Belgium, England and Netherlands all into World Cup of Darts second round
Hosts Germany also impress but it is the defending champions who fire ominous early warning
By Paul Prenderville
Last Updated: 02/06/18 8:36am
After day one had seen Scotland underline their status as top seeds and Austria became the first high-profile team to be sent packing - the tungsten titans of the tournament had things all their own way on Friday night.
England and the Netherlands have split the seven previous editions of the event and both booked their place in the second round with victories over Czech Republic and Gibraltar on day two at Eissporthalle.
Northern Ireland and Belgium were the two other seeded teams in action and booked a place in the last 16 after both fought back from 4-2 down in their matches.
Hosts Germany were also in action and delighted the Frankfurt crowd with a thrilling 5-3 win over Sweden in a high-quality contest.
2018 World Cup of Darts - Day Two Results
|Northern Ireland (6)||5-4||Poland|
|Belgium (7)||5-4||Republic of Ireland|
|England (2)||5-3||Czech Republic|
Scotland lay down World Cup marker
Anderson and Wright star as Japan stun Austria; Wales and Australia also through
Defending champions Netherlands are chasing a record-equalling fourth World Cup title to draw level with England and they needed just 10 minutes to inflict a 5-0 hammering on Gibraltar.
Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld teamed up for the title last year and averaged 103 as they dished out the only whitewash of the first round in the final match on Friday night.
MVG set the tone early, a blistering a 160 finish to take the opener and they never looked back on their way to a second-round meeting with South Africa who had debutant, Liam O'Brien, to thank for a 5-3 victory over Hungary.
Playing alongside Devon Peterson, O'Brien looked at home from the moment he took out a brilliant 160 finish to level the contest to the moment he fired the winning darts.
Belgium and the Republic of Ireland played out an absolute thriller before the seeded Belgians eventually prevailed but they did things the hard way, rallying from 4-2 down to reach the second round courtesy of a 5-4 win.
They will face Finland, who put in a dominant display to see of Greece with the minimum of fuss - Marko Kantele taking out a brilliant 112 check-out to seal a 5-1 victory.
Kim Huybrechts was playing without brother Ronny for the first time since 2012 and debutant Dimitri Van den Bergh took a while to settle as Belgium were without a dart at a double until the fourth leg of the match
The Republic of Ireland roared out of the traps to lead 3-0 and after Van den Bergh missed a couple of darts to settle the nerves, Steve Lennon missed the chance for a 4-0 lead.
Huybrechts took the chance to get the seventh seeds on the board before pulling to within one and then missing a dart at double top to level the contest.
O'Connor punished the mistake to put Ireland on the brink at 4-2 before World Youth champion Van den Bergh came alive with a brilliant 130 to keep the contest alive.
Belgium then levelled before the final-leg drama, O'Connor missing a dart at bullseye for a 170 that would have won the match before Huybrechts needed all three darts to find the winning arrow.
A new-look England, playing without either Phil Taylor or Adrian Lewis for the first time in the tournament's history, settled well to beat Czech Republic 5-3.
Dave Chisnall got England off to the perfect start, pinning double four for a break of throw in the opening leg. World champion Rob Cross got on the board in the second as the No 2 seeds made the ideal start.
Karel Sedlacek punished four missed darts at double from England in the third to get on the Czechs on the board before Cross re-established the two-leg lead.
Chisnall took England to the brink with a brilliant 134 to round off a high-quality fifth leg before the Czechs mounted a comeback to keep hopes alive.
Sedlecek cleaned up 52 before Roman Benecky conjured a 104 from nowhere to close within one but a classy England sealed the win thanks to Cross and double top.
Next up for England is Singapore, who reached the quarter-finals in 2017, as they recovered from losing the first two legs to beat New Zealand 5-3.
After a slow start, the veteran Paul Lim, 64, found his range and combined with namesake Harith to reel off a 12 and two 14-dart legs, turning a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 advantage
Cody Harris pinned double 10 to take the seventh leg after a struggling Warren Parry had missed three chances at double top but Paul Lim produced a clinical 68 to wrap up the match.
There was more drama in the penultimate match of the evening as Germany delighted the Frankfurt crowd with a fine performance to see off a game Swedish pair.
The German duo of Max Hopp and Martin Schindler reached the quarter-final last year and they showed their quality to win 5-3.
Sweden had kept their nose in front until Schindler went through the gears to take out a stunning 126 finish for a 4-3 lead and then followed up to pin tops to seal a second-round rematch with Northern Ireland, who they beat in the first round last year.
Northern Ireland hauled themselves back from the brink to beat Poland thanks to a stunning 101 finish from Daryl Gurney in the ninth-leg decider.
The Poles surged into a 2-0 lead, pinching the first leg despite trailing and dominating the second against the sixth seeds.
Gurney's double 16 gave Northern Ireland a 15-dart hold before Dolan missed the chance to level the match with three darts in hand and Krzysztof Ratajski pinned double eight for a 3-1 lead.
Gurney kept his team in it, cleaning up 82 to draw within one but Tytus Kanik maintained the Poles' two-leg advantage before the pairing crumbled.
Kanik missed a dart at bullseye for the match and was punished by Gurney's clinical 70. Dolan finally arrived at the party to hit double four and force the decider where Superchin's heroics sealed a 5-4 success.
Our live action from Frankfurt continues on Saturday with two sessions of second-round action - coverage is underway from 12.30pm and again at 6pm on Sky Sports Action
2018 World Cup of Darts - Second Round
|N Ireland (6)||v||Germany|
|Netherlands (3)||v||South Africa|
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