Botond Barath - Hungary vs Slovakia - Sept. 9, 2019
REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

International Preview: Four Sporting players in Europe for UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying

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

Last-place Liechtenstein's lone point (and goal) in qualification came in a 1-1 draw at Greece in September on an 85th-minute equalizer set up by Sporting defender Nicolas Hasler. Now 11 points back of second place with four games remaining, Liechtenstein will aim to stave off Euro 2020 elimination with improbable victories in a pair of home matches against Armenia on Saturday and Italy on Tuesday.
 
Sporting Abroad: International Match Schedule (Oct. 10-15, 2019)
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+
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