Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell has been named to the Scotland Men’s National Team for the start of UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying during FIFA’s international window this month.
Led by head coach Alex McLeish, Russell and Scotland will begin their Group I qualifying campaign on March 21, visiting Kazakhstan at 10 a.m. CT at Astana Arena in the Kazakh capital of Astana. Scotland will continue their road trip on March 24, traveling to face San Marino at noon CT in Serravalle’s San Marino Stadium.
Russell will join Scotland following Sporting’s MLS regular season match at the Colorado Rapids on Sunday night. The St. Patrick’s Day clash will kick off at 8 p.m. CT with live coverage on FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX Sports Midwest Plus, ESPN 95.3 FM and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.
🏴— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) March 12, 2019
First call ups for @LiamJPalmer and @sparkymcnulty as Alex McLeish names his Scotland squad for our @UEFAEURO 2020 Qualifiers against Kazakhstan and San Marino.#NothingMattersMore pic.twitter.com/W0YrUkf0Bp
Group I of Euro qualifying is one of 10 groups that will determine which teams qualify for UEFA Euro 2020, which is scheduled to take place in 12 cities in 12 different European countries during the summer of 2020.
Scotland are one of six nations in the group alongside European giants Belgium, 2018 World Cup hosts Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino. Participants will square off in a home-and-away, double-round-robin format between now and November, with the top two finishers advancing to the tournament finals.
Russell, 28, has appeared in each of Sporting KC’s five competitive matches this season, including both legs of a 5-0 aggregate win over Deportivo Toluca FC in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16. The forward is coming off a sensational 2018 campaign with Sporting that saw him become the fourth player in club history to hit double-digit goals and assists in a single regular season. In light of his accomplishments, he was named the team’s Offensive Player of the Year last October.
Last year’s breakout with Sporting has facilitated Russell’s return to the Scotland national team. He has earned five of his nine career caps since June 2018, having previously represented his country four times at the senior level from 2014-2015. Russell started in three of his five international appearances last year, including two fixtures in UEFA Nations League C as Scotland earned promotion to League B for the 2020-21 tournament with a first-place finish in their group.