Favourites England will face fourth seeds Australia and title-holders Egypt will take on third seeds France in the dream semi-finals of the WSF Men's World Team Squash Championship after all four nations comfortably overcame their opponents in today's quarter-finals in Paderborn, Germany.
The 23rd staging of the World Squash Federation event - the first senior world championship since the IOC announcement that Squash is on the shortlist for Olympic inclusion in 2020 - is taking place in Germany for the first time.
In the afternoon session, second seeds Egypt brushed aside USA, the No8 seeds, 3/0 on the new all-glass showcourt at the Ahorn-Sportpark. With world No2 Ramy Ashour rested, Egypt led with Karim Darwish as the world No3 despatched top-ranked American Julian Illingworth 11-4, 11-4, 11-2. Mohamed El Shorbagy and Hisham Mohamed Ashour completed the formalities to take Egypt into the last four for the ninth time since 1993.
France, runners-up in the previous championship in Denmark in 2009, earned their fifth successive semi-final berth after beating Malaysia 3/0. Gregory Gaultier was in determined mood as he overcame the fifth seeds' Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 before French veteran Thierry Lincou took out long-time rival Ong Beng Hee 12-10, 11-2, 11-7. Mathieu Castagnet needed only 18 minutes to wrap up the dead third rubber beating Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan 11-8, 11-2.
French national coach Andre Delhoste was pleased with his team's performance: "It was a tricky match - I think we probably had the hardest draw. But it helped us stay sharp, so it's been good for the guys. If they can keep this up, it'll be good for the rest of the tournament."
Lincou, the former world number one and world champion who has been a pillar of the French world championship team since 1999, was also delighted with his game: "I would say today was a big step forward in my return after my injury. Many times in the game, I surprised myself with the way I played, my shot selection and my tactical approach. It was good to really feel the game.
"I put all my energy into the team. It's good to be in the last four for the fifth time in a row," added the 35-year-old.
"Greg really showed the way - his determination is good for all of us - he's been on fire all week, and that's the Greg we love. It's been good teamwork."
Later in the day, top seeds England took out ninth seeds Italy - with Yorkshiremen Nick Matthew and James Willstrop, ranked one and four in the world, respectively, taking out the top two Italians Stephane Galifi and Davide Bianchetti in straight games. Team newcomer Daryl Selby failed to capitalise on match-balls in the best-of-three decider, going down 12-10, 3-11, 12-10 to Amr Ramsy Swelim.
But far away from England's glass-court action, former champions Australia saw off rising squash nation India, beating the sixth seeds 2/0.
David Palmer recovered from a game down to beat India's highest ranked player ever Saurav Ghosal 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 before Cameron Pilley beat Siddharth Suchde 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 to clinch victory.
"Saurav played a really good game and put David under pressure," explained Australian team manager Byron Davis. "But David fought hard to come back and win the match.
"To get that win was great - that put the pressure on them. Cameron then did what he needed to do and pulled us through. We're really glad to be in the semi-finals and look forward to playing England on the glass court."
Palmer was delighted to be back in winning form: "Saurav was very fast in the first game. I felt I had him under control but he was getting everything back. It was midway through the second that we had some long rallies and I think that did some damage. I had a good start in the third and from then I think I was in control.
"It was a good game of squash - and I think I played better than yesterday, which gave me a bit of confidence," added the veteran Aussie who delighted home fans earlier this month by making the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
"It's very obvious that England and Egypt have had the strongest teams recently - but with the same team that we have today, we beat Egypt four years ago in the semi-finals and beat England for third place in the last championship.
"We've met our criteria by getting to the semi-finals - and with the women winning the title last year it means we've secured our funding, which is very important.
"So we go into tomorrow with no pressure, England go in as favourites - but both Stewart and Cameron are capable of causing trouble on their day, and Nick and I have some close battles over the years.
"Playing for Australia is always an honour, and that never changes," continued Palmer. "Squash is a lonely sport much of the time - so playing team squash is very special, especially as we only do this every two years (unlike the Europeans who have their annual team event)."
Indian national coach Cyrus Poncha was pleased with his team's performance: "Overall, it's a good show by our boys. Obviously, on world rankings, the Australian team were higher than ours - but we gave a great fight.
"We've got a young team, with an average age of 22 - so when you look at the big teams Egypt, England, Australia and France, we should get the title in two years time!"
