Betfair World Cup of Darts - Friday
ENGLAND's Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis made a superb start to the defence of their Betfair World Cup of Darts title with a whitewash of Japan on Friday night, as Australia and the Netherlands enjoyed strong opening wins in Hamburg.
Taylor and Lewis, who overcame Australians Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson in a sudden-death leg to win the 24-nation event 12 months ago, made easier work of their opening group game in this year's tournament.
Japan's Haruki Muramatsu and Sho Katsumi had defeated Austria 5-4 earlier in the day, but were no match for the world's top two as Taylor and Lewis romped to victory without dropping a leg.
The margin of victory ensures England's place in the knockout last 16, with Austria's Mensur Suljovic and Maik Langendorf needing to defeat Taylor and Lewis in Saturday afternoon's final group game if they are to knock out Japan and progress.
"It was a good way to start the event because we were very relaxed and we got a fantastic reception from the crowd, and we enjoyed it," said Taylor.
"The Japanese played very well but we're the defending champions and the other teams know they have to come out and beat us, so we can relax a little.
"Although we're through we'll still be taking it seriously on Saturday afternoon because the pressure's on Austria and we want to go into the knockout stage unbeaten and playing well."
Taylor added: "It's still a massive honour to represent England and it's extra special to play with Adrian because we've known each other for so many years and we enjoy playing alongside each other."
Last year's beaten finalists Australia also secured qualification for the knockout stages with a 5-1 victory over Croatian pair Robert Marijanovic and Tonci Restovic.
The Croatians had defeated New Zealand 5-3 earlier in the day, but will have to hope that the Kiwis lose to Australia in their trans-Tasman clash on Saturday afternoon if they are to reach the Last 16.
Whitlock and Nicholson hit an 11-dart finish during their impressive win, as they came from a leg down to take five in a row to seal their place in the Last 16.
"They came out firing and took the first leg but we came back well and it was a solid performance," said Whitlock. "It's great to be through because we can relax and enjoy the game with New Zealand - there's always a great rivalry between the countries in any sport.
"It's good to be back playing with Paul, though, and we believe we're a great team together. We thrive off each other and we know we can win this tournament if we play well."
The Republic of Ireland's William O'Connor and Connie Finnan ensure that they will be in the Last 16 with a superb 5-0 defeat of Denmark's Per Laursen and Jann Hoffmann, who had overcome South Africa's Charl Pietersen and Shawn Hogan earlier on Friday.
The South Africans had endured a disrupted preparation when Pietersen's luggage failed to arrive in Hamburg following their flight from Johannesburg, but they can still qualify for the Last 16 with a win over Ireland on Saturday.
Belgium - represented by brothers Kim and Ronny Huybrechts - were the day's other nation to seal a place in the knockout stage, as they whitewashed Hungary's Nandor Bezzeg and Meszaros Zsolt in the day's opening game to mean that they will progress despite losing 5-2 to Northern Ireland in the evening.
Northern Ireland's Brendan Dolan and Michael Mansell only need to win two legs in their final Group H game on Saturday afternoon against Hungary to progress.
The other four groups still have plenty to play for, with the Netherlands - the 2010 champions - opening their challenge for a second World Cup of Darts title with a 5-3 win over Poland.
Poland's Krzysztof Kciuk and Krzysztof Ratajski had punished missed doubles from Gibraltar with a 5-2 win earlier in the day and battled gamely against the Netherlands before Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen prevailed.
Scotland's Gary Anderson and Robert Thornton impressed in their 5-3 win over Canada in the day's best game, with the Scots setting up a potential nine-dart finish at one stage during a high-scoring contest.
Canadian pair John Part and Jeff Smith had edged out Sweden's Magnus Caris and Par Riihonen in their opener, but need the Scots to win Saturday's final Group C game if they are to progress.
Welsh pair Mark Webster and Richie Burnett, semi-finalists 12 months ago, put one foot into the second round with a 5-2 defeat of Spain's Antonio Alcinas and Carlos Rodriguez.
The Spanish duo had defeated Italian debutants Daniele Petri and Matteo Dal Monte 5-3 in their Group D opener, with the newcomers now playing Wales on Saturday afternoon knowing that a shock win could see them progress.
Germany and Finland took wins in Group F as the host nation took command in Group F with a 5-3 triumph in their clash between the countries in Friday's final fixture, with Andree Welge and Jyhan Artut starring in front of a capacity crowd in Hamburg.
Finland's Jarkko Komula and Jani Haavisto showed flashes of their quality in that contest and their earlier 5-4 win over the USA's Darin Young and Larry Butler, who now need to defeat Germany to progress to the Last 16.
