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.
22. Januar 2019
|Reyes returns to Spain with second-tier strugglers Extremadura|
|Emiliano Sala: Profile of Cardiff City striker missing after joining from Nantes|
|Messi rested for Sevilla trip, Boateng set for debut|
|Nuno fined over pitch celebration in Leicester win|
|Nadal unfazed by another Next Gen opponent in Tsitsipas|
|Ulster hand lifetime ban to spectator after Zebo abuse|
|Phehlukwayo´s career-best day inspires Proteas against Pakistan|
|Bournemouth pounce for Brentford´s Mepham|
|You say all signings are controversial – Valverde defends Boateng arrival|
|Search for missing Sala plane suspended|
|Kohli and Williamson display mutual respect as India and Black Caps prepare for battle|
|Qatar 1 Iraq 0: Al Rawi free-kick books quarter-final spot|
|Ba joins Adebayor and Robinho at Istanbul Basaksehir|
|BREAKING NEWS: Tottenham´s Alli out until March with hamstring injury|
|Fit-again Joseph added to England squad|
|It is very, very serious for us - Tuchel wants midfielder in January window|
|Lakers expect Rajon Rondo back Thursday as LeBron James continues rehab|
|Atletico Madrid boosted as Koke thigh injury revealed to be minor|
|South Korea 2 Bahrain 1 (after extra time): Kim Jin-su seals quarter-final spot|
|AC Milan confirm Zapata thigh injury|
|I miss him a lot - Guardiola confirms ´clever´ Mendy back in Man City squad|
|Tiafoe wants LeBron meeting after run to Australian Open quarters|
|Cardiff continue to ´pray´ for Sala|
|West Ham fined over Burnley clash chaos|
|Knicks star Enes Kanter frustrated by reduced role|
|Kvitova getting back to her best, says Barty|
|Kvitova revels in first semi of ´second career´|
|Messi´s the best player in every world – Boateng dismisses past Real Madrid comments|
|Thunder frustrations continue against Renegades|
|Alonso vows to clear name in tax fraud case|
|Classy Nadal downs Tiafoe to set up Tsitsipas semi|
|Hoedt leaves Southampton for Celta Vigo on loan|
|Melbourne City 4 Western Sydney Wanderers 3: Hosts edge thriller with two goals in last six minutes|
|Wilder won´t even pick up the phone - Hearn not hopeful of AJ bout|
|Sala was on board missing plane, say French authorities|
|Arsenal´s Bellerin out for season with ACL rupture|
|Gatland waiting on ´concrete´ offers|
|Ronaldo accepts prison sentence and €18.8m fine for tax fraud|
|Tsitsipas: It was vital to back up Federer win|
|Awesome Kvitova ends Barty´s home run in Melbourne|
|CA rejects Thunder appeal for full points in abandoned Heat clash|
|Emiliano Sala: Concerns grow for Cardiff striker after plane goes missing|
|Harden unimpressed with refs in Rockets´ 76ers disappointment|
|Ronaldo arrives for sentencing in tax fraud case|
|Record-breaking evening ´one of those nights´ for Warriors star Thompson|
|Hazard still interested in Real Madrid but won´t rule out Chelsea stay|
|Collins moves past Pavlyuchenkova, into Australian Open semis|
|Kohli makes history with ICC awards sweep|
|Thompson sets NBA record with 10 straight made three-pointers to open game|
|76ers hand Rockets largest loss of season, Harden scores 37 points|
|Tsitsipas overcomes Bautista Agut to continue Aus Open run|
|Barcelona move a ´dream come true´ for Boateng|
|Rams coach McVay on Gurley: I´ve got to get him more opportunities|
|Butler´s sprained wrist not expected to keep him out ´long term´|
|Saints owner Benson will ´aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies´|