World Cup Swans: Wilfried Bony
As the 2018 World Cup draws closer, the official website takes a look back at the players who have turned out for the Swans and played on the biggest stage of all.
Today, we focus on Wilfried Bony.
AT THE SWANS
After signing for a club-record fee of £12 million from Vitesse Arnhem in the summer of 2013, Bony hit the ground running in his first season at the Liberty.
The Ivorian scored 25 goals in all competitions as the Swans finished 12th in the Premier League and reached the last 32 of the Europa League.
He then made a promising start to the 2014-15 campaign with nine goals in 22 games, before departing SA1 for Manchester City in a £28 million deal that January.
Bony struggled to secure regular football at the Etihad and returned to the Swans in August 2017.
He added a further three goals to his tally with the club before sustaining an anterior cruciate knee ligament tear in February that ruled him out for the remainder of the 2017-18 season.
AT THE WORLD CUP
Having made his international debut four years earlier, Bony was named in Sabri Lamouchi’s 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Bony started the tournament up front alongside Gervinho and Salomon Kalou and played the first 78 minutes of the Elephants’ opening game against Japan in Group C.
Despite his nation falling behind to Keisuke Honda’s first-half goal, the striker provided the equaliser after the break as he headed in Serge Aurier’s cross.
He was also involved in the winning goal two minutes later as Gervinho completed the turnaround and secured a 2-1 victory.
Bony then played the first 60 minutes of the Ivorians’ second match against Colombia but could not prevent a 2-1 defeat.
He was dropped to the bench in favour of Didier Drogba for his nation’s final game against Greece.
However, he was introduced as a 61st-minute substitute with Lamouchi’s side trailing 1-0 and made the best possible impact by scoring the equaliser when he tucked away Gervinho’s cutback with a quarter of an hour remaining.
At that point, it looked as though Bony and his team-mates had done enough to progress to the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time.
But there was to be one final twist as the referee awarded Greece a stoppage-time penalty after Giovanni Sio fouled Georgios Samaras, who calmly slotted away the spot-kick to break Ivorian hearts.