Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell has been named to the Scotland Men’s National Team for the resumption of UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying during FIFA’s international window in June.
Russell and Scotland will continue their Group I qualifying campaign on June 8, hosting Cyprus in a 1:45 p.m. CT matchup at Hampden Park in Glasgow. The Scots will then travel to face world No. 1-ranked Belgium on June 11 at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels with kickoff set for 1:45 p.m. CT.
The 29-year-old Russell will join Scotland in Europe following Sporting’s MLS regular season match at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday. The national team is led by newly appointed head coach Steve Clarke, who took the helm earlier this month after a successful stint with Scottish club Kilmarnock.
Group I of Euro qualifying is one of 10 groups that will determine which teams participate in UEFA Euro 2020, which is scheduled to take place in 12 cities across 12 different European countries during the summer of 2020. Scotland
Headlined by 2018 World Cup semifinalists Belgium, Group I will see six teams square off in a home-and-away, double-round-robin format through November for a total of 10 matches. The top two finishers will advance to UEFA Euro 2020, which is scheduled to take place in 12 cities across 12 different European countries during the summer of 2020.
Even if Scotland fails to secure a top-two finish in Group I, they will have another shot at qualifying for the competition via the Euro 2020 playoffs next spring. Scotland earned a spot in the Euro 2020 playoffs via their first-place finish in Group 1 of the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League C, which also resulted in promotion to League B for the 2020-21 tournament.
UEFA EURO 2020 QUALIFYING: GROUP I TABLE
Russell has earned 11 career caps at the senior level, including appearances in Scotland's first two Euro qualifying matches this spring. He scored his first international goal in a 2-0 defeat of San Marino on March 24.
Now in his second season with Sporting, Russell is fresh off scoring a sensational hat-trick in Sunday's 3-2 victory over Seattle Sounders FC at Children's Mercy Park. His seven league goals are tied with teammate Krisztian Nemeth for fourth-most in MLS, while his five assists across all competitions are a team-best. Russell also leads the team with 27 chances created and has appeared in all 18 competitive matches this season.
Russell enjoyed a superb first year in Kansas City, becoming the fourth player in team's history to record 10 goals and 10 assists in a single regular season. He was named club's 2018 Offensive Player of the Year last October and finished the campaign with 12 goals and 13 assists in all competitions.