Steve, first, in your proposal... there are four Asia/Oceania countries participating:
- Hong Kong
Your suggestion puts three of the four in one group. Perhaps you forgot Australia as Oceania? I can only guess there.
Now, when you look at the current world ranking, these countries participate, grouped in pairs:
6) Czech Republic
13) Hong Kong
15) South Africa
As the drawing is done in pairs, you would get one of each pair in a group. With Australia and Hong Kong sharing a pair, the group of India would be determined by the draw of Taiwan, assuming that the draw of the highest ranked country takes precedence. But, I think the pain is not there for the English people here. You want England to be seen as 'top 4'. Now I take as comparison the results of the World Championship 2011, the most recent world event that may be used to see current strength of national teams:
8) Czech Republic
14) Hong Kong
16) South Africa
There, 'dark horse' Catalunya does take fourth place, and so would make it arguably correct for them to be in the position they are now, in the group with just Netherlands as A-grade country. Also Portugal could have some complaints, looking at that ranking compared to the world ranking.
Now of course the world ranking is intended to look at the longer perspective, considering a number of parameters, like organisation and duration of IKF membership. This should both prevent countries from a temporary on-court setback, as well as prevent 'underachieving' by long term members. Something I doubt is interesting for most countries, as usually at least part of their financing depends on their championship results. I know it works that way at least in countries like Netherlands and Russia.
The pain when using the world ranking is in pairs 2 and 3. Both countries in pair 2 (Taiwan, England) are in group B and both of pair 3 (Catalunya, Czech Republic) in group A. Looking at the 2011 World Championships, you see this issue with pair 3 (England, Portugal) both in group B and pair 4 (Czech Republic, Germany) both in group A. When the world ranking would have been used purely and the draw had been top down, then or Taiwan or England would have been switched with Czech Republic or Catalunya. And, based on what happened with Taiwan, India may have switched as well to ensure the continental balance.
What to me is interesting, is the placing of Taiwan in the groups. They now have a direct opportunity to take on Belgium, without being worn down by a game against Netherlands. So the groups you suggest, Steve, may be undesirable from that fact alone. Otherwise, your proposal fits the pairs used in the World ranking. You would just change South Africa and India to balance the Asia/Oceania countries.
Think different - Korfball