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The 10 best moments in World Cup of Darts history

World Cup of Darts: The 10 most memorable moments

Alex Moss |

The 10 best moments in World Cup of Darts history

The 2024 PDC World Cup of Darts is just around the corner, which means it’s time to look back at the tournament’s unforgettable matches. From huge upsets and surprise winners to sudden-death thrillers and dramatic finales, Darts Corner has taken a trip down memory lane to put together a list of our most memorable moments in World Cup history.

Spain shock England (2010)

Spain World Cup Darts

Spain’s unlikely victory against the top seeds England in the inaugural World Cup of Darts still ranks as one of the biggest shocks in the tournament’s history. England went into the first World Cup as the top seeds and firm favourites, with their team of Phil Taylor and James Wade ranked as world number one and two at the time.

But the pre-tournament favourites were knocked out in their first game by the Spanish pairing of Carlos Rodriguez and Toni Alcinas in the last 16. England looked on course for victory when Taylor took out 100 with a single 20 and two tops to give his team a 4-2 lead, but their opponents had other ideas.

Alcinas finished 83 on the bullseye and Rodriguez cleaned up 125 to get the match back on level terms, before Alcinas punished missed doubles from England to edge Spain in front. Taylor hit tops for a 13 darter to send the match into a deciding leg, but it was the underdogs who raced to the finish line with back-to-back 180s in an 11-dart leg to dump the number one seeds out of the tournament.

Netherlands win the first World Cup (2010)

Netherlands World Cup Darts 2010

The Netherlands wrote their names into the history books as the first winners of the World Cup in 2010. The Dutch duo of Raymond van Barneveld and Co Stompe won the inaugural World Cup, beating Wales 4-2 in the final, but their preparations for the tournament had been far from ideal.

A snowstorm in Europe that week caused havoc for players travelling into the UK, with the Dutch team facing their own challenges and only arriving at the venue an hour before their first game. Despite this, van Barneveld and Stompe went the whole weekend unbeaten to get their hands on the trophy.

Wins against Germany, Canada, Austria and Australia took the Dutchmen through to the semi-finals, where they whitewashed Spain 4-0. In the first World Cup final, the Netherlands took on the Welsh team of Mark Webster and Barrie Bates, who had squeezed past Australia in a sudden-death leg of pairs in the other semi-final. And in the deciding contest it was van Barneveld and Stompe who prevailed, winning the game of pairs 8-5 to reach the magic number of four points to win the final.

Sudden-death final thriller (2012)

England Australia World Cup Darts 2012

Few finals can match the drama that unfolded in the closing stages of the 2012 World Cup. England and Australia met in the final of the second World Cup and served up a clash that went all the way to a sudden-death leg, and saw all four players get a chance to throw at a double to win the match.

Having been stunned by Spain in the inaugural World Cup, England returned two years later with Taylor now joined by a new partner in back-to-back world champion Adrian Lewis. The pair were made to sweat in narrow wins against Canada and the United States, before cruising past Wales 5-1 in the semi-finals.

The final appeared to be another straightforward outing for England as they raced into a 3-0 lead, but the Aussies had other ideas. Paul Nicholson kept the tie alive with a victory against Lewis in the last singles, before him and Simon Whitlock got the better of Lewis and Taylor in the pairs to force a sudden-death leg of doubles to decide the winner. In a nail-biting finale, Nicholson, Taylor and Whitlock each missed two match darts and Lewis then pinned double five to secure England’s first World Cup success.

Finland stun the Netherlands (2013)

Finland Netherlands World Cup Darts 2013

The dream team of Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen paired up together at a World Cup for the first time in 2013 – but it was an occasion they would quickly want to forget. Entering as the second seeds, the Dutch duo made a confident start to the campaign with victories against Poland and Gibraltar to advance through the group stages.

But their bid for glory was ended in the last 16 by the unlikely Finnish pairing of Jani Haavisto and Jarkko Komula. Van Barneveld and van Gerwen took an early 2-0 lead, but would lose five of the next six legs to be knocked out of the tournament in surprising fashion.

Finland’s Haavisto and Komula won four of their five legs in 14 darts or less, posting a 96.00 average, and even threatened a nine-dart leg as they started the third leg with seven perfect darts. Given that van Barneveld and van Gerwen would go on to win three of the next four World Cups, their early exit to Finland in 2013 is remembered as one of the biggest upsets in the competition’s history.

All-star final goes to the wire (2016)

England Netherlands World Cup Darts 2016

The 2016 World Cup was the first time that two former champions were pitted against each other in the final, as the holders England faced 2014 winners the Netherlands. The English pairing of Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis had also tasted World Cup success in 2012 and 2013, but their bid for a third consecutive title was cut short in emphatic style by the Dutch team of Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen, who were 3-0 winners in the 2014 final.

The quartet of darting titans met again in the finale two years later and this time it went right down to the wire. Taylor got England off to the perfect start with a 102.94 average in beating van Gerwen 4-3 in the opening singles tie, before van Barneveld threw a 107.83 average to edge past Lewis 4-3 to level the final.

The tide had turned in the Dutchmen’s favour after they won the pairs leg 4-2, but Taylor kept England’s hopes alive with a 4-1 victory over van Barneveld in a contest which saw both players average 105. It went down to the last singles leg to decide the champions and Lewis prevailed 4-1 against van Gerwen to seal a fourth World Cup triumph for England.

Singapore upset Scotland (2017)

Singapore Scotland World Cup Darts 2017

Scotland went into the 2017 World Cup as the number one seed and with the Peter Wright and Gary Anderson partnership back in tandem. The duo had steered Scotland to their first World Cup final in 2015, but Wright skipped the tournament a year later leaving doubts as to whether the pair would ever team up again.

