China and Thailand will meet in the semi-finals of the 2019 Sudirman Cup after they defeated respective quarter-final opponents Denmark and South Korea on Thursday.
Denmark stood as the last non-Asian team left in the running to win one of badminton's most prestigious titles, but they were ousted 3-1 by the 10-time champions.
Thailand clinched their second win of the tournament in timely fashion and beat four-time winners South Korea 3-1 at Guangxi Sports Center in Nanning, China.
In the placement matches, Netherlands edged Germany in a 3-2 thriller to finish 15th, while Singapore were more ruthless in their 3-0 thrashing of Vietnam to take 17th place.
The United States failed to win a group match but beat Israel 3-1 to end the competition in 19th, and Macau got the better of Kazakhstan 3-2 to finish at the top of Group 4.
China 3-1 Denmark
Thailand 3-1 South Korea
(15th) Netherlands 3-2 Germany (16th)
(17th) Singapore 3-0 Vietnam (18th)
(19th) USA 3-1 Israel (20th)
Macau 3-2 Kazakhstan (Group 4)
Malaysia vs. Japan (11 a.m. local, 4 a.m. BST, 11 p.m. ET Wednesday)
Chinese Taipei vs. Indonesia (11 a.m. local, 4 a.m. BST, 11 p.m. ET Wednesday)
France vs. Canada (11 a.m. local, 4 a.m. BST, 11 p.m. ET Wednesday)
Ireland vs. Sri Lanka (11 a.m. local, 4 a.m. BST, 11 p.m. ET Wednesday)
New Zealand vs. Slovakia (6 p.m. local, 11 a.m. BST, 6 a.m. ET)
Australia vs. Switzerland (6 p.m. local, 11 a.m. BST, 6 a.m. ET)
Nepal vs. Lithuania (6 p.m. local, 11 a.m. BST, 6 a.m. ET)
Despite Sudirman Cup giants China grabbing much of the attention following their progress Thursday, Thailand's rather surprising upset of South Korea made for a rarer headline.
The Badminton World Federation shared highlights of their run to an underdog's result against major opposition:
South Korea won both of their Group 1C games against Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong, but Thailand proved more prepared. The mixed doubles team glanced a straight-sets victory before Kantaphon Wangcharoen beat Heo Kwang Hee 21-17, 21-17 to all but sew up the win.
Kim Wun ho and Min Hyuk Kang won the men's doubles to put South Korea on the board, but Ratchanok Intanon extinguished any hopes of a comeback by defeating Se Young An 21-15, 21-17.
Elsewhere, China continued their march toward the 2019 final as they look to make up for the near miss they suffered at South Korea's hands in the final two years ago.
The hosts encountered some bumps along the way but continued a seemingly irrepressible run, as illustrated by Badminton Talk:
Mathias Christensen and Sara Thygesen teamed up for Denmark in the mixed doubles and won the first set, only for Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong to storm back in style and win 19-21, 21-11, 21-13.
Viktor Axelsen is his country's biggest badminton figure for a reason and won Denmark's only match on the day:
China notched a relatively comfortable men's doubles win before Chen Yufei beat Mia Blichfeldt 21-16, 21-17 to settle the fixture, knocking the last remaining European team out of the running.
The semi-finals will be made up of only Asian countries for the third Sudirman Cup in succession—Malaysia and Japan will face off on Friday, while Chinese Taipei prepares to face Indonesia seeking a last-four spot.