Scotland and England overcame scares as the BetVictor World Cup of Darts began in Salzburg on Friday, but Wales and the Netherlands opened their challenges with impressive displays.
The annual 32-nation festival of darts opened at the Salzburgarena in entertaining fashion as 16 teams - including debutants Latvia and Portugal - booked their place in Saturday's second round. Michael Smith and Rob Cross were also pushed hard against Philippines as they began their bid to win England's fifth title with a 5-3 success.
Lourence Ilagan and Noel Malicdem hit back from 2-0 down to level their tie at three-all, but were unable to take out 92 in the seventh leg to lead, allowing England to capitalise to progress.
Pre-tournament favourites Wales made an outstanding start to their challenge to claim a first World Cup triumph by whitewashing Russia's Boris Koltsov and Aleksei Kadochnikov. Gerwyn Price landed three 180s in his first four visits as Wales moved 2-0 up with legs of 12 and 14 darts, with his partner Jonny Clayton finishing 130 along the way.
Four-times winners Netherlands also began the tournament in impressive fashion, with Michael van Gerwen and debutant Danny Noppert defeating Brazil's Diogo Portela and Bruno Rangel 5-1.
Another thrilling finale came in the night's final game as Latvia enjoyed a fairy-tale World Cup debut to survive two missed match darts from Hong Kong - just 24 hours after stepping in to replace China.
PDC Tour Card Holder Madars Razma was joined by St Helens-based Janis Mustafejevs in stepping in at the last minute, but their marathon journey to Salzburg was rewarded as they progressed to play Belgium.
After a scrappy third leg in which Russia missed six darts at doubles, the Welsh pair opened the fourth with 180s to tease a nine-darter, taking the leg in 11 darts before sealing victory in 15 darts.
The BetVictor World Cup of Darts will be televised on Sky Sports as well as through the PDC's international broadcast partners including RTL7 and DAZN, as well as for PDCTV'Rest of the World Subscribers' and on matchroom.live.
2020 BetVictor World Cup of Darts
Friday November 6th
Lithuania 5-3 Gibraltar
Portugal 5-0 Hungary
New Zealand 5-2 Denmark
Northern Ireland 2-5 Canada
Belgium 5-4 Czech Republic
Austria 5-2 USA
England 5-3 Philippines
Italy 4-5 Spain
Sweden 0-5 Greece
Japan 3-5 Scotland
Poland 5-0 South Africa
Republic of Ireland 2-5 Australia
Wales 5-0 Russia
Germany 5-0 Finland
Netherlands 5-1 Brazil
Hong Kong 4-5 Latvia
Saturday November 7th
Canada v New Zealand
Austria v Portugal
Belgium v Latvia
England v Lithuania
Australia v Poland
Wales v Scotland
Germany v Greece
Netherlands v Spain
Sunday November 8th
First Round: Best of nine legs 501 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, with both nations nominating 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, with both nations nominating the order in which their players play the first two matches, 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.
Prize Fund – per two-player team
Second Round Losers: £8,000
First Round Losers: £4,000
Competing Nations & Players
(Teams Eliminated taken off)
(1) England – Michael Smith & Rob Cross
(2) Wales – Gerwyn Price & Jonny Clayton
(3) Netherlands – Michael van Gerwen & Danny Noppert
(5) Belgium – Dimitri Van den Bergh & Kim Huybrechts
(6) Germany – Max Hopp & Gabriel Clemens
(8) Austria – Mensur Suljovic & Rowby-John Rodriguez
Australia – Simon Whitlock & Damon Heta
Canada – Jeff Smith & Matt Campbell
Greece – John Michael & Veniamin Symeonidis
Latvia - Madars Razma & Janis Mustafejevs
Lithuania – Darius Labanauskas & Mindaugas Barauskas
New Zealand – Cody Harris & Haupai Puha
Poland – Krzysztof Ratajski & Krzysztof Kciuk
Portugal – Jose De Sousa & Jose Marques
Scotland – John Henderson & Robert Thornton
Spain – Toni Alcinas & Jesus Noguera
The official PDC Hotel details will be sent directly to all players concerned.
Travel to the SALZBURG:
SalzburgArena, 5020 Salzburg, Austria