Defeat against Millennium Stadium visitors Australia on Saturday would relegate Wales outside the world's top eight-ranked teams and into tier three for draw purposes.
It could mean them being in the same five-nation group as New Zealand and England, for example, South Africa and Ireland or Australia and Argentina. Either way, it increases Wales' degree of difficulty.
They did it the hard way in New Zealand last year, reaching the semi-finals despite being grouped with South Africa and Samoa, and Wales head coach Gatland is not getting worked up about possible scenarios.
"If anyone is looking at us, when it comes around to 2015 and having had the preparation time together, I don't think any team particularly fancies getting Wales in their group," he said.
"We will just see what happens on Monday. We were in a really tough group last time. It is luck of the draw.
"Whatever happens, you are probably going to end up with three pretty tough teams in your group."
Gatland has made four changes - all up-front - for the Wallabies encounter as Wales strive to avoid a seventh successive defeat against all opponents and eighth on the bounce to Australia.
There are starts for props Gethin Jenkins and Scott Andrews, lock Ian Evans and flanker Aaron Shingler following last weekend's 33-10 loss to world champions New Zealand.
Jenkins replaces Bath loosehead Paul James, who is unavailable as the Wallabies encounter falls outside the International Rugby Board's autumn Test window, with Andrews in for knee injury victim Aaron Jarvis.
Evans, meanwhile, takes over from Bradley Davies, who was left with severe concussion following a first-minute incident last weekend that resulted in All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore being cited and subsequently banned for five weeks.
And Shingler is preferred to former Wales captain Ryan Jones, who is on the bench after taking a limited part in training this week while recovering from concussion and following necessary protocols.
Wing George North remains sidelined due to a hip injury that ruled him out of the All Blacks clash, so his Scarlets colleague Liam Williams again deputises, while the Wales bench includes uncapped Scarlets prop Samson Lee, who will be 20 tomorrow.
"We need to pick up again from where we left off in the second half last week," Gatland added.
"We managed to retain 73 per cent possession after the break against the All Blacks and win the territory battle, and we need to put Australia under similar pressure from the outset.
"We have played them regularly over the last couple of years and have come close to winning on a number of occasions, but have not quite been able to get ourselves over the chalk of the finish line.
"Last week, we made six line-breaks and the All Blacks made three and scored three tries. We have just got to be a little more clinical in finishing those.
"It is about us making the most of our opportunities."
Gatland was predictably asked today for a reaction to Hore's ban following an incident that is likely to sideline Davies from Cardiff Blues' home and away Heineken Cup games against Montpellier next month while he continues his recovery.
"Everyone saw the incident, there is no need for me to comment," Gatland said.
"We all saw how bad it was and the judiciary has come up with the punishment. That's it. It has been dealt with."
Gatland also delivered a realistic appraisal of Wales' autumn series, which will become a four-game whitewash if Australia win following defeats against Argentina, Samoa and New Zealand.
"We have always tried to be very honest in terms of our expectations," he said.
"A win on Saturday would be nice, but we would still be disappointed with not winning the first two games (against Argentina and Samoa). We won't hide away from that fact.
"It has been a learning curve for players and coaches, in particular for some of the younger players.
"They've had to learn to cope with some team criticism, some personal criticism, and that is part of professional sport."
One of the potential indicators to Saturday's outcome is the eagerly-awaited openside flanker battle between Wales captain Sam Warburton and fit-again Australian master-poacher David Pocock.
"It will be a fierce contest," Gatland said.
"You have got two quality world-class sevens. Pocock is a different player to Richie McCaw (New Zealand openside and captain) - a different threat.
"He (Pocock) does compete on the ball and plays the game differently to McCaw. I thought it was a great battle between Sam and McCaw last weekend.
"In the modern game, the way it is being played, you need a genuine number seven to compete at the breakdown because in international rugby it is so fierce."