Following Saturday afternoon's final Group Stage games, the top two nations from each group progress to the knockout Last 16, which will be held in Saturday's evening session at the Alsterdorfer Sporthalle in Hamburg.
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Betfair World Cup of Darts
Friday February 1
Belgium 5-0 Hungary (H)
Denmark 5-4 South Africa (B)
Spain 5-3 Italy (D)
Croatia 5-3 New Zealand (G)
Canada 5-4 Sweden (C)
Austria 4-5 Japan (A)
Gibraltar 2-5 Poland (E)
Finland 5-4 USA (F)
Best of nine legs of 501 Doubles
Northern Ireland 5-2 Belgium (H)
Republic of Ireland 5-0 Denmark (B)
Wales 5-2 Spain (D)
Australia 5-1 Croatia (G)
Scotland 5-3 Canada (C)
England 5-0 Japan (A)
Netherlands 5-3 Poland (E)
Germany 5-3 Finland (F)
Best of nine legs of 501 Doubles
Belgium v Hungary
Kim & Ronny Huybrechts v Nandor Bezzeg & Zsolt Meszaros
0-0 - Belgium win the bull and will throw first
1-0 - The Huybrechts brothers take the opening leg of the tournament.
2-0 - The Belgians leave 22 after 12 darts, and Kim Huybrechts lands double 11 with his third dart to ensure a break of throw.
3-0 - Kim misses three darts at double 16, but the pair have enough cushion for Ronny to return and hit the bed to give them a three-leg lead.
4-0 - Meszaros misses the bull for a 126 finish and Ronny Huybrechts lands double 16 to put the Belgians a leg away from the victory.
5-0 - Kim opens the leg with a 180, and Ronny completes a whitewash by posting double 16 once again - with the Belgians averaging 91 in an impressive opening.
|2||Breaks of Throw||0|
|5/10 - 50%||Finishing %||0/1 - 0%|
Denmark v South Africa
Per Laursen & Jann Hoffmann v Charl Pietersen & Shawn Hogan
0-0 - Denmark win the bull and will throw first
1-0 - Hoffmann lands double ten to give Denmark the opening leg.
1-1 - South African ace Pietersen - whose luggage had been lost on his flight to Hamburg - posts double four to level the game.
2-1 - South Africa are punished for missing chances in two visits to win the leg, and Laursen posts double 16 to edge the Danes back in front, after Hoffmann had missed three darts at the same bed.
3-1 - Further South African misses are punished as Hoffmann posts double two.
4-1 - Laursen lands double 16 to put Denmark a leg away from the win.
4-2 - South Africa survive one match dart as Hogan steps in to keep their hopes alive.
4-3 - Hoffmann misses darts at double 18 and nine, and Laursen then misses three darts at double two, only for Pietersen to miss two darts at double six. Hoffmann, though, misses double two and one, and Hogan lands double three to cut the gap to one leg.
4-4 - Hogan misses three darts to level the game, but Hoffmann is off-target on double top and ten as Denmark see two more match darts go begging, and Pietersen posts double ten to level the contest.
5-4 - Denmark are first to a finish, and Laursen lands double top - with their 13th dart for the match - to claim victory.
|1||Breaks of Throw||1|
|5/29 - 17%||Finishing %||4/25 - 16%|
Spain v Italy
Antonio Alcinas & Carlos Rodriguez v Daniele Petri & Matteo Dal Monte
0-0 - Italy win the bull and will throw first
0-1 - The Italian debutants make a confident start by winning the opening leg, with Daniele Petri landing tops.
1-1 - Carlos Rodriguez levels by landing tops.
1-2 - Antonio Alcinas lands a 180, Petri hits tops for the second time as he puts Italy back ahead.
2-2 - Italy miss their chance to break throw, and Alcinas lands double ten to level.
3-2 - Petri misses double 18, and Alcinas steps in to break throw and put Spain ahead.
4-2 - Rodriguez puts Spain a leg away from victory with a cool 113 finish, ending the combination on tops.
4-3 - The Italians hit back, with Petri posting a 180 and Matteo Dal Monte hitting double 12.
5-3 - Petri misses double 16 to level, and Rodriguez takes out 68 to give Spain the win.
|1||Breaks of Throw||0|
|5/10 - 50%||Finishing %||3/11 - 27%|
Croatia v New Zealand
Robert Marijanovic & Tonci Restovic v Phil Hazel & Craig Caldwell
0-0 - Croatia win the bullseye and will throw first.
