ENGLAND will open their bid to win a third successive bwin World Cup of Darts title against debutants Thailand when the 32-team tournament kicks off in Hamburg next month.
The English duo of Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis have taken victory at the Alsterdorfer Sporthalle in Hamburg for the past two years, defeating Australia and Belgium in the respective finals.
They will open this year's event against one of the seven nations making their World Cup of Darts debut after being drawn against Thailand's Thanawat Gaweenuntawong and Watanyu Charoonroj in the first round.
Following the expansion of the tournament to 32 nations this year, the bwin World Cup of Darts will have a knockout format throughout, with number two seeds Netherlands - the 2010 winners - drawn against Italy as Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld face Marco Brantegani and Daniele Petri.
Scotland's Peter Wright and Robert Thornton, the number three seeds, have been drawn against Russia's Evgenii Zhukov and Evgenii Izotov in the first round, while fourth seeds Australia, represented once again by Simon Whitlock and Paul Nicholson, face a tough test against Danish duo Per Laursen and Dennis Lindskjold.
Former finalists Wales and Belgium both face nations making their World Cup debuts, in France and India respectively, while Singapore draw number eight seeds Ireland and Norway drew Hong Kong, who are also making their first World Cup appearance.
Northern Ireland face Malaysia, Austria take on China, last year's semi-finalists Finland meet Poland and Sweden meet Gibraltar, while the USA take on Hungary and Canada will open up against Japan.
Host nation Germany have drawn South Africa, while former semi-finalists Spain drew New Zealand.
The first round will be split across two sessions on Friday, with the second round being held across two sessions on Saturday, before Sunday sees the tournament conclude with the quarter-finals in the afternoon and the semi-finals and final in the evening session.
bwin World Cup of Darts
First Round Draw & Tournament Bracket
England (1) v Thailand
USA (16) v Hungary
Republic of Ireland (8) v Singapore
Germany (9) v South Africa
Wales (5) v France
Finland (12) v Poland
Australia (4) v Denmark
Hong Kong (13) v Norway
Netherlands (2) v Italy
Spain (15) v New Zealand
Belgium (7) v India
Austria (10) v China
Northern Ireland (6) v Malaysia
Canada (11) v Japan
Scotland (3) v Russia
Sweden (14) v Gibraltar