Survival Guide: When Your Partner Is Not Into Football

My mother always asked me what I would do if I fell in love with someone who was not interested in football. I always waved her off, “pfft, it’s not possible”, yet here we are 10 years later and I’ve been happily coupled up with my non-football-fan for three years now. It’s funny how that works sometimes, as I’m sure I was not the only football-mad teenager who saw myself in a relationship looking a bit like this, having worshipped the likes of Bend It Like Beckham (watched on the plane the other week and cried like a baby, it’s still such a good movie) and She’s The Man. Unfortunately, all the examples used are picturing heterosexual romantic relationships which is far from actual reality, but that’s what was available in the 2000s.

There are both positives and negatives when it comes to the partner (or another close person in your life, like a best friend) not sharing your biggest passion and, for some of us, work. In the list below you can find a wee potpourri of different advice that can be good to keep close on days when you feel misunderstood or things are getting messed up and you’re frustrated – “uuugh, they should’ve known not to book XYZ for the same night as that important game.” We’ve all been there, and sometimes it can be hard to remember that not everyone’s world revolves around game days, silly season and everything in between that you choose to include in your football fandom.

  • Look at it from the bright side: you are relieved of any bickering with your significant other about which team is the best, instead, you can just force your team upon them.
  • Take charge of all holiday booking from now on. Otherwise, you might end up with catastrophes like your other half having booked your flight to Barcelona on the NIGHT OF THE MEN’S WORLD CUP FINAL.
Watching the World Cup final 2018 at the airport
We managed quite a sweet set-up after all …
  • In fact, this gives you another upper hand, as you can sneakily suggest vacation places that coincide with a big game/stadium you want to visit …
  • To make life easier, you should keep a shared calendar, or print out a match schedule that will cover all of the must-see games for the next few months. That way they can’t book in dinners/pub rounds/trips if they haven’t consulted the schedule – and if they still do, it is actually their fault.
  • Communication is key, a cornerstone in any relationship but still worth mentioning, as sometimes it’s easy to forget about something as simple as putting words to your feelings. Let them in on what your feeling after that player transferred to the rival club or your team suffered a really terrible loss. Your person has passions too and can understand what it feels like to really care about something. Which leads us onto the next point …
  • Find their football-equivalent. For example, my partner plays the guitar and performs occasionally, and guess who’s always on the first row? Just because there’s a whole culture around football, and it tends to take up a lot of space/interest, doesn’t mean that people cannot be equally passionate about other things. This is important to remember, and if you want your partner to occasionally engage with/understand your football fandom, you need to show them the same courtesy regarding what they’re really into.
  • It’s easier to engage people during the World Cups, Euros and Copa America, simply because a lot more people find it more tangible to relate to a country rather than a club.
Strike a pose!
For carnival, we were dressed as the qualifying game between Sweden – Italy
  • Write a little guideline book that summarises things such as rules, a short history of the game, which team to cheer for (yours, obviously) as a way to invite them in. In many cases the people who claim that they “don’t get it” are not really disinterested, it’s just that they have never been allowed a “safe” entryway into the game (for example an environment where they feel safe to ask questions without fear of being ridiculed #ReleaseYourInnerBadFootballFan)
  • Remember – it’s all about balance. It can actually be very healthy to be with someone that is not invested in football, as they can offer much-needed switch-off time, something that is vital in today’s ever-faster spinning world. As frustrating as it can be when others can be all in and you’re feeling I want to as well, it many times also makes you really good at appreciating everything, and it gives you different perspectives.
Me and my boyfriend celebrating Tottenham's Champions League win over Ajax
In the midst of realising what just happened and celebrating the hardest I ever have

I hope that this wee survival guide is able to offer you some perspective on sharing life together with someone that is not necessarily that into football. In fact, I would go against my younger self, who couldn’t believe that there was anything other than a day-to-day life with someone who’s as mad about football like me, and say that life is BETTER together with someone that is not a mad hatter about people kicking a ball around. It allows me a place and a pair of arms to come home to, that is not going to ask me about how the London derby went.

Image featured at the top is by Moazzam Brohi.

