My nephew, who works in the field and knows whereof he speaks, pointed me to this interesting article:
The World Cup is the planet’s most-watched sporting competition. It is soccer’s marquee event. Thousands spend fortunes to attend it, supporting their nations. It commands global television audiences of more than a billion people. Devoted fans tune in to every minute.
To soccer’s elite scouts, though, it is almost an afterthought. They will all watch it, of course, though with a personal as much as a professional eye. Some have sent staff members to Russia to take in a few games, to keep track of possible targets.
None, however, believe it will teach them anything they do not already know....
For most clubs, the tournaments that are most useful are much less glamorous: youth competitions across the planet, the continental championships of Asia and Africa, and North and Central America — anywhere that is likely to expand their knowledge base, and ensure they are aware of any player that might be of interest as soon as possible.