Marinos Tzionis earns 21st cap for Cyprus in Euro qualifying loss to Scotland

Marinos Tzionis - Sporting KC vs. LA Galaxy - March 11, 2023

Sporting Kansas City winger Marinos Tzionis earned his 21st cap for the Cyprus Men's National Team on Saturday in a 3-0 loss to Scotland as UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying kicked off across Europe.

Tzionis was a 79th-minute substitute, replacing teammate Grigoris Kastanos, in a game that saw Scotland receive an early goal from Aston Villa captain John McGinnn and a late brace from Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay at historic Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland.

Tzionis and Cyprus will close out the March FIFA window by traveling to face Armenia on Tuesday in a 10 a.m. CT friendly at Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium in Yerevan. The forward will then return to Sporting ahead of next Saturday's formidable road test against the Philadelphia Union at 6:30 p.m. CT.

At age 21, Tzionis has already established himself as a mainstay for Cyprus, scoring two goals in 21 appearances for his home country while competing in the UEFA Nations League and FIFA World Cup qualifying. He earned his senior debut in 2020 and opened his Cypriot scoring account in March 2022, bagging the opener in a 2-0 Nations League win over Estonia. Tzionis added another goal in the competition as the difference maker in a 1-0 upset victory over regional rivals Greece last September.

Cyprus is aiming to qualify for the UEFA European Championship for the first time in its history. Euro 2024 will involve 24 teams, including the top two finishers across 10 qualifying groups, hosts Germany and another three nations that will advance through a playoff round. Cyprus has been placed in Group A alongside Scotland, Georgia, world powerhouse Spain and a Norway side that features Manchester City striker Erling Haaland. The group stage will conclude in November, followed by the Euro 2024 qualifying playoffs in March 2024.

Tzionis has made 33 appearances for Sporting in all competitions since arriving in early 2022. He featured in each of the club’s first four matches this season, including a start in a 0-0 road draw against the Colorado Rapids on March 4 and three substitute cameos on the wing. Tzionis notched his first Sporting goal in dramatic fashion on May 10, 2022, nodding home a 98th-minute equalizer against FC Dallas to force extra time in what became a wild 4-2 comeback victory in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 32. Four days later, the Cypriot tallied his first MLS goal in a road defeat against the Portland Timbers.

Tzionis previously represented Cyprus at the U-17 and U-19 youth levels—featuring in qualifying competitions for the European U-17 Championship in 2018 and the European U-19 Championship in 2019—before breaking into the senior national team in September 2020. In the two months that followed, he made five starts and six total appearances in the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League as the Cypriots finished with a 1-4-1 record. Tzionis started four of six appearances in FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifying over the course of 2021, then scored twice in the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League last year.