Dolan leads World glory bid
Northern Ireland begin their quest for World Cup success tonight - but Phil Taylor's England are the team to beat.
Brendan Dolan and Mickey Mansell team up for tonight's opening clash against Thailand as 32 nations bid to claim the title in the fifth annual pairs tournament at the Eissporthalle in Frankfurt.
The number six seeds should get off to a winning start.
Two-time champions England are represented for a fourth successive year in the £250,000 event by Taylor and Adrian Lewis, the pair last night hammering Denmark's Per Laursen and Per Skau 5-0 to set up a second round clash with Japan, 5-0 winners over China.
There were also wins for Spain, Austria, Gibraltar and Belgium.
The 2012 and 2013 champions were defeated in last year's final by the Netherlands, but are confident of reclaiming their title.
Sixteen-time world champion Taylor said: "It's a great honour for us to be representing our country and we love this event.
"We've done well in previous years but that counts for nothing this weekend and we've got to make sure that we play well because it's a short format and in doubles anything can happen."
Holders Netherlands will again be represented by world number one Michael van Gerwen and five-time world Champion Raymond van Barneveld, who was also one half of their 2010 World Cup-winning pairing.
The Dutch face the American pair of Darin Young and Larry Butler in the first round tonight, with Van Gerwen in top form after winning the Darts Masters and Dutch Darts Masters over the past fortnight.
"Winning the World Cup last year was very special and I can't wait for this event. I want to retain it," said Van Gerwen.
"This is a different type of pressure to other tournaments but I love it."
Tenth seeds the Republic of Ireland - represented by Connie Finnan and William O'Connor - are also in action tonight, taking on Poland.