Mexico's shock World Cup win against Germany surprised former United States coach Bruce Arena because it contradicted their usual style of play.
Juan Carlos Osorio's side claimed an impressive 1-0 victory over the reigning champions in their opening Group F match, Hirving Lozano's first-half strike securing a well-deserved triumph.
Arena, who oversaw USA's failure to qualify for the World Cup from the CONCACAF section in which Mexico triumphed, was impressed by how they restricted Germany, but expects the usual suspects to reach the latter stages.
"Naturally, Mexico had a very good performance against Germany, upsetting them with a 1-0 victory," Arena told Omnisport when promoting his new book.
"One would think they're in good shape to qualify out of group play and be in the round of 16.
"They had to defend with a lot of numbers for a lot of the game. That's not really Mexican football, but they were all committed to do it and did an outstanding job.
"At the end of the day I don't think there's going to be many changes or surprises in this World Cup. When all the smoke settles I think you're going to see all the big boys that are usually there in the end."
Panama dramatically denied USA a place at Russia 2018 and lost their World Cup debut 3-0 to Belgium, with Arena predicting similar results in their remaining fixtures.
"I saw Panama play against Belgium, they lost 3-0. Not surprising, I thought out of the teams that qualified for the World Cup out of CONCACAF, Panama was the weakest one," he said.
"You know the US beat them 4-0 at home in game nine of the Hex, we drew with them in Panama. They're probably a team that's going to have a difficult time at the World Cup and not get out of the group play."
The USA will host the 2026 World Cup alongside Mexico and Canada after their joint bid was selected at last week's FIFA Congress in Moscow.
MLS was born out of the USA hosting the 1994 edition and Arena believes the return of football's grandest competition will have a positive effect on the domestic league and its players, though he thinks new initiatives are needed to maximise the potential impact.
"Having the World Cup in the US in 2026 is going to be terrific for our country, for our soccer environment. It's going to bring much more attention to American players, to our league and help to continue to grow the sport," he added.
"I think between now and 2026 we can make a bunch of changes in our country to help grow the sport and hopefully over the next couple of years we get a little bit creative, we set some good policy and we succeed with it."
Outspoken, honest, and game changing—Bruce Arena’s memoir What’s Wrong with US? is available now wherever books are sold. For more information, visit https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062803948/whats-wrong-with-us/.
|Celtic 3 Alashkert 0 (6-0 agg): Dembele hits brace before injury worry|
|Schwartzman stumbles but Spanish duo reach last eight at Swedish Open|
|Top seeds progress in Bucharest as Larsson conquers Kung|
|Perez promises ´incredible´ signings at Real Madrid|
|Liverpool need a top goalkeeper - Souness|
|It was just an absolute car crash - Root regrets bat-drop celebration|
|Mourinho´s pre-season fears mount with Sanchez sidelined|
|Alisson thanks Roma fans ahead of rumoured Liverpool switch|
|Pogba must understand his World Cup heroics, says Mourinho|
|Odriozola excited by Lopetegui reunion at Real Madrid|
|Revis announces retirement from NFL after 11 seasons|
|The Open 2018 diary: Rahm´s saving Grace, Rory´s going grey|
|Kawhi Leonard traded to Raptors as DeMar DeRozan heads to Spurs|
|Cantona, Rosberg and other surprise retirements after Warburton hangs up his boots|
|No doubting Thomas as he climbs into yellow with stage win|
|Liverpool´s Oxlade-Chamberlain to miss ´vast majority´ of 2018-19|
|Open Championship by far the greatest - Player|
|Sarri wants new central midfielder and hints at Chelsea stay for Cahill|
|Nantes sign former Manchester United full-back Fabio|
|Marcelino rewarded with one-year Valencia extension|
|Warburton retires: Bale leads social media tributes to Welsh great|
|Mistakes do not define me, says Chelsea boss Sarri|
|Saints and Tigers to honour Horne with Twickenham clash|
|I want to keep Hazard, says Sarri|
|Europe must stop American juggernaut at Carnoustie|
|Joshua planning for heavyweight ´legacy´ – starting with Povetkin|
|Warburton retires: Wales and Lions star´s career in numbers|
|Matching ´ridiculous´ Tiger not on McIlroy´s radar|
|Spain sent me World Cup SOS, claims Benitez|
|Ozil, Gundogan critics should ´shut up´ - Klopp|
|McIlroy plans to play carefree at Carnoustie|
|Pakistan thrash Zimbabwe to secure series win|
|Warburton retires: Gatland salutes Wales and Lions great|
|Sturridge determined to stay at Liverpool|
|Mbappe is an alien – Varane|
|Warburton retires from rugby|
|India to assess Bhuvneshwar as Bumrah makes Test squad|
|Injured Craddock passes $100,000 in donations at Tour de France|
|WATCH: Perez taunts team-mate after audacious training goal|
|Alison Becker tweets ´I´m joining Liverpool´... but all is not as it seems|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton chasing down Schumacher - German GP in numbers|
|Notorious Carnoustie holds fond memories for legendary Watson|
|Rooney refused to be ´dead weight´ at Everton|
|The Open 2018: Molinari, Rahm and the in-form contenders at Carnoustie|
|Marsh interested in Australia leadership roles|
|United can challenge City for Premier League title, says Rooney|
|MLB All-Star 2018: Seven things you missed at Midsummer Classic|
|American League win home run-filled MLB All-Star game|
|Dragons lure Sims from Broncos|
|Cassano: Ronaldo like Nadal, Messi like Federer|
|Lakers´ Ball undergoes successful knee surgery|
|´We kill them, Messi or no Messi´ - Pogba´s pre-Argentina World Cup speech revealed|
|Cardinals suspend GM Keim for five weeks after DUI|
|Dalic: I can coach Brazil or Barca but Croatia my favourite|
|Warriors coach Kerr extends contract|
|I´m ready to bust him up - Miller calls out Joshua after New York confrontation|
|CAF Champions League Review: ES Tunis and TP Mazembe set the pace|
|Mixed day for seeds in Newport as Muller progresses|
|Rams sign Cooks to five-year extension|
|Cowboys’ Randy Gregory reinstated by NFL|
|Verdasco survives Swedish Open scare as Paire is picked off in Umag|
|US Open announces record prize fund for 2018|
|Stosur wins battle of former grand slam champions in Gstaad|
|Emery is Arsenal´s best signing, says Pires|
|Brewster commits to Liverpool with long-term deal|
|Panama boss Gomez steps down after World Cup|
|No Chelsea agreement for Golovin, claims CSKA president|
|Root looks right at home as England ease to series victory|
|Brighton sign Mali midfielder Bissouma from Lille|
|Kaka backs Brazil boss Tite after ´excellent´ World Cup|