Gareth Bale became Wales' all-time top scorer as his hat-trick inspired a 6-0 rout of China during Ryan Giggs' first game at the helm.
The Football Association of Wales (FAW) reportedly faced a £100,000 dent in their China Cup appearances fee if the Real Madrid superstar did not feature, and Manchester United great Giggs decided he wanted Bale in place from the very start of his reign.
The 28-year-old has received a rapturous reception since the squad's arrival in Nanning and he thrilled those in attendance with a brilliant second-minute solo goal.
Bale netted his second in the 21st minute, drawing level with Liverpool hero Ian Rush on 28 Wales goals.
The country's current number nine, Sam Vokes, and Hull City's on-loan Liverpool youngster Harry Wilson were also on target before half-time – both beneficiaries of a shambolic China defence that did a thorough disservice to the esteemed Marcello Lippi in their dugout.
For the rookie Giggs, who kept the 3-4-3 system that served predecessor Chris Coleman so well and saw Vokes add his second before the hour, it was a serene introduction to international management, crowned by the man who has replaced and arguably surpassed him as Wales' world-class inspiration on the field.
29 - Gareth Bale is now the top scorer for the Welsh national team with 29 goals, breaking the record of 28 goals previously held by Ian Rush. Dragon. pic.twitter.com/51Jjlt6GQG— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 22, 2018
Noise levels inside the Guangxi Sports Center Stadium climbed considerably the first time Bale collected the ball in an attacking position and he did not disappoint.
Wales' star forward collected Vokes' flick-on, held off He Guan and powered past Wang Shenchao to arrow an excellent side-footed finish high into the net.
Moments after Ashley Williams wasted a glorious chance from a 20th-minute corner, China inexplicably presented possession to Vokes, who selflessly played in Bale to slot home.
The Burnley striker duly got in on the act, diverting Andy King's knockdown into the bottom corner following a wonderful raking pass from Bale, who almost had a hat-trick when Yan beat a sweetly struck 20-yarder to safety.
There was more misery for an abject China before the break, with Wilson cutting in from the right past He to float a sumptuous finish into the far corner and stylishly mark his 21st birthday.
Wang and He's withdrawals among a raft of half-time substitutions felt like an act of mercy from Lippi, whose side nearly got on the board through Wei Shihao's acrobatic volley from a 50th-minute corner.
Wilson claimed an assist to go with a goal on his first international start as a cute reverse ball allowed Vokes to get the better of something vaguely resembling an offside trap and roll in a 57th minute finish.
Vokes volleyed off target with a hat-trick in his sights, leaving Bale to stroll through an area of the field where he might have expected to find defenders and slot a 62nd-minute effort beyond Yan for his piece of history.
The man of the hour made way to an adoring ovation before Wayne Hennessey tipped substitute Yu Hanchao's effort on to the post – a small reminder to Giggs that life in his new job will rarely, if ever, be quite this easy.
Key Opta stats:
- This is Wales' biggest margin of victory since August 1996 when beating San Marino by the same scoreline (6-0).
- The 6-0 win is the biggest win for any Wales manager on their debut and Giggs is just the fifth different manager to win by such a margin (Committee, Mike Smith, Terry Yorath and Bobby Gould).
- This loss was Marcello Lippi's biggest margin of defeat as an international manager (0-6).
- Wales have scored as many goals in 2018 as they did in the whole of 2017 (six goals, eight games).
- Gareth Bale has now scored the first goal under three of the last four managers of the Welsh national team (Brian Flynn, Chris Coleman and Ryan Giggs).
- Gareth Bale is now the top scorer for the Welsh national team with 29 goals, breaking the record of 28 goals previously held by Ian Rush.
- Bale's hat-trick was his first at international level, making him the first player to bag a treble for Wales since Robert Earnshaw vs Scotland in 2004.
- Sam Vokes was directly involved in four goals against China (two goals, two assists); as many as in his previous 31 games for Wales.
23. Mai 2018
|Bellamy confirms talks with Brisbane Broncos|
|Ref took Champions League final away from Roma - Under|
|Goals galore and sinking City - Liverpool´s road to the Champions League final|
|Benitez: Winning Champions League changed my life|
|Brewers extend Diamondbacks´ losing streak to six|
|Weidenfeller bids farewell in Schmelzer´s last game as Dortmund captain|
|Owen surprised by Zidane success|
|Rockets break Warriors´ 16-game home postseason win streak|
|Bennett keen to see out contract as Broncos target Bellamy|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Silva helps Cruzeiro into last 16|
|Chargers tight end Henry suffers torn ACL|
|WATCH: Harden dunks all over Green|
|Madrid are linked to 50 players – Ronaldo laughs off Neymar rumours|
|Giants sign wide receiver Shepard|
|Salah wouldn´t improve Real Madrid – Del Bosque|
|Stevens says Tatum should´ve been unanimous All-Rookie First Team selection|
|Rodgers on Bryant: If he ends up here, we´ll welcome him|
|Jets´ Hackenberg dealt to Raiders for 2019 conditional pick|
|Mets sign Bautista, start him same day|
|Warriors´ Iguodala ruled out for game four|
|Guzman called up as Romero replacement for Argentina|
|Gaya signs new five-year Valencia contract|
|Celta appoint Antonio Mohamed as new coach|
|Klopp: Real Madrid have no weaknesses|
|Strauss ´stepping away´ from England role to support wife|
|Argentina rule Romero out of World Cup|
|Emery´s website appears to confirm Arsenal appointment|
22. Mai 2018
|´Inspiring´ Guardiola has made Fleetwood a better golfer|
|Two trophies in a week! Torres leaves Atletico Madrid in style|
|I died a thousand deaths - Yates set for Giro defensive after time trial|
|Hamsik hints at Napoli exit amid China rumours|
|Rowett swaps Derby for Stoke|
|Thiem comfortable in victory as rain delays Wawrinka|
|Schmelzer gives up Borussia Dortmund captaincy|
|Top seed Stephens struggling at Nuremberg Cup|
|This is the wrong information - Vieira rejects Nice speculation|
|France rest Guirado, recall Thomas for New Zealand tour|
|Warriors´ Iguodala upgraded to questionable for game four|
|Simmons, Mitchell unanimous picks for NBA All-Rookie first team|
|AC Milan referred over alleged FFP breaches|
|F1 Raceweek: Ferrari and Red Bull target Monaco upturn|
|Horoya 2 Mamelodi Sundowns 2: Camara header denies visitors´ comeback|
|Du Plessis rescue mission takes Super Kings to IPL final|
|Seedorf to leave relegated Deportivo|
|Wenger turned down Real Madrid ´two or three times´|
|Kane dreams of lifting World Cup trophy as England captain|
|UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Liverpool & Roma|
|Yates stays on course for Giro title, Dennis wins time trial|
|Brighton sign Nigeria international Balogun|
|Ronaldo again pips LeBron and Messi as sport´s most famous star|
|Marcelo fears backlash if Madrid lose Champions League final|
|Messi joins Argentina´s World Cup training camp|
|FIFA finds no doping cases in Russia´s World Cup squad|
|Liverpool´s strikeforce reminds Ronaldo of Real Madrid|
|Hysaj staying at Napoli ´regardless of Sarri´s future´|
|Amir fully fit for Lord´s Test|
|A fast start to life - The Golden Knights and the expansion teams who excelled early|
|Molina gets two-year anti-doping ban for positive test after Joshua bout|
|Ramos: We´re a vintage Real Madrid team|
|Klopp key to controlling Liverpool emotions, says Alonso|
|Bjorn names Westwood, Harrington, Donald and McDowell as Europe vice-captains|
|Scarlets players left wounded by ´shocking´ Scotstoun pitch|
|Arsenal fined £20,000 for Leicester penalty protest|
|Storm offer Bellamy ´significant´ deal amid reported Broncos interest|
|Rashford writes moving tribute on anniversary of Manchester Arena attack|
|Heaton backs Kane´s captaincy credentials|
|Salah deserves Ballon d´Or if Liverpool win Champions League – Owen|
|Wasps flanker Willis out for up to a year|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Is the Champions League enough to save Zidane?|
|I was left out on reputation - Nainggolan angered by World Cup snub|