Redefining What It Means To Be a Star

picture credit https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4e/Hedvig_Lindahl_Sweden_May_2014.jpg hedvig lindahl goalkeeper
Lindahl diving for a ball. picture source

Me getting into goalkeeping is sort of an oddball story, and I would lie if I said that being a goalkeeper has ever been a dream of mine. It hasn’t. Like most kids I wanted to be up the field where things were happening, dribbling away, hitting those longballs into the box or being the one that finished them. Not be the one that has to stay behind and watch, to then have everything hinge on you if the opposition break through the defence. There’s an attitude around goalkeepers from a young age, they’re usually perceived to be the most unfit and least talented players on any team, and being forced to go in goal was a pain, every time. Well, that’s until this summer happened.

They’ve proved that it is most definitely not the unfit and less talented players that go in goals, nor that women need smaller goals

This year the goalkeepers in the World Cup have risen to the occasion and showed the world exactly what a goalkeeper is, in 24 different editions. They’ve proved that it is most definitely not the unfit and less talented players that go in goals, nor that women need smaller goals (it is a healthy discussion nonetheless). They’ve redefined what it means to be a star player, proving that ‘boring’ defensive players can pull off exhilarating moves. There’s been a lot of new influence to adhere to in this tournament, not the least the introduction of VAR (which was being used for the first time ever in a women’s game with no previous test-tournaments being held) which put a lot more pressure on the goalkeepers and whipped up a huge penalty controversy. The rules state that the goalkeeper needs to keep at least one foot on the line when the penalty is being taken, which has always been the case. But with the introduction of VAR, it’s become easier to examine the extent to which the goalkeeper abides by the rule, and even an inch off the line means that the goalkeeper gets a yellow card and the penalty is retaken.

This happened several times during the group stages and proceeding into the knockout rounds, the International Football Association Board and FIFA decided to change the rules, and that there would be no cards given if there’s an encroachment by a goalkeeper in a penalty shootout (as you’re not allowed to make substitutes at that time and can, therefore, be left with no keeper), but that the rule still stands in normal time. IFAB states that they still: “fully supports goalkeepers being penalized for not conforming with the Laws of the Game and gaining an unfair advantage.”

It is very debatable whether a goalkeeper gets that much of an unfair advantage going one inch off their line facing a penalty, like one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Hope Solo, argues. It’s also funny talking about unfair advantages for the goalkeeper in penalty circumstances, considering that the shooter has a lot (like, a lot) more advantage.

Still from video with Glasgow City
Watching aspiring goalies over at the Glasgow City practice. See whole video here

But all the controversies aside, it’s just been so fantastic seeing goalkeepers getting so much attention, and a lot of good press. We’ve had the privilege to see close-up saves, top-corner saves, penalty saves, reflex saves and countless others. We’ve seen Nigeria’s Chiamaka Nnadozie, 18 years old and still a teenager, step up between those posts, as we’ve seen 39-year-old Ingrid Hjelmseth do the same for Norway, both of them putting in superb performances. We’ve seen Vanina Correa, the 35-year-old who had retired from football in 2012 after appearing for Argentina in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups but returned six years later on the request of manager Carlos Borellos, to go on and help Argentina secure their first-ever point at the World Cup, with their draw against Japan. She also gave birth to twins during her time off. Chile’s Christiane Endler was widely accoladed as the best female goalkeeper in the world and she pulled off some absolutely stunning saves, silencing everyone.

picture source https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/81/Hedvig_Lindahl_%2816554614488%29.jpg hedvig lindahl goalkeeper sweden
Lindahl. picture source

Hedvig Lindahl showed why she’s still an integral part of the Swedish national team, her crucial and spotless penalty save against Canada being a complete masterpiece. Scotland’s Lee Alexander had a great tournament and did a great job saving a crucial penalty against Argentina in their last group stage game, only to have it retaken and receiving a yellow card for having been one inch off the line. England saw two of their keepers, Karen Bardsley and Carly Telford, both have big games and manager Phil Neville chose to rotate in the group stages, only to be forced to go with second-choice Telford for the semifinal and the third-place match, as Bardsley injured her hamstring. Finalists Netherlands saw their keeper, Sari van Veenendaal, who’d been a doubt for first-choice before the tournament kicked off, have an amazing time and she was awarded the Golden Glove for her performance throughout the tournament.

