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Costa Rica's Parks downs Switzerland

Switzerland 0-1 Costa Rica
Ottmar Hitzfeld's side suffered a pre-FIFA World Cup setback as Winston Parks scored the only goal in Sion.

Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner (right) jostles with Carlos Hernandez
Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner (right) jostles with Carlos Hernandez ©Getty Images

Switzerland 0-1 Costa Rica
Switzerland lost their penultimate friendly ahead of the FIFA World Cup finals with a strong line-up falling to a Winston Parks goal in front of a crowd of 10,000 in Sion.

Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld refrained from experimenting at this late stage of their preparations with the team selected close to the one expected to feature in their tournament opener against UEFA EURO 2008 champions Spain.

But Costa Rica, who just missed out on qualifying for South Africa themselves, turned out to be tough, fit and quick-thinking opposition, clearly showing Hitzfeld's squad that the match against Honduras, the outsiders in Switzerland's group, must not be taken lightly.

Marco Padalino had Switzerland's only chance with a shot from 18 metres before Costa Rica gained the upper hand with the hosts lacking in dynamism, speed and creativity. With the home defence performing solidly in the first half, it was a slip-up in the second that proved pivotal.

Parks came out on top against defenders Steve von Bergen, Philippe Senderos and Reto Ziegler to decide the game and although Hitzfeld tried to provide new impetus by sending on forwards Eren Derdiyok and Albert Bunjaku, which at least produced two good chances late in the game, it was too little too late.

Switzerland meet Italy in their last friendly on Saturday in Geneva before facing Spain, Chile and Honduras in Group H at the finals in South Africa.