South Korea on Monday played intentionally not to win against England in the opening round of the international men's badminton team championships Thomas Cup to avoid early clash with the sport's heavyweight China, its team manager said.
"Since the beginning, our strategy has been to face Denmark in the quarterfinal, then Indonesia in the semifinal and China in final," South Korea's team manager Kim Jong Soo said.
On Monday, Kim fielded a strange composition of players in the five-match meet with England, with single players ordered to play doubles and vice versa to eventually lose 1-4 at the Bung Karno Indoor Stadium in Jakarta.
Hong Ji Hoon, who has the lowest world rank among South Korea's four single players, was sent to the first match and lost 19-21, 21-18, 16-21 to England's top single player Andrew Smith.
Korea's best single players Park Sung Hwan and Lee Hyun Il formed a strange duo and lost the game against Christopher Langridge/Christopher Adcock by 16-21, 12-21.
Meanwhile, double players Lee Jae Jin and Hwang Ji Man played in men's singles, losing 11-21, 19-21 to Rajiv Ouseph and 11-21,18-21 to Nathan Rice respectively.
The last match of the tie was between Lee Yong Dae/Shon Seung Mo and Robert Adcock/Robin Middleton, in which the Koreans won 21-19, 21-15.
By losing to England, and then to Malaysia later in the day, South Korea would end at the bottom of the Group B, thus forcing them to get through the play-off against fellow low finisher in Group A, most likely minnow Canada.
"We will just relax when taking on Malaysia later," said Kim.
The winner of the play-off will face Group C leader, which most have predicted to be Europe's top team Denmark.
"We prefer to face Denmark in the quarterfinal because we are confident that we can beat them," said Kim.
If all goes as predicted, host Indonesia will be awaiting in the semifinal while reigning champion China is on the other route.