Thank you for your tireless work that is so unthankful so many times, for all the hours put into self-improvement on and off the pitch, away from all the fancy shot-stopping and all the superman saves, with so few resources available to you

Seeing goalkeepers take centre stage just makes me down-to-my-core happy. For me, finding goalkeeping after over 10 years in the game has been so liberating, it’s like being set free when I’m in between those sticks. I can enjoy playing football again, and with my Capricorn personality, I’m striving when I get to work hard and commit to the practice which has brought me so much in terms of confidence, joy and strength, physical and mental, even as I’m not a ‘promising teenage talent’.

So thank you, goalkeepers of the World Cup 2019, as well as the rest of you out there working away on yourselves at this moment. Thank you for your tireless work that is so unthankful so many times, for all the hours put into self-improvement on and off the pitch, away from all the fancy shot-stopping and all the superman saves, with so few resources available to you. Behind that is a lot of willpower and a wish to do better but also just a huge love for the game. With your dedication, you are not only paving the way for our future goalkeepers but you’re also giving current goalkeepers hope and inspiration.

When Women Support Women

“Now that I know about it I will be watching the Women’s World Cup.”

“Even though I’m not a football fan, I’ll still be watching the Women’s World Cup.”

These are the responses that echo back to us after we’ve grabbed random people on the streets of London and asked them to tell us about the Women’s World Cup. What is so noticeable is that while the men we managed to talk to were all football fans to some extent, and a lot of them knew that there was something going on this summer, not a single one of the women we met were fans, nor did they have a clue that there was going to be a Women’s World Cup on. But what was so remarkable was the fact that they all answered in similar ways, very openly admitting to not knowing anything about football to then go on, matter-of-factly, to say that they would follow it now that they knew about it.

WC interview collage Interview on the streets of London
HALFTIME LDN x BAD FOOTBALL FAN

This is the result of one day’s random questioning on the streets of London and in no way representative of anything that can be put in a journal. But in its randomness, there is a beauty to be found, the simple fact that all the women so naturally committed to watching the World Cup after learning about it, and I think that says a lot about women in this time and age, being so open to jump on board to support other women. It makes me very proud and happy.

You can check out the full video on my instagram @badfootballfan and over on @halftimeldn.

WC Countdown: Group F – USA

It is time for the last group, and we only have DAYS until the biggest tournament of the summer kicks off! Four teams remain to be reviewed, and first up in group F is no other than the USA.

This is a team and a nation used to winning. Ever since the first inaugural Women’s World Cup took place in China in 1991, which the US won, they’ve come to set the tone for what is possible to expect from this team. They’ve won three World Cups in 1991, 1999 and 2015, which is the most out of any team, they’ve won four Olympic women’s gold medals, eight CONCACAF Gold Cups as well as ten Algarve Cups. To add to this, they’ve gotten a medal in every World Cup and Olympic tournament from 1991 to 2015 (until the Olympics in Rio 2016 when they were kicked out in the quarterfinals by Sweden). That is quite a silverware collection this team has got so far, and they’ll be looking for more. They cruised through the qualification tournament, beating Mexico, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and at last Canada in the final to secure their ticket to France.

The US is known for developing star players, and this team is no exception. In a country where a lot of the resources are devoted to women’s football, the game is flourishing and a lot of talent has the possibility to come through, important key points that have allowed the US to dominate the women’s football scene for a long time. They simply invest in the game and in their players, and it’s impossible to know where to start when talking about the star players on the national team since they’ve got such depth. Do you start with Alex Morgan, the fighter striker feared by goalkeepers? Or do you start with Mallory Pugh that is such a promising young goalscorer, or why not Carli Lloyd, the veteran who will go into her fourth World Cups and became a legend after her hat trick in the WC final 2015? Or Lindsey Horan, Kelley O’Hara, Meghan Rapinoe, Christen Press or Tobin Heath? There is simply no shortage of talent in this team, especially on the attacking side.

The United States women's national soccer team
Celebrating a goal, source

Unfortunately, despite everything this team has done, they’ve still got to fight against a lot of stereotypes and unfair treatment and recently the team filed a lawsuit, a gender discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation, requesting equal pay. This feels especially frustrating considering the fact that this team is without a doubt one of the biggest nations in women’s football in 2019 who have to go up against their own boss, US Soccer, because they’re still paying the men more than women, even in a country where men’s football is very scarce and their men’s national team didn’t even qualify for the WC in 2018. Meanwhile, the women have – over the course of only seven World Cups in the women’s game – won it three times. Talk about superiority. But that doesn’t protect them from being treated unfairly by their own federation. A numbers example: in 2014 when the United States men’s team were kicked out of the World Cup in the last 16, they received nine (9) million dollars. When the women’s team won the World Cup 2015, they received two (2) million dollars.