RESULTS: World Team Championship, Paderborn, Germany
 ENGLAND bt  ITALY 2/1
Nick Matthew bt Stephane Galifi 11-8, 11-8, 11-5 (44m)
James Willstrop bt Davide Bianchetti 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 (23m)
Daryl Selby lost to Amr Ramsy Swelim 10-12, 11-3, 10-12 (35m)
 AUSTRALIA bt  INDIA 2/0
David Palmer bt Saurav Ghosal 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 (51m)
Cameron Pilley bt Siddharth Suchde 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (50m)
Stewart Boswell v Harinder Pal Sandhu (Match withdrawn)
 FRANCE bt  MALAYSIA 3/0
Gregory Gaultier bt Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-4, 11-6, 11-4 (55m)
Thierry Lincou bt Ong Beng Hee 12-10, 11-2, 11-7 (47m)
Mathieu Castagnet bt Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan 11-8, 11-2 (18m)
 EGYPT bt  USA 3/0
Karim Darwish bt Julian Illingworth 11-4, 11-4, 11-2 (31m)
Mohamed El Shorbagy bt Christopher Gordon 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 (35m)
Hisham Mohamed Ashour bt Todd Harrity 8-11, 11-1, 11-7 (30m)
9th - 16th place play-offs:
[17/24] HONG KONG CHINA bt  MEXICO 2/1
Max Lee bt Cesar Salazar 11-2, 11-5, 11-3 (28m)
Dick Lau lost to Eric Galvez 12-14, 4-11, 11-3, 9-11 (55m)
Leo Au bt Erik Tepos Valtierra 11-3, 11-6, 13-11 (48m)
 NETHERLANDS bt [17/24] DENMARK 2/0
Laurens Jan Anjema bt Kristian Frost Olesen 11-4, 11-1, 11-5 (37m)
Dylan Bennett bt Rasmus Nielsen 11-8, 12-10, 2-11, 6-11, 11-6 (49m)
Piedro Schweertman v Morten W Sorensen (Match withdrawn)
 FINLAND bt  SOUTH AFRICA 2/1
Olli Tuominen bt Stephen Coppinger 3-11, 9-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-3 (53m)
Henrik Mustonen bt Shaun le Roux 11-9, 11-6, 11-7 (33m)
Matias Tuomi lost to Rodney Durbach 6-11, 14-12, 6-11 (36m)
 GERMANY bt  CANADA 2/1
Simon Rosner bt Shahier Razik 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 (38m)
Jens Schoor lost to Shawn Delierre 11-9, 12-14, 3-11, 9-11 (65m)
Andre Haschker bt Andrew McDougall 8-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-4 (68m)
17th - 24th place play-offs:
[17/24] SPAIN bt [17/24] SCOTLAND 2/0
Borja Golan bt Alan Clyne 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (37m)
Alejandro Garbi Caro bt Stuart Crawford 11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 13-11 (48m)
David Vidal v Chris Small (Match withdrawn)
[17/24] KUWAIT bt [17/24] ARGENTINA 2/1
Abdullah Al Muzayen bt Gonzalo Miranda 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (26m)
Ammar Al-Tamimi lost to Hernan D'Arcangelo 11-5, 6-11, 12-10, 6-11, 6-11 (62m)
Ali Bader Al-Ramzi bt Roberto Pezzota 11-5, 11-13, 11-6, 11-8 (57m)
[25/32] IRELAND bt  PAKISTAN 2/1
Arthur Gaskin bt Aamir Atlas Khan 11-8, 11-7, 11-3 (26m)
Derek Ryan bt Yasir Butt 11-4, 11-4, 11-4 (24m)
Steve Richardson lost to Waqar Mehboob 8-11, 7-11 (16m)
[17/24] SWITZERLAND bt  NEW ZEALAND 2/1
Nicolas Mueller bt Martin Knight 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 (27m)
Reiko Peter lost to Campbell Grayson 5-11, 7-11, 6-11 (35m)
John Williams bt Evan Williams 11-5, 11-6, 11-3 (31m)
25th - 32nd place play-offs:
[25/32] HUNGARY bt [25/32] BERMUDA 3/0
Mark Krajcsak bt Micah Franklin 11-6, 11-7, 11-1 (19m)
Marton Szaboky bt Robert Maycock 7-11, 11-7, 11-0, 12-14, 11-8 (52m)
Peter Hoffman bt Chris Stout 11-8, 11-6 (18m)
[25/32] AUSTRIA bt [25/32] UKRAINE 3/0
Aqeel Rehman bt Ruslan Sorochinskiy 11-7, 11-6, 11-6 (31m)
Leopold Czaska bt Kostiantyn Rybalchenko 11-3, 11-4, 11-2 (22m)
Jakob Dirnberger bt Valeriy Fedoruk 11-9, 6-11, 11-6 (25m)
[17/24] COLOMBIA bt [25/32] NAMIBIA 3/0
Andres Vargas bt Marco Becker 11-7, 11-8, 4-11, 11-7 (47m)
Javier Castilla Conde bt Norbert Dorgeloh 11-5, 11-3, 11-6 (27m)
Jairo Navarro bt Andrew Forrest 11-5, 8-11, 11-7 (33m)
[25/32] KOREA bt [25/32] SWEDEN 2/1
Nyeon-Ho Lee lost to Christian Drakenberg 3-11, 7-11, 7-11 (43m)
Seung Taek Lee bt Sebastian Victor 11-8, 17-15, 5-11, 16-14 (73m)
Seung-Jun Lee bt Joakim Larsson 11-8, 11-7, 11-2 (37m)
 ENGLAND v  AUSTRALIA
 EGYPT v  FRANCE
5th - 8th place play-offs:
 INDIA v  ITALY
 MALAYSIA v  USA
9th - 12th place play-offs:
 NETHERLANDS v [17/24] HONG KONG CHINA
 FINLAND v  GERMANY
13th - 16th place play-offs:
 MEXICO v [17/24] DENMARK
 CANADA v  SOUTH AFRICA
17th - 20th place play-offs:
[17/24] SPAIN v [17/24] KUWAIT
[17/24] SWITZERLAND v [25/32] IRELAND
21st - 24th place play-offs:
[17/24] SCOTLAND v [17/24] ARGENTINA
 PAKISTAN v  NEW ZEALAND
25th - 28th place play-offs:
[25/32] HUNGARY v [25/32] AUSTRIA
[17/24] COLOMBIA v [25/32] KOREA
29th - 32nd place play-offs:
[25/32] BERMUDA v [25/32] UKRAINE
[25/32] SWEDEN v [25/32] NAMIBIA
Official website: www.wmtc2011.com