symeonidis. They take on Marko Kantele and Kim Viljanen of Finland, who have lost to Wales in both 2016 and 2017. They can’t meet Wales until the final this year – surely they wouldn’t mind a third crack at the Welsh.

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Northern Ireland v Poland and Hungary v South Africa

Daryl Gurney and Brendan Dolan make a powerful pair for Northern Ireland. Yet a year ago, they couldn’t overcome Germany in the first round. It’s another tough opening tie for them. Krzysztof Ratajski and Tytus Kanik are quite the banana skin, though Poland haven’t won a World Cup match since 2014. In the fourth match of the evening, ‘Cheeky’ Nandor Bezzeg and Tamas Alexits of Hungary meet the South African pair of Devon Petersen and Liam O’Brien, who makes his stage debut.

Crowd-pleasers: Belgium v Republic of Ireland

Human adrenaline valve Kim Huybrechts has a less familiar yet potentially calming partner this year. German Darts Masters finalist Dimitri van den Bergh replaces the elder Huybrechts, Ronny. Their first task is overcoming a talented Irish duo of Steve Lennon and World Cup ever-present William O’Connor.

England v Czech Republic

Next come the four-time champions. Last year’s final was the first not to feature England since the first one in 2010. Dave Chisnall has been handed the responsibility of returning England to the top, and he’s joined by world champion Rob Cross. Darts is coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming…

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Sweden v Germany

Not if the Czech Republic have anything to do with it. Karel Sedláček and Roman Benecky are battling the odds, but it’s been done before. England are merely the appetiser however; next comes the main course. First up is host nation Germany. Max Hopp and Martin Schindler rode the wave of overwhelming public support to reach last year’s quarter-finals. The PDC World Cup of Darts would arguably benefit from them doing it again. Sweden’s tough pairing of Dennis Nilsson and Daniel Larsson – possibly the toughest looking pair we’ve seen – will have other ideas.

Netherlands v Gibraltar

In the final tie of the first round, all eyes will be on Gibraltar. Dyson Parody is the ever-present, Justin Broton the next in a long line of partners, much like in a gritty crime drama. They take on a pair from the Netherlands who have scraped together seven world titles between them and are defending the trophy. Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld are the names, if you’re interested.

Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC


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
Play begins at 6pm, and is live on Sky Sports.

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Author: Ed McCosh