Those concerns would be answered the following year when Wright and Anderson both made themselves available for selection, and they went into their first World Cup back as a team as a strong contender to go all the way. Anderson had reached his third World Championship final on the spin at the start of 2017, whilst Wright had broken his major duck just a few months earlier at the UK Open.

However, the highly-fancied Scots would endure a nightmare night in Frankfurt as they were defeated by Singapore 5-2 in the first round. Paul Lim checked out 100 to win the tie for his country and pull off one of the biggest shocks in the competition’s history. Despite the defeat, Wright and Anderson would bounce back with a run to the final a year later, before going one better and winning their first World Cup in 2019.

Ireland’s run to the final (2019)

Ireland World Cup Darts 2019

Heading into the 2019 World Cup, the Republic of Ireland had been perennial underachievers in the competition. Deciding-leg defeats to Australia and Hong Kong had denied the Irish a place in the last eight in previous tournaments, and before 2019 they had yet to appear in the final day of a World Cup. That would soon be about to change.

After easing past Greece 5-1 in the first round, the Irish pairing of Steve Lennon and Willie O’Connor made their mark on the World Cup in a big way. Facing the top seeds England, Lennon edged past Michael Smith 4-3 before O’Connor posted an eye-watering 115.10 average to beat Rob Cross 4-1 and send the Irish into a first ever World Cup quarter-final.

The run would not stop there as Lennon and O’Connor whitewashed Austria 4-0 in a deciding pairs leg to progress to the last four, where they shone again in the doubles, beating the Dutch duo of Michael van Gerwen and Jermaine Wattimena 4-0 in the deciding contest. The trophy was in sight as Lennon averaged 98.93 in a 4-2 win against Gary Anderson in the first singles tie of the final, but Anderson and his Scottish partner Peter Wright rallied to win the next three ties to end Ireland’s dream run.

Henderson’s crowning moment (2021)

Scotland World Cup Darts 2021

You will struggle to find a more popular World Cup winner than John Henderson. ‘The Highlander’ was a late replacement in the Scotland team for Gary Anderson in 2021, teaming up with Peter Wright, and the pair went all the way on a memorable finals day in Jena.

The sixth seeds started the weekend with wins over China and Poland to advance to the quarter-finals, where the Scots would switch their ‘batting order’ as Henderson took on the role of the Scotland number one and played in the first singles tie instead of the more experienced Wright.

It was a move which would pay off as Wright avoided a singles contest with Michael van Gerwen when they faced the Netherlands in the last eight, and the Scots came through in a pairs decider. Henderson and Wright then saw off the challenge of defending champions Wales in the semi-finals, prevailing in another pairs thriller. In the final against the unlikely finalists Austria, the Scots dropped the first singles tie but then won the next three legs to seal the title – and a first PDC title of Henderson’s career.

Australia make history (2022)

Australia World Cup Darts 2022

The first 11 editions of the World Cup had been dominated by European nations, with the tournament’s roll of honour featuring the Netherlands, England, Scotland and Wales. In 2022, Australia made history as the first country outside of Europe to get their hands on the trophy.

Ten years on from their heart-breaking defeat to England in the 2012 final, which had seen Paul Nicholson and Simon Whitlock both miss championship darts, the Aussies beat Wales 3-1 in the final to join the exclusive list of World Cup winners.

Whitlock and Damon Heta were making waves from the opening round, going eight darts into a nine-dart leg and narrowly missing double 18 for an historic perfect leg. The pair averaged 109.31 in a pairs decider against Belgium in the quarter-finals, before getting past the top seeds England 2-0 to progress to a second World Cup final. Heta and Whitlock won their first singles ties to establish a 2-0 lead in the final, but Wales edged the pairs leg 4-3 to threaten a comeback. However, a 99.03 average helped Heta to a 4-2 win over Jonny Clayton in the next singles tie to wrap up the title for the Aussies.

Belgium’s thrilling run (2023)

Belgium World Cup Darts 2023

The 2023 World Cup saw the tournament undergo a major revamp as all the singles ties were scrapped and all matches would now be played as one game of pairs. It meant team chemistry was now more and important than ever, but Belgium looked to put a challenge against that theory.

Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts went into the competition on non-speaking terms, yet were able to put their differences to one side and make a serious tilt for a first World Cup title. The fifth seeds got past Finland and China to safely make it through to the knockout stages, where the new format came into its own with longer pairs matches.

Van den Bergh and Huybrechts squeezed past the Netherlands 8-7 in the last 16, before winning another dramatic decider against the holders Australia to move into the semi-finals. Belgium’s memorable run came to an end in the last four though, as Jonny Clayton clinically checked out 100 in a deciding leg to send Wales into the final, where they breezed past Scotland 10-2 to become World Cup champions for a second time.

Get World Cup of Darts ready!

Do you agree with our list or is yours different? Get in touch with us and let us know your favourite World Cup of Darts moments. You can tweet us your list on Twitter (X) or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

The next instalment of the World Cup is almost upon us and to get you ready for this year’s edition we’ve put together a World Cup of Darts Guide. Our comprehensive team-by-team guide will give you the lowdown on all 40 nations competing in Frankfurt this summer.

You can also shop our World Cup of Darts collection for the signature darts and accessories of some of the top stars who will be playing in this year’s tournament including Michael SmithGary AndersonDamon HetaJosh Rock and many more!

Pictures: PDC

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