The BetVictor World Cup of Darts returns to Germany for one of the most anticipated tournaments of the year. Forty countries compete for one of the biggest honours in world darts: winning a TV tournament while representing their respective country.

On the opening day in Frankfurt, each of the 12 groups started proceedings with their first match-ups, which will continue on Friday.

Day 1 Results:

Sweden 4-0 Spain

Sweden kicked off the World Cup of Darts with a one-sided affair against Spain, averaging 98.56. Jeffrey de Graaf averaged a stunning 120.40, which made all the difference in sealing the whitewash win. Both players mustered an 80% checkout rate on the outer ring, which allowed them to settle nicely into the tournament.

Credit: Live Darts

Czech Republic 4-3 Bahrain

The Czech Republic closed out a hard-fought win over Bahrain in their opening-round clash despite averaging just under 12 points more than the Middle Eastern duo. Bahrain’s 100% double rate forced the matchup into a last-leg decider after multiple stints of missed doubles from the Czech pairing of Karel Sedlacek and Adam Gawlas.

France 4-1 Latvia

France produced a comfortable performance over Latvia as Thibault Tricole averaged 109 to ensure Latvia’s fate. Tricole threw a 93 checkout, and team-mate Jacques Labre threw a 95 outshot of his own on their path to success.

Croatia 4-0 Malaysia

Croatia dominated in their clash against Malaysia in what was a whitewash win for the European team, as the duo of Boris Krcmar and Romeo Grbavac restricted Malaysia to zero attempts on the outer segment. Both players had 50% success on the doubles and hit a maximum apiece in a well-measured victory.

Ireland 4-2 Lithuania

Despite Lithuania’s best attempts, their doubles were the deciding factor in this encounter. 2/12 on the doubles saw an opportunistic Ireland punish accordingly to round off the match as 4-2 winners. Keane Barry and Mindaugas Barauskas hit 2 180s each in a heavy-scoring match.

Poland 4-2 Norway

In a similar fashion to the game before, Poland held their nerve and punished Norway’s doubling to win by the same scoreline. Ratajski’s 90.40 individual average was by far the highest out of the four competitors, and hitting a 40% success rate on the doubles.

Portugal 4-2 USA

The USA team will kick themselves and see this match as a missed opportunity, as pairing Jules van Dongen and Danny Lauby averaged a disappointing 69. Portugal averaged 70 themselves but dug in deep at 2-2 to win the final two legs and seal the all-important points on the board. Former Grand Slam winner Jose de Sousa appeared a fraction of his former self, averaging 78.10.

Belgium 4-2 Singapore

Despite the animosity between the Belgian pairing of Kim Huybrechts and Dimitri van den Bergh, both delivered a good performance in a 4-2 win over Singapore. A collective team effort occurred on the all-important doubles, as they achieved a 57% success rate, with 100% thrown from van den Bergh and a high 120 checkout produced from Huybrechts. It shouldn’t be forgotten that 70-year-old Paul Lim hit a 151 checkout in the opening leg to open the match.

Northern Ireland 4-1 South Africa

South Africa opened the match to break the Northern Ireland throw before a collective average of 94.52 saw Brendan Dolan and Josh Rock dominate the following four legs in comfortable fashion. The four-leg winning streak saw South Africa restricted to one further double attempt due to the scoring power of their opponents.

Germany 4-3 New Zealand

Gabriel Clemens slotted in a miraculous 124 checkout to win in a last-leg decider to win over New Zealand as the home nation overcame a 3-2 deficit. Team-mate Martin Schindler averaged 99.3 himself, but Clemens’ 75% on doubles got the duo over the line. Haupai Puha averaged 85.10, and Ben Robb averaged 95.8 but lost it in the narrowest of margins.

Australia 4-3 Japan

Australia survive a late scare in their clash with Japan after recovering from 3-2 down to win in the final leg. The former World Cup winners struggled, especially Damon Heta, who ended the match with a subpar 68.5 average. Japan pulled up a strong fight in its bid to pull off an upset, and after missing four match darts, Whitlock rounded off the match with a checkout of 87.

Austria 4-0 China

The final match of the evening saw Austria seal a more than convincing whitewash win over China. The flamboyant pairing of Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez showed off their solid scoring power and hit 4/7 on the doubles to round off a successful win for the European team. Suljovic himself averaged 108 in what will be his final outing for team Austria at the World Cup.