The truth as I see it so far as France ’98 was concerned. Who was the best forward? How could the U.S. have done worse? Why do you care? These questions and more, answered. Well, except for that last one.

Biggest surprise: Croatia 3, Germany 0.
2nd biggest: France 3, Brazil 0.
3rd biggest: U.S. announcers are just as bad as they were four years ago.
Dumbest foul: Ariel Ortega headbutting Holland’s keeper in 88th minute to earn a red card.
2nd dumbest: Nope, nothing came close to Ortega.
Best goal: England’s 18-year-old wonder Michael Owen taking the ball on the run, sprinting 40 yards, juking 2 defenders and blowing the ball by the keeper into the back of the net against Argentina.
2nd best goal: Holland’s Dennis Bergkamp trapping a long-ball, cutting a defender, and rocketing the ball into the upper V with about a minute left against Argentina.
Best forward: The surprising David Suker of Croatia who scored 6 goals in the tournament to win the “Golden Boot” award for top scorer.
Best U.S. player: None.
Honorable mention: Frankie Hejduk. At least he was aggressive.
Biggest individual failure to live up to the hype: Italy’s “star” forward Alessandro Del Piero.
Biggest team failure to live up to the hype: Spain
The “We deserved better” award: Chile, Scotland, Morocco, and England.
The “We got what we deserved” award: Bulgaria. (Hint: Chain-smoking and athletics don’t mix.)
The “We got what our coach deserved” award: United States
Best team defense: France and Paraguay
Best team offense: Nigeria
Worst team defense: United States and Jamaica.
Worst team offense: United States
Ty’s best forwards of the Cup: Suker (Croatia), Owen (England), Shearer (England), Bastituta (Argentina), Klinsmann (Germany), Hernandez (Mexico), Ronaldo (Brazil)
Ty’s best midfielders of the Cup: Maldini (Italy), Zidane (France), Seedorf (Holland)
Most offensive-minded defender: Roberto Carlos (Brazil) and Lillian Thurman (France)
Team I think will win it in 2002: Brazil
Overall quality of the Cup: 8 of 10
Overall rating of FIFA’s performance: 4
Best TV coverage: Univision, by a mile
Best commentators: Univision, by another mile. Even if I only understood a fraction of what they were saying in Spanish, it was invariably a lot more intelligent than what the bozos on ESPN, the Deuce, or ABC were blathering about. And somebody tell those guys to get excited about goals!
Quality of refereeing: 8 (before FIFA crackdown); 6 (after FIFA crackdown)
My biggest fear about a new U.S. head coach: He’ll dump Kasey Keller as keeper.
My second biggest fear: He’ll start Alexi Lalas.
How the U.S. could’ve done worse: Plane crash
Not ready for prime time teams: United States, Japan, Jamaica, South Korea, South Africa. (Japan and South Korea will be guaranteed slots in 2002 as co-hosts of the Cup. Yuck.)
Best job as goalie: Paraguay’s Jose Luis Chilavert
Biggest bummer: After a bunch of really great quarterfinal and semifinal games, the final was a dud.
2nd biggest bummer: No superstars emerged from this Cup. The closest would be France’s Zidane or perhaps England’s Michael Owen, both of whom merit “star” status but didn’t quite make it to “superstar.”
3rd biggest bummer: Brazil and Ronaldo’s virtual no-show in the final.
4th biggest bummer: Despite finishing 2nd, Brazil was a much stronger team last year when they had Ronaldo and Romario as forwards.
Predicted U.S. finish for 2002: Ousted in the first round once again.