While Croatia and Serbia can boast recent triumphs in the team competition, Austria were celebrating a berth in the last eight for the first time in 17 years after Jurgen Melzer secured victory over Russia in Wiener Neustadt.
Serbia eased to a 4-1 win over Sweden.
Fourth seeded France overcame Canada 4-1 after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga seized an unassailable 3-1 lead when he beat Frank Dancevic 6-4 6-4 6-1 in the first of the reverse singles.
Gael Monfils completed the win with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Vasek Pospisil in the dead rubber.
Holders Spain, Argentina, the United States and the Czech Republic all established winning 3-0 leads on Saturday.
Melzer guaranteed Austria an away clash against Spain after finishing off an injury-hit Russia with an emphatic victory against Florida-based Davis Cup rookie Alex Bogomolov.
The Austrian number one needed less than two hours to win the first reverse singles 6-2 6-4 6-1.
"I think it was one-way traffic," Melzer told the Davis Cup website. "I just dominated him after the first three points when he hit three winners. It was close to the performances I had when I was top 10 and I'm really happy for the team we made it.
"Giving Austria the chance to play a quarter-final against Spain, that was our goal, that's what we've been working for so many years."
Spain, despite fieling a virtual B team, completed a 5-0 drubbing of Kazakhstan in Oviedo.
Serbia, winners of the title in 2010, face a quarter-final against the Czechs, after Janko Tipsarevic claimed the winning point against Sweden on Sunday with a 6-2 7-6 7-5 win over lowly-ranked Michael Ryderstedt.
Japan, back in the World Group for the first time in 26 years, trailed 2-1 overnight against Croatia but Nishikori levelled the tie with a straight-sets defeat of Ivan Dodig.
The towering Karlovic stood firm for Croatia, however, beating Soeda 7-6 6-1 6-4 to send his side through to a quarter-final in Argentina.
"I am really happy because we won and in the end that is the most important," Karlovic, who won all his three matches over the weekend, said. "I was playing well and my serves were really good and it was a really good week for me."
The U.S., who produced the performance of the weekend to beat a Swiss side including 16-times grand slam champion Roger Federer, will meet France.
The Americans completed a 5-0 whitewash over the Swiss.