It remains to be seen what will happen with the lawsuit, but it’s hard not to argue the fact that they had to file it at an uncomfortable time, adding more pressure to their already pressured World Cup campaign, going into the tournament as defending champions.

Jill Ellis has been in charge of the team since 2014 when she took over from Tom Sermanni (who now coaches New Zealand), and she first led them to their World Cup victory back in 2015. Ellis, who is from England, did not play any organised football until her family moved to the US when she was 15, as such a thing as football for women did not exist for girls in the 70’s, but she went on to play a lot of football. She has previously worked for different college teams and was the assistant coach for Pia Sundhage during her reign at the national team, and she has also worked with the US U-20 and U-21 previously. Ellis likes to play it very consistent with her 4-3-3 formation and has had success with it so far.

The USWNT has played a few friendlies this spring leading up to the tournament. They participated in the SheBelieves cup back in March on home soil, winning over Brazil but drawing with Japan and England, and they did not have a chance at the title. Since then they’ve played Australia, Belgium, South Africa, New Zealand and Mexico, winning against all of the teams and only conceding against the Matildas.

That’s a quick round-up on the US women’s national team. The Americans are favoured by many to grab another title and make it back-to-back cups, but first, they have to get out of their group, which can prove to be tricky with several good teams in the way. Do you think the US can do it again? Let us know in the comment section!

WC Countdown: Group E – Canada

Onto the second to last group and first up in group E is Canada.

Canada has worked their way onto the international stage and slowly but surely gained recognition as a tough team to beat. They lost out on the third place to the USA at the World Cup 2003 and made it to the quarter-finals of their first Olympic women’s football tournament in 2008. They’ve won bronze at the Olympics twice, in 2012 and 2016, and they hosted the World Cup back in 2015, getting kicked out in the quarter-final against England. Canada started off the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, the qualification tournament to the World Cup, by beating Jamaica 2-0. They then went on to beat Cuba 12-0, Costa Rica 3-1 and Panama 7-0, before coming up against the hosts and world champions USA, to whom they lost 0-2.

The biggest name in the Canadian team is without a doubt Cristine Sinclair, who has made a huge mark on the team and has ensured that she will always be remembered fondly by the Canadians. The current captain of the side is the top scorer for her country (of all time!), who also has the most assists and most caps of any Canadian player. The forward who is now 35 years old is still in her prime, scoring four goals in five games throughout the qualification tournament, and she scored a wonderful hattrick for her club in a 4-4 thriller just the other day. This will be the fifth World Cup that she takes part in. Other players that were on a good scoring streak during the qualification process were Adriana Leon, who scored a whopping six goals in the four games she took part in. 17-year-old Jordyn Huitema scored another four goals in three games, and Nichelle Prince contributed with three goals in four games. Stephanie Labbe is the experienced goalkeeper but 23-year-old Kailen Sheridan got some time between the sticks in the qualification process and is an exciting prospect.

Canada women's soccer team
Fans together with their soccer team. Source.

Kenneth Heiner-Møller is the head coach for the Canadian side and the Danish coach has been with the team since 2015 when he was the assistant coach, before becoming head coach in 2018. He led the Danish women’s national football team to the 2007 World Cup in China, where he and his players accused the Chinese team, whom they were going up against, of harassment as well as covert surveillance. The Swedish coaching team, Marika Domanski-Lyfors and Pia Sundhage, did not know anything about it and Heiner-Møller exonerated them but refused to shake hands after the game. With the Canadian team, he’s not had a lot of time to achieve things just yet, but he got them to the World Cup 2019.

Møller has chosen to go with a few different formations, not being afraid to rotate and continuously changing things up, which can be seen as a healthy sign for a developing squad. The main two formations that the Danish coach has chosen to play with are the 4-2-3-1 and 3-1-4-2, sometimes switching it up with a 4-3-3.

