'This has to be a joke': Team USA in 'ridiculous' drama at World Cup

France have caused the biggest upset of the basketball World Cup in China after beating holders the United States 89-79 to reach the semi-finals of the 32-nation tournament on Wednesday.

They will now meet Argentina on Friday for a berth in Sunday's final while 2006 champions Spain take on Australia.

BOOMERS SHINE: Aussies beat Czech Republic to make semi-finals

France carved out a 51-41 lead early in the third quarter but the Americans, who were last eliminated from the medal rounds in the 2002 tournament on home soil in Indianapolis, appeared to have turned the tide when they surged ahead 72-65.

The French forced the final twist in the closing stages thanks to effervescent performances by Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert, who finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds, and Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier who netted 22 points.

USA players look on in shock after their loss. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

The Americans had won 58 consecutive tournament games in FIBA and Olympic competition, starting with the bronze-medal game at the 2006 world championships and continuing through every FIBA Americas, World Cup and Olympics event since.

They were bidding to become the first nation to win three consecutive World Cups, after winning three straight Olympic golds in that span.

But the best the Americans can do now in China is finish fifth as they head home with a berth in the 2020 Olympics, but no medal.

"We came here to win gold," Gobert said. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy. A lot of people counted us out, but we got the win."

French players celebrate. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Gobert said beating the Americans wasn't the goal - winning gold is.

"It doesn't mean anything if you don't win in the end," he said.

Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points for the US, all of them coming in the first three quarters.

The Americans came up scoreless on six consecutive possessions down the stretch, the drought that allowed the French to take control of a back-and-forth game for the final time.

Basketball world in shock

Needless to say, the basketball world is in a state of shock.

Boomers surge into semi-finals

Australia took care of a gutsy Czech Republic 82-70 in a tense Shanghai quarter-final on Wednesday night, Patty Mills' 24 points again fuelling them in a sixth-straight Cup win.

It sets up a spicy rematch with Spain in Beijing on Friday, the Boomers' first World Cup semi-final appearance as they near a maiden major tournament medal.

The victor will play either Argentina or France in Sunday's gold medal game after both sides notched huge upset wins over Serbia and the United States respectively.

That 2016 loss in Rio still grinds the Boomers' playing group and coach Andrej Lemanis said there was no doubt it would be on their minds when they arrive in the Chinese capital on Thursday.

"I don't think it needs to be brought up and spoken about specifically, 'cause everyone's aware of it," he said.

"In many ways I think that hurt has driven just the passion and focus for this particular tournament and the commitment to it.

"And one of the first things I heard when I walked back into the locker room was 'job's not done yet'."