The English duo of Judd Trump and Barry Hawkins held their nerve in a tense final frame decider as a break of 93 saw off Northern Ireland who were 3-0 behind in the opening stages of a thrilling quarter-final.
England maintain their unbeaten record
Following a dramatic group stage in Wuxi City, England against Northern Ireland looked to be the most compelling last eight tie between the only two sides yet to be defeated and the contest certainly did not disappoint. Trump and Hawkins raced into a 3-0 lead but missed numerous chances to put the game to bed.
Mark Allen and Joe Swail ground out frame after frame as they started to ensure their side of the scoreboard kept ticking over with narrow victories of 20, 18 and three points. Yet Trump and Hawkins finally took their chance in the seventh frame to thwart an almighty comeback.
Belgium depart with heads held high
Their semi-final opponents will be defending champions China B who boast the talented young duo of Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong. Yet they had to work hard against an unfancied Belgium pairing of Luca Brecel and amateur Jeff Jacobs.
Belgium took the opening frame and then went 2-1 ahead as both sides formulated competitive breaks. China were able to win successive frames to put themselves just one away from the last four, only to be forced into a final frame decider. Yet a break of 59 saw them over the line and within two victories of retaining their crown.
China vs China final in China remains a possibility
Their compatriots in the China A team compiled a more straightforward route in their quarter-final. Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo were in excellent form to cruise past Wales' Ryan Day and Mark Williams who had only lost one game previously and still hold the highest break of the tournament.
That 4-1 victory was matched by Thailand's Noppong Saengkham and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh as a 133 break was the main highlight in a memorable victory over fellow surprise qualifiers Iran.