The Canadian side has played a few games during the spring, going to Portugal for the Algarve Cup where they came up against a few strong sides. They drew 0-0 with Iceland, they earned a hard-fought win over Scotland 1-0 and in the third place match between Canada and Sweden, the North American side came out the stronger one after winning on penalties.

That’s some information about Canada, one of the strong teams in group E. Do you believe they will make it out of their group? Let us know below in the comment section!

Five Lessons Goalkeeping Taught Me As a Female Football Fan

The first time I had to go in goals as an adult was at a futsal tournament with my university team and I was too hungover to run, so after 20 minutes I told my coach that I needed to go in goals or I would not make it. Which ended up being quite the successful initiative, and as my new team were looking for a goalkeeper I volunteered. One year into this journey I am loving my new position and enjoying myself thoroughly.

Along the way, I have evolved so much, obviously as a player, going from playing as a left wing for the better part of a decade to going in between the sticks, but also as a person and a female football fan. I was opened up to a whole new perspective, being positioned at the end of the pitch, and it forced me to view the game and my role in it in a totally different way. That, in turn, opened up to new views on my life, my fandom and my role in it, as well as how I want to practice it going forward.

The lessons that I’ve taken from goalkeeping are applicable in the game as well as in life:

1. Don’t Be Afraid

Fear limits you! This is the first rule, which is very applicable to the goalkeeper life (I mean, you are voluntarily stepping in as the last person between the striker and the goal) but it’s also a fundamental realisation that has huge impact on your life. I used to be so afraid; afraid of doing anything wrong, being wrong, fucking up – but what you have to realise is this: as a goalkeeper you are going to make mistakes and let in goals. Fact is, you’ll probably let in more goals than you keep out, and you have to be okay with that, it’s just part of it and you’ll learn from every mistake in order to be able to keep more goals out.

Same goes for life, where many people stay in their comfort zones and rarely makes mistakes. It’s comfortable but that’s not where the magic happens. What if I’d been too afraid to devote myself to Tottenham, my football team, because I was put off by the scrutiny present in the football community?

2. Be Demanding

As the person furthest back on the pitch, you have a unique view that no one else as, and you have to use that to help your team and guide your defence, who do not have the same advantage as you. That means that sometimes you will have to be very demanding and steer them to where you need them to be, which in turn means that you have to trust yourself to have the view and the skills necessary for it.

Also in life, you have to take command of your own ship and demand more of yourself, trusting yourself to know what is best for you. That includes knowing that you belong in a space (for example, a pub or a football stadium) even when the people around you make you feel otherwise.

3. Ask For It

This one is vital. In order to get anything you want – that promotion at work, the cute person you’ve been eyeing for a while, or the ball in the game, you’re gonna have to ask for it. In order to receive the ball in a position where you know that you can do something with it, where you set the tone, you’re going to have to ask your teammates to pass it to you. That way you take charge of the game, and the same rules apply to anything that you want – no one is just going to hand it to you. It’s yours for the taking!

4. Take Up Space

If you take up more physical space in the goal, the goal shrinks and significantly minimises the target for the striker trying to score on you. It makes a lot of sense when you look at it from the striker’s point of view, but when you’re in that goal it can feel counterintuitive to charge out towards a player that is running towards you full speed with the ball, but that’s what you have to do. Same in life, it can really scary, but it’s difficult to give opportunities to people that you do not know are there because they’re not taking up any space.

Note, it’s not just about taking up the space – you have to believe that you’re allowed to actually take up the space, and that you’re not just there because of luck or because someone wanted to be kind to you. The notion of being allowed to take up space is a belief that is hard for women, in my experience. I certainly struggle with it a lot. As women, we’re taught, from a young age, that ‘girls sit down and obey’ whereas the boys are rowdy and taking up space. Well, it’s time to change that and as adults we can lead by example.#GetBig as Karen Bardsley always says.

5. Use Your Voice

Your defence won’t know what it is that you want or need from them if you do not tell them. It’s worth repeating: as the goalkeeper you have the most special view on the pitch. There will be times when you’ll come from behind and your defenders won’t see you and you’re all just so focused on clearing the ball that, without the communication, it’ll most likely turn into a big mess.

It is equally as important to use your voice in life because you have a unique take on life just like everyone else, and you have to learn to speak up, for others but most of all for yourself. Especially in my fandom this has been a useful tool to gain, as I’ve come to understand that few people are willing to speak up for female football fans, in general in the media, but also when you’re in the pub/at the stadium alone. And nowadays there are so many amazing female football collectives and fans emerging, and recommending people to follow them is a great use of the voice, for example.

