Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy admits the Socceroos face a fight to reach the 2014 World Cup but is confident they'll make it.
Australia's ageing side is poorly placed in the final stage of qualifying, with a shock loss to Jordan in September leaving it third in its five-team group.
The eventual top two qualify directly for the Brazil showpiece event, with the third-placed team needing to win two sudden-death play-offs.
Lowy remained confident but conceded qualifying through Asia was tougher than four years ago.
"I think we'll be there," the FFA boss said during the draw in Melbourne for the 2015 Asian Cup.
"Of course Asia has grown up and it's not a pushover.
"Every team is fighting very hard and we'll have to fight a bit harder.
"I have every expectation that we'll be there in Brazil in 2014."
The Socceroos face a crucial clash with Iraq in Doha early next Wednesday (AEDT), with the two nations currently equal on points and goal difference in third and fourth spots.
Meanwhile, Lowy predicted the 2015 Asian Cup would be strongly embraced and a boost for the sport in Australia.
He dismissed suggestions the Australian public might not share his enthusiasm for the regional event.
"The publicity hasn't started yet and there's nothing to underestimate," Lowy said.
"The next couple of years will tell the story and I'm sure it will be greatly embraced and will be greatly successful.
"It will be a big thing for Australia, for football and for Asia, no question about that."
FIFA World Cup
A US man trying to dribble a football 16,000 kilometres to Brazil in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup has died after being hit by a pickup truck on the Oregon Coast.