Major Asian football nations Iran, Saudi Arabia and China will face their first hurdles in the path toward Brazil 2014 when they start sudden-death home-and-away qualifiers on Saturday, while Qatar has a challenging task as it seeks to assert its World Cup credentials.

With only five nations given byes through to the third round of Asian qualifying, many teams with legitimate hopes of qualifying for Brazil will be thrust into action in second-round, first-leg games. The higher-ranked teams appear to have comfortable assignments on paper, but some have threatening opponents.

atar faces Vietnam, a nation whose passion for the game generally outweighs its performance but which will be confident after a 13-1 aggregate win over Macau in the first round of continental qualifying.