• Kyodo

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Buoyed by a goal for Mainz on the opening weekend of the Bundesliga season, striker Yoshinori Muto is ready to make his mark for Japan when the four-time Asian champion takes on the United Arab Emirates in Saitama on Thursday in its Group B opener in the final round of qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.

Muto has returned to the national team fold for the first time since a second-round World Cup qualifier against Cambodia last November, having spent a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a right knee ligament injury.

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