Hannover's USA international Steven Cherundolo is an "irreplaceable" part of his country's set-up, the national team's European scout, Matthias Hamann, has said.
Cherundolo, 34, returned to action for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in August, playing in a charity match against minor league club TSV Barsinghausen to raise funds for young cancer patients on Thursday.
The right-back, who has made a record 300 Bundesliga appearances for the club, played the first 45 minutes and was on target from the spot after 43 minutes to make it 9-1 at half time of what ended up as a 16-1 victory.
"Well, there’s still a bit of time until the penalty shoot-out in the World Cup final in July next year," Hamann told Neue Presse Hannover.
The presence of Hamann, the brother of former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann, boosted Cherundolo’s hopes of achieving his final goal as a footballer -- a place in Juergen Klinsmann's squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
He has played only five competitive games in 2013, and Hamann told the paper his chances would depend on form and fitness.
He said that, should Cherundolo stay fit, he had every chance of playing at the World Cup, adding: "Players with his experience are irreplaceable at big tournaments."