Johnny Russell - Scotland Men's National Team call-up DL - March 12, 2019

Sporting KC forward Johnny Russell selected to Scotland Men's National Team for UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying

Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell has been selected to the Scotland Men’s National Team for a pair of UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying matches next month at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

Russell and Scotland will resume their Group I campaign against Russia on Friday, Sept. 6, before hosting world No. 1-ranked Belgium on Monday, Sept. 9. Both matches will kick off at 1:45 p.m. CT and stream live on ESPN3 and the ESPN app.

Russell will join Scotland’s 24-man squad following Sporting Kansas City’s MLS regular season match against rivals Houston Dynamo on Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park. Tickets for the Western Conference clash are available at SeatGeek.com as Sporting continues its pursuit of a ninth straight playoff berth.

Group I of UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying is one of 10 groups that will determine which teams participate in UEFA Euro 2020, scheduled to unfold in 12 cities across 12 different European countries next summer. 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 the quadrennial tournament.

Scotland currently occupies fourth place in the group, taking two wins and two losses from its first four matches. Even if the Scots fail 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.

The upcoming matches against Russia and Belgium will represent a formidable challenge for head coach Steve Clarke and the Scots. Russia sit second in the group with three wins and a loss, while Belgium has a perfect 4-0-0 record and a squad boasting the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.

Russell, 29, has earned 12 career caps at the senior level, including appearances in three of Scotland’s first four Euro qualifying matches this spring. He scored his first international goal in a 2-0 defeat of San Marino on March 24.

A native of Glasgow, Russell ranks among the most productive attacking players in Major League Soccer since joining Sporting ahead of the 2018 campaign. He is one of four players with at least 18 goals and 18 assists in MLS play over the last two seasons, with eight goals and seven assists recorded in 2019. In addition, his four goals from outside the box are the most in MLS this year.

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