1-0 - The Croatians make the early running, and although they miss a host of doubles eventually win the opening leg.
2-0 - Both New Zealanders miss darts to win the second leg, and Robert Marijanovic steps in to finish double three to break throw.
2-1 - Marijanovic lands a 180, but Tonci Restovic is unable to take out 74 and Craig Caldwell finishes double top to get the Kiwis off the mark.
2-2 - Caldwell posts double ten to level the game.
2-3 - Debutant Caldwell hits the winning double for the third successive leg, following up a 180 by finishing tops.
3-3 - Caldwell lands another 180, but misses double 15 to take out 150, allowing Restovic in to post double 18 to square the contest.
4-3 - Caldwell posts a third 180 of the game, but Hazel misses double eight to finish 76 and Restovic takes out tops to move the Croatians back ahead.
5-3 - Marijanovic misses double 12 for the game, but when Caldwell cannot find the bullseye Restovic steps in on double six for victory.
|3||Breaks of Throw||2|
|5/22 - 23%||Finishing %||3/14 - 0%|
Canada v Sweden
John Part & Jeff Smith v Magnus Caris & Par Riihonen
0-0 - Sweden winn the bullseye and will throw first.
1-0 - Magnus Caris lands a 180, but Par Riihonen is unable to land double 19 with three darts and Jeff Smith steps in to land double ten for the opening leg.
2-0 - Smith misses tops, but Part steps in to hit the same bed and double Canada's lead.
2-1 - Canada miss their chance to move clear, with Smith missing the bull to take out 161 and Part unable to clean up 25, allowing Riihonen to finish 73 on double four for Sweden's first leg.
2-2 - Caris finishes 78 on tops to level the game, with Canada waiting on 55.
2-3 - Sweden win a third successive leg to move ahead for the first time.
3-3 - Part finishes 70 to level for Canada.
3-4 - Caris takes out 76 to move Sweden a leg away from the win.
4-4 - Caris misses a dart at tops and Smith finishes double eight to force a decider.
5-4 - Canada open superbly, with Part scoring 121 and 140 and Smith hitting a 171 - but he misses double 16 to finish 69. Caris, though, is unable to set up a double when on 76, and Part returns to land double eight to edge the win.
|2||Breaks of Throw||1|
|5/14 - 36%||Finishing %||4/10 - 40%|
Austria v Japan
Mensur Suljovic & Maik Langendorf v Haruki Muramatsu & Sho Katsumi
0-0 - Austria win the bullseye and will throw first.
0-1 - Japan win the opening leg by landing their first attempt at a double.
0-2 - Haruki Muramatsu lands double eight as the Japanese double their lead comfortably.
1-2 - Mensur Suljovic lands a 180 and Maik Langendorf finishes 81 on tops to get Austria off the mark.
2-2 - Muramatsu opens with a 180, but Suljovic replies with a maximum and levels the game on double ten.
2-3 - Muramatsu and Langendorf miss doubles, and Katsumi finishes double eight to move Japan back ahead.
3-3 - Both Japanese players miss three darts at doubles, and Suljovic posts double eight to level.
4-3 - Suljovic takes out 86 on double seven to move Austria ahead.
4-4 - Muramatsu and Langendorf hit 180s, and the Japanese ace forces a deciding leg on double eight.
4-5 - Japan are first to a finish, and Muramatsu takes out 71 on tops to set up a clash with England on Friday night.
|2||Breaks of Throw||3|
|4/8 - 50%||Finishing %||5/21 - 24%|
Gibraltar v Poland
Dyson Parody & Dylan Duo v Krzysztof Kciuk & Krzysztof Ratajski
0-0 - Gibraltar win the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - Gibraltar make a superb start, with Dylan Duo kicking off the game with a 180 before Parody adds a 140 and then finishes double ten for a 12-darter.
1-1 - Poland level as Krzystof Ratajski lands double ten.
1-2 - Poland break throw to win the third leg and take the lead.
1-3 - Both teams miss doubles before Ratajski finishes double five.
1-4 - Kciuk lands a 180 and Ratajski lands double one to take the leg.
2-4 - Ratajski lands a 180, but misses his chance to seal the win on double eight and Duo posts double four to keep Gibraltar in the contest - after Parody had missed a single six to leave tops when on 106.
2-5 - Kciuk posts double four to seal victory for the Polish side.
|1||Breaks of Throw||3|
|2/20 - 10%||Finishing %||5/23 - 22%|
Finland v USA
Jarkko Komula & Jani Haaviso v Darin Young & Larry Butler
0-0 - Finland win the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - Darin Young punishes missed doubles from Finland by finishing 80 on double top.
