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Germany halt New Zealand in World Cup of Darts opener

Host nation Germany claimed a thrilling win over New Zealand in the opening session of the World Cup of Darts, as 2022 champions Australia narrowly avoided a huge upset.

The Group Stage of the 40-nation event saw the opening 12 ties take place on the opening night, with former finalists Belgium, Austria and the Republic of Ireland also in action.

Germany's Martin Schindler and Gabriel Clemens, though, stole the show on Thursday night in a thrilling Group C tie with New Zealand.

Ben Robb and Haupai Puha took out 104 on their way to a 3-2 lead as they threatened an upset against the seventh seeds, only for Germany to force a deciding leg in which Clemens landed a 180 before taking out 124 on the bull.

Australia's Group D opener with Japan also went to a deciding leg, as debutant Ryusei Azemoto missed four match darts across the game's final two legs.

A miss at the bull for a 4-2 win allowed Damon Heta to force a decider, and three further chances went begging before Whitlock took out 87 to snatch victory and begin Australia's challenge for a second title in three years.

Belgium's Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts defied checkouts of 151 and 110 from Singapore's 70-year-old veteran Paul Lim before the 2013 finalists took a 4-2 win in their Group A opener, finishing four doubles from seven attempts.

Josh Rock - a European Tour event winner recently - enjoyed a strong World Cup debut alongside Brendan Dolan as Northern Ireland averaged almost 95 in a 4-1 win over South Africa, who now face a crucial Group B clash with Switzerland on Friday afternoon.

Sweden produced an outstanding display in the tournament's opening fixture, as Jeffrey de Graaf and Oskar Lukasiak averaged 98.56 and hit four doubles from five attempts to whitewash Spain in Group K.

Croatia's Boris Krcmar and Romeo Grbavac were also in ruthless mood as they denied Malaysia a dart at a double in their Group I opener, averaging over 92 in the process.

Austria's Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez, who reached the 2021 final, made a confident start in Group F, whitewashing China with four doubles from seven attempts.

Portugal's Jose de Sousa and debutant David Gomes opened Group L with a win over America, with Jules van Dongen and Danny Lauby now facing a must-win tie with Italy to keep their hopes alive.

Poland opened Group G with a 4-2 defeat of Norway, with Republic of Ireland seeing off Lithuania by the same scoreline in Group E.

France - who were quarter-finalists for the first time last year - overcame Latvia 4-1 as Thibault Tricole and Jacques Labre averaged 95 and took out finishes of 93, 95 and 80 in Group J.

Czechia's Adam Gawlas and Karel Sedlacek edged out Bahrain 4-3 in their Group H opener, with Iceland awaiting the duo on Friday.

The losing nations from Thursday’s opening games will play the third team from each group in Friday's afternoon session, before the decisive final group games are played on Friday evening.

Following the conclusion of the round-robin phase, the draw for the last 16 will take place on Friday evening, as England, Wales, Netherlands and Scotland enter the fray in the second round stage.

The BetVictor World Cup of Darts will be broadcast on Sky Sports for viewers in the UK & Ireland, through the PDC's international broadcast partners, including DAZN and Viaplay, and on PDCTV for Rest of the World Subscribers.

2024 BetVictor World Cup of Darts

Thursday June 27 - results

Group Stage – First Matches x12

Sweden 4-0 Spain (K)
Czechia 4-3 Bahrain (H)
France 4-1 Latvia (J)
Croatia 4-0 Malaysia (I)
Republic of Ireland 4-2 Lithuania (E)
Poland 4-2 Norway (G)
Portugal 4-2 USA (L)
Belgium 4-2 Singapore (A)
Northern Ireland 4-1 South Africa (B)
Germany 4-3 New Zealand (C)
Australia 4-3 Japan (D)
Austria 4-0 China (F)

Friday June 28 - schedule

Afternoon Session (1200 local time, 1100 BST)

Group Stage – Second Matches x12
Loser First Match v Team 3
Spain v Gibraltar (K)
Bahrain v Iceland (H)
Latvia v Denmark (J)
Malaysia v Canada (I)
Lithuania v Chinese Taipei (E)
Norway v Hungary (G)
USA v Italy (L)
Singapore v Philippines (A)
South Africa v Switzerland (B)
New Zealand v Finland (C)
Japan v Hong Kong (D)
China v Guyana (F)

Evening Session (1900 local time, 1800 BST)

Group Stage – Final Matches x12

Winner First Match v Team 3
Sweden v Gibraltar (K)
Czechia v Iceland (H)
France v Denmark (J)
Croatia v Canada (I)
Republic of Ireland v Chinese Taipei (E)
Poland v Hungary (G)
Portugal v Italy (L)
Belgium v Philippines (A)
Northern Ireland v Switzerland (B)
Germany v Finland (C)
Australia v Hong Kong (D)
Austria v Guyana (F)

Best of seven legs, Doubles

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