Japan winger Kaoru Mitoma scored a late goal as Brighton advanced to the English FA Cup semifinals with a 5-0 drubbing of fourth-tier side Grimsby Town on Sunday.
Real Sociedad's Takefusa Kubo and Freiburg's Ritsu Doan also got on the scoresheet in their respective matches ahead of their return to Japan, who host Uruguay on Friday and Colombia on Tuesday next week in friendlies for their first matches since the Qatar World Cup.
Mitoma capped the scoring in the 90th minute for his ninth goal of the season in all competitions after blowing two big scoring chances during the first half at Amex Stadium in Brighton.
"I'm relieved," Mitoma said. "It would've been a bad ending for me if that shot didn't go in."
The in-form 25-year-old, who has scored seven goals for Brighton since coming back from Qatar, is aware the fans back in Japan will be expecting a lot from him during the two friendlies.
"I'll try to prepare myself well over there. I look forward to seeing how much I can do," Mitoma said.
"I'm playing in the Premier League, and people will be casting a curious eye on how well I can perform (for Japan). I need to put in a display that befits that status."
Kubo opened the scoring with a 48th-minute strike in Sociedad's 2-0 win at home to Elche in the Spanish top flight, registering his career-high fifth league goal in a single season.
"I had frustration, and it was good I managed to score," Kubo, who latched on to David Silva's through ball for the goal, said after his first start in three matches in all competitions.
"I'm in good condition and want to go (to Japan matches) with confidence."
Doan scored Freiburg's only goal 10 minutes into the second half in a 1-1 draw at Mainz in the German Bundesliga.
"There are lots of new players called up," Doan said of the latest Japan squad named by manager Hajime Moriyasu. "I'll take it as a new start. I can't waste a single moment."
Sixteen of 26 Japan squad members were present as they began training Monday in the city of Chiba east of Tokyo, where some 600 fans flocked to watch the session that was open to the public for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak.