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Ralf and Paulinho are an impressive partnership for club side Corinthians—that goes without saying. In a compact, primarily defensive formation, they provide an excellent shield for the defence. Paulinho, for his part, also contributes greatly to the team's attack.
Thus, many people have suggested the pair as a solution to Brazil's midfield woes—especially since the duo performed well against Chelsea at the Club World Cup. They have, though, never been better than average for Brazil in these domestic player internationals.
If Brazil want to compete with the best in the world, then Ralf and Paulinho as a combination is not the answer. They were comprehensively outperformed by the Chile midfield on Wednesday, although it should be pointed out that No. 10 Ronaldinho was little, or no, help in stopping his opponents.
To opt for Ralf and Paulinho as a pair would be to accept mediocrity. It is something Brazil should never have to do. With the passing talents of Hernanes and Romulo, the energy of Ramires and the brute force of Sandro, there are options available that would be better at this top level.
Corinthians narrowly beat Chelsea, and it was a fine achievement. But for the finishing of Fernando Torres, though, it may have been a different story. The Chelsea of December, though, should not be used to represent all elite opposition.
Corinthians, too, are a very different side to what the public will expect from Brazil next summer.