British duo Chris Adcock and Andy Ellis beat reigning Olympic champions Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia at the 2012 Thomas Cup finals in China.
However, Adcock and Ellis's 21-19 14-21 21-17 win was not enough to prevent defeat by Indonesia and elimination.
Chris Langridge and Nathan Robertson lost in the doubles and Carl Baxter and Ben Beckman lost their singles rubbers.
Head coach Kenneth Jonassen said: "We're not hiding from the fact we lost but we did our best and I'm proud."
Having lost their first match of badminton's men's team world championship 5-0 to China on day one, Team England needed to beat their other Group A opponents Indonesia to avoid an early exit in Wuhan.
However, they found themselves one down after the opening singles, English national champion Rajiv Ouseph beaten by world number nine Simon Santoso.
Ouseph, ranked 19 in the world, came from behind to lead 16-14 in the opener and was still ahead at 18-17 but was eventually beaten 21-19 21-9.
Adcock and Ellis, who are on the reserve list for the Olympics, levelled things but it was not enough.
Baxter was beaten 21-12 21-16 by 2004 Olympic champion and 2005 world champion Taufik Hidayat.
Robertson - collecting his 114th England cap - and Langridge were then beaten 19-21 21-12 21-19 by Mohammad Ahsan and Alvent Yulianto Chandra.
Beckman's 21-11 21-13 defeat to Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka ensured a 4-1 win for Indonesia.
Jonassen added: "We went into this match determined to ask Indonesia some tough questions. We were determined to make them play their very best to beat us and I think we did that."