The Felger & Mazz radio program doesn’t often venture too often into the world of soccer, but soccer enthusiast Michael Felger forced a change on Friday after the 2014 World Cup draw placed the United States in “the group of death.”

As you can imagine, the “group of death” is not ideal, as the U.S. will face Portugal, Germany and Ghana in group play, thereby making the prospects of advancing appear to be bleak.

Felger couldn’t understand how the U.S. could have such a momentous year yet still get stuck with such a bad draw, so he called upon Taylor Twellman, who earned 30 caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team in his playing career.

“Well, Felger, it’s FIFA. Why are the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar? I mean, there’s oil money or something involved in that equation,” Twellman said. “It’s FIFA — you can’t answer anything.”

So, was some funny business at play?

“It’s shady. It’s always been that way,” Twellman said. “And you kind of have to roll with the punches. The United States knew they were coming in, they knew their chances of getting into the Group of Death were going to be pretty strong.”

Twellman said the matchups with the three other countries are compelling and there won’t be any shortage of story lines, and also that too much shouldn’t be made about the grouping.

“If we’re expected to win and advance, then you gotta play the good teams at some point. It’s just that the United States has to play them in the group now,” Twellman said.

Twellman also introduced a story may be getting overlooked.

“What’s going to be a factor is that the Portugal-U.S. game is going to be in the jungle, and it’s going to be literally 98 percent humidity,” Twellman said. “I actually think the United States has a shot of getting a result in that game. They’re playing in a place called Manaus, and it’s literally in the jungle. There’s one hotel there. I can’t wait until Cristiano Ronaldo has to show up to a three-star hotel and says, ‘Wait a minute — I gotta stay here?’

“I think that’s going to be the game-changer, but they have to beat Ghana in the first game.”

Listen to the interview with Twellman, which has to rank in the top three soccer segments in Felger and Mazz history.



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