On Sunday, Sporting Kansas City teammates Botond Barath, Nicolas Hasler, Krisztian Nemeth and Johnny Russell crossed the Atlantic on a flight from Dallas to London en route to their respective national teams for upcoming UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying fixtures.
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Barath and Nemeth join a Hungary National Team firmly in contention to book a berth at next summer's continental championship, while Russell returns to Scotland's squad after a second straight season as Sporting's Offensive Player of the Year and Hasler is again part of Liechtenstein's roster after his game-tying assist in a 1-1 draw at Greece last month snapped the nation's 19-match losing streak in Euro and World Cup qualifying.
With the group set for six matches in the next six days during the FIFA international window, let's set the table for all the action by first reminding readers about the Euro 2020 qualification format. The top two teams in each of the 10 groups when qualifying ends on Nov. 19 will secure their spots at Euro 2020. The remaining four berths in the 24-team tournament will be decided via play-offs next March as 16 teams get a second chance at qualification thanks to their strong performances in the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League.
HUNGARY: GROUP E
Currently tied with Slovakia in second place with nine points, Hungary has three games remaining in the group: Thursday at group leaders and World Cup runners-up Croatia, Sunday at home to cellar dwellers Azerbaijan and Nov. 19 at Wales. Center back Botond Barath and forward Krisztian Nemeth will look to help Hungary seal a second straight appearance in the Euros after the country failed to qualify for the previous 10 tournaments from 1976-2012.
SCOTLAND: GROUP I
Currently in fifth place with six points from six games, Scotland has four games remaining in the group but sit nine points back of second place Russia - who they'll face on Thursday at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. It's a must-win match for Scotland, who have lost their last three qualifiers, to stay in contention for a top-two finish, however Scotland can still qualify for their first European championship since 1996 through their place in the playoffs next March. One of three forwards on the roster, Johnny Russell scored his first international goal in a 2-0 win against San Marino earlier this year and could be a key figure in the rematch between the two countries on Sunday.
LIECHTENSTEIN: GROUP J
|Date||Time (CT)||Matchup||Competition||TV + Stream|
|Thursday, Oct. 10||1:45pm||Hungary (Botond Barath, Krisztian Nemeth) at Croatia||Euro 2020 Qualifier||ESPN3, ESPN app|
|1:45pm||Scotland (Johnny Russell) at Russia||Euro 2020 Qualifier||ESPN3, ESPN app|
|Saturday, Oct. 12||1:45pm||Liechtenstein (Nico Hasler) vs Armenia||Euro 2020 Qualifier||ESPN3, ESPN app|
|Sunday, Oct. 13||11:00am||Hungary (Botond Barath, Krisztian Nemeth) vs Azerbaijan||Euro 2020 Qualifier||ESPN3, ESPN app|
|11:00am||Scotland (Johnny Russell) vs San Marino||Euro 2020 Qualifer||ESPN3, ESPN app|
|Tuesday, Oct. 15||1:45pm||Liechtenstein (Nico Hasler) vs Italy||Euro 2020 Qualifier||ESPN+|