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The World Cup was always going to cast a long shadow over this year’s J. League championship, and how teams now deal with the fallout will play a significant part in the destination of the title.

Japanese players generally wait until the end of the J. League season before moving to Europe, but the attention generated by playing on the world stage every four years makes the opportunity too good to miss. The debilitating effects on a championship-chasing side can, however, be severe.

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