Also, remember to be kind, to yourself and to others, it goes a long way. And don’t compare your chapter three to someone else’s chapter 20.

WC Countdown: Group D – Japan

Last – but definitely not least – in group D we have Japan.

This is a team with a long history in the game and they are the most successful women’s national team in the Asian Football Confederation. They’ve been fierce competitors in Asia for quite some time but in 2011 they took the world by storm when they went and won the Women’s World Cup 2011, beating the USA in the final to become only the fourth women’s world champions. Then they went and won silver at the World Cup 2015, this time losing to the Americans. This year they won both the Asian Games and the Asian Women’s Cup, which also served as the qualification route for the World Cup. In the process, they beat Vietnam and China, drew with Korea and Australia, only to end up against the Aussie’s again in the final, beating them 1-0.

Japan has a very young team and many of their World Cup-winning squad has retired in the past few years, leaving coach Asako Takakura-Takemoto to try and find a new team setup. Legends like Homare Sawa – who captained the side to their 2011 WC gold and 2012 Olympics silver -, Aya Miyama, Shinobu Ohno and Yūki Nagasato were all part of those glorious years in which the team erupted on the world stage. But now it is up to this young side to keep up with the legacy that the previous generation set up.

Nadeshiko win World Cup 2011
Nadeshiko celebrating their 2011 World Cup win. Source

A player that is still young but has vast experience of international football due to having played in the national team since she was 17, is Mana Iwabuchi. She bloomed out on the international scene as a 15-year-old, representing her country at the inaugural U-17 World Cup, and this is going to be the forward’s third senior World Cup, having won gold back in 2011 and silver in 2015, and she’s one of the integral cogs in Japan’s machinery, and she scored two of the goals en route to Japan’s WC qualification. Kumo Yokoyama is another important goalscorer and contributed four goals in four games at the Asian Cup. Yuka Momik scored two goals in three games at the SheBelieves cup for Japan, and Yui Hasegawa got on the scoresheet as well.

Another experienced and important player in the pursuit of glory is Rumi Utsugi. The 30 -year-old has already participated in three World Cups with Nadeshiko and she is a strong presence and serves as a reminder to the young players of the previous generation and their feats. In an interview with FIFA she commented on the impact that their 2011 World Cup win has had in Japan:

“Before 2011, we had a much smaller population of women who played football in Japan. But since our victory in 2011, we have more players aspiring to become professional or just to play football for fun. I’m so pleased that the women’s football population has grown so dramatically in Japan since then.”

The Japanese style is typically centred on organisation and intelligent movement, so we’ll try and combine those with creative ideas and fresh thinking, which are especially evident in the younger players in our squad. These should be our strengths and I hope we’ll be able to demonstrate them in our team play,” she continues.

Head coach Takakura-Takemoto took over the Nadeshiko squad back in 2016, succeeding the legendary Norio Sasaki. It’s a difficult stepping into such big shoes, but Takakura-Takemoto has done a very good job so far. She used to represent Japan herself, before becoming a coach for various Japan national youth teams, with her most notable achievement being the gold at the 2014 U-17 World Cup. Since she has embraced her role as coach for the senior team she has led the side to gold at the Asian Cup and at the Asian games. Takakura-Takemoto favours a 4-4-2 formation and rarely switches it up, except for when she employs a 4-4-1-1, letting one of the strikers drop.

Japan took part in the SheBelieves Cup in March, drawing against the hosts the USA (2-2) and beating Brazil 3-1 before losing, in what was considered to be the ‘final’, 0-3 against England who went on and won the tournament. It was a torn performance from the young Japanese side and the overall expectation was that they would do better, looking lost at times. Since then they’ve played France and Germany in two friendlies, losing to the French 3-1 and drawing 2-2 with the Germans.

That’s a wrap on the last team out in group D, the most technically difficult out of the six groups looking at the official FIFA-rankings of the teams (Scotland ranked 20, England ranked 4, Argentina ranked 36 and Japan ranked 8), landing on an average of 17. It remains to be seen how this group plays out. Do you think that Japan makes it out of the group? Let us know in the comments below!