The first soccer World Cup was played in 1930, with two more before WW2 with limited numbers of entrants. When it began again in 1950 and entrants increasing with air travel available it became bigger and more complicated.
So it began during a period of strong nationalisms and continued in the second half of the 20th Century on a national basis with the teams being substantially drawn from players in their own national leagues.
By and large the national teams were better than the individual teams in their own home leagues and the standard of football reflected this. When watching a World Cup game you were looking at the best playing the best in general.
In the 21st Century as a result of the globalisation of football, ease of long distance travel, the impact of finance from satellite TV and major corporate sponsors, there is a very different situation.
There are particular national leagues, notably in Europe, where the clubs have substantial squads of foreign players paying top wage prices for the best players they can hire from anywhere in the world. There has been a concentration of these players in Europe.
For the crowds and TV audiences now the best football to be seen is not an international match featuring your national team, it is a match between elite clubs from the national leagues playing either in their own league or in one of the plethora of international competitions now in existence.
It is arguable that the day of national teams playing on the basis of nationalist interests is now over and it not just secondary, but actually an intrusion on the real business and purpose of football and a costly one at that for the taxpayers. The way things are going in Brazil, if anything, seem to confirm this.
The trouble is, as ever, the politics. There is not only FIFA and the rest installed as relics from the past there are politicians anxious to show off at prestigious international fun fests of one sort or another. They are very happy to spend the taxpayers money on these fun bunfights.
But when a World Cup finals group match turns out to be more boring and worse football that you could see at a routine English second grade Championship match between teams with international squads it does raise the question do we need the World Cup any more?
How do we get rid of FIFA and its monopoly power?