1-1 - Jarkko Komula finds his range on the doubles with double six to level.
1-2 - Haavisto posts a 180, but Young again lands tops, this time for a 64 checkout, to move the USA back ahead.
1-3 - Finland are again punished, as former World Matchplay winner Larry Butler shows his class with a 115 checkout.
2-3 - Butler fires in a 180, but Komula lands double ten to hit back for Finland.
3-3 - Butler misses double 16 for a 108 finish, and Komula posts tops to level.
4-3 - America's double toubles continue, despite a 180 from Young earlier in the leg, and Haavisto posts double 16 to move Finland ahead for the first time.
4-4 - Butler posts tops to send the game into a deciding leg.
5-4 - Haavisto takes out 114 on tops to give Finland victory.
|2||Breaks of Throw||2|
|5/18 - 28%||Finishing %||4/14 - 29%|
Northern Ireland v Belgium
Brendan Dolan & Michael Mansell v Kim & Ronny Huybrechts
0-0 - Northern Ireland win the bull and will throw first
1-0 - Mansell hits a 180, and Dolan posts tops to give Northern Ireland the opening leg.
2-0 - Mansell takes advantage of a miscount from Ronny Huybrechts to double their lead.
2-1 - Kim Huybrechts opens with a 180, and the brothers win the leg they need to secure progression to the Last 16.
2-2 - Kim Huybrechts, the younger of the Belgian pair, finishes 136 to level the game.
3-2 - Missed doubles cost Belgium as Dolan steps in on double ten to put Northern Ireland back ahead.
4-2 - Dolan and Huybrechts trade 180s as Northern Ireland move to the brink of victory.
5-2 - Mansell misses two match darts, but Ronny Huybrechts is unable to take his chance to keep the game alive and Dolan finishes double five.
|2||Breaks of Throw||1|
|5/11 - 45%||Finishing %||2/9 - 22%|
Republic of Ireland v Denmark
William O'Connor & Connie Finnan v Per Laursen & Jann Hoffmann
0-0 - Republic of Ireland win the bull and throw first.
1-0 - The Irish side make a strong start to win the opening leg with their first dart at a double.
2-0 - Finnan finishes tops to continue their fine opening.
3-0 - Finnan hits double top again to win a third leg, as Ireland's flawless finishing contines.
4-0 - O'Connor hits double five to move Ireland a leg away from the win.
5-0 - Finnan finishes 73 to give Ireland victory without Denmark having a dart at a double - meaning that Ireland qualify for the Last 16.
|Rep of Ireland||5-0||Denmark|
|2||Breaks of Throw||0|
|5/9 - 56%||Finishing %||0/0 - 0%|
Wales v Spain
Mark Webster & Richie Burnett v Antonio Alcinas & Carlos Rodriguez
0-0 - Spain win the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - Wales initially miss five darts at doubles, but Antonio Alcinas misses the bull for a 124 checkout and Webster posts double five.
2-0 - Mark Webster hits a 180 to leave 20, and Richie Burnett finishes double ten to double Wales' lead.
2-1 - Carlos Rodriguez posts double ten to get Spain onto the scoreboard.
2-2 - Webster's misses allow Alcinas in to finish double five to level.
3-2 - Webster posts double ten to move Wales back ahead.
4-2 - Burnett hits a 174, and then lands double two to move Wales a leg away from the win.
5-2 - Rodriguez hits a 180 but is unable to finish three darts at double five to keep the game alive, and Burnett hits the same bed to seal Wales' win.
|3||Breaks of Throw||1|
|5/27 - 19%||Finishing %||2/11 - 18%|
Australia v Croatia
Simon Whitlock & Paul Nicholson v Robert Marijanovic & Tonci Restovic
0-0 - Croatia win the bull and will throw first
0-1 - The Croatians make a confident start, with Robert Marijanovic hitting a 180 and Tonci Restovic landing double eight to take the opening leg.
1-1 - Australia hit back with a brilliant 11-dart leg, with Nicholson hitting a 140 and 127 and Whitlock following a 180 with tops to take out 54.
2-1 - Nicholson finishes tops to put Australia ahead with a break of throw.
3-1 - Whitlock finishes 81 on double 16 to move Australia two legs clear.
4-1 - Whitlock completes a 60 finish on double top.
5-1 - Nicholson misses three darts for the match at double 16, but Whitlock returns to the oche to hit the bed and seal Australia's victory and a place in the Last 16, with the big victory sealing progression.
|2||Breaks of Throw||0|
|5/10 - 50%||Finishing %||1/3 - 33%|
Scotland v Canada
Gary Anderson & Robert Thornton v John Part & Jeff Smith
0-0 - Canada win the bull and will throw first.
1-0 - Jeff Smith misses double 18 and double nine, and Robert Thornton posts double 19 to put Scotland ahead.
2-0 - John Part opens with a 180 and both Scots hit 140s before the three-time World Champion hits his second maximum of the leg. Thornton then misses the bull for a 161 finish, but Smith misses the same bed for an 81 checkout and Gary Anderson posts tops to take the leg.
3-0 - Anderson posts tops again to move Scotland three legs clear.
4-0 - Both Anderson and Thornton open with maximums to set up a possible nine-darter, with Anderson unable to finish 141 but later returning - despite another Part 180 - to finish tops for a third time to push the Scotland side to the brink of victory with a 104 average.
4-1 - Part finishes 80 on tops to get Canada off the mark and keep their hopes alive in the game.
4-2 - Canada's revival continues, with Thornton missing double top and ten to secure victory as Smith replies on double 18 - ensuring that Scotland cannot qualify from this game to leave all to play for against Sweden.
4-3 - Double ten for Smith sees Canada win a third successive leg.
5-3 - Thornton finishes 60 on tops to seal victory for Scotland.
|2||Breaks of Throw||1|
|5/12 - 42%||Finishing %||3/7 - 43%|
England v Japan
Phil Taylor & Adrian Lewis v Haruki Muramatsu & Sho Katsumi
0-0 - Japan win the bull and will throw first
1-0 - Taylor opens the game with a 140, and after both Sho Katsumi and Haruki Muramatsu miss five darts to win the opening leg - and Adrian Lewis misses two darts at tops - the World Champion finishes double ten for England.
2-0 - Lewis misses the bull for a 126 finish, but Taylor posts double 16 to move England two legs up.
3-0 - Lewis posts a 180 and finishes double four to win the third leg.
4-0 - Taylor initially misses double 16 for a 143 finish, and after Lewis misses his chance to win the leg the World Champion returns to finish double four to move England to the brink of victory.
5-0 - Lewis hits a 180, and after both he and Taylor miss double eight for the win, the two-time World Champion finishes double eight to seal a whitewash to book England's Last 16 place.
|3||Breaks of Throw||0|
|5/20 - 25%||Finishing %||0/6 - 0%|
Netherlands v Poland
Raymond van Barneveld & Michael van Gerwen v Krzysztof Kciuk & Krzysztof Ratajski
0-0 - Netherlands win the bull and will throw first
1-0 - The Poles see a chance to lead slip away with a miss at double 16 for a 131 finish, and Raymond van Barneveld takes out 126 for the opening leg.
1-1 - Krzysztof Ratajski finishes double 16 to level for Poland.
2-1 - Michael van Gerwen hits double 12 to move the Netherlands ahead.
3-1 - The Dutch break throw for the first time to move two legs clear.
3-2 - van Barneveld misses two darts at tops and Krzysztof Kciuk hits the same bed to take out 60 and hit back.
4-2 - Tops for the Netherlands restores their two-leg cushion.
4-3 - van Barneveld lands a 180, but Ratajski finishes 121 on the bull to keep Poland in touch.
5-3 - van Barneveld posts a 180, and van Gerwen takes out 60 to seal the Netherlands' win.
|3||Breaks of Throw||2|
|5/7 - 71%||Finishing %||3/5 - 60%|
Germany v Finland
Jyhan Artut & Andree Welge v Jani Haavisto & Jarkko Komula
0-0 - Germany win the bull and will throw first.
0-1 - Jarkko Komula hits a 180 and finishes double 16 to win the opening leg for Finland.
1-1 - Andree Welge lands a 180 and Jyhan Artut posts double 16 to level for the home side.
1-2 - Double eight sees Finland edge back ahead.
2-2 - Jani Haavisto opens with a 180, but Komula misses the bull and Haavisto misses double eight with two darts and Artut posts tops to level.
3-2 - Welge lands another maximum before Artut takes out 121 with an outer-bull, treble 20, double 18 combination.
3-3 - Komula finishes 98 on double 12 to level the game again.
4-3 - Komula hits a 180, but both Finns miss doubles as Artut posts double five to push Germany to the brink of victory.
5-3 - Artut lands a 180 and finishes a tricky third-dart double 16 to seal the win.
|3||Breaks of Throw||2|
|5/9 - 56%||Finishing %||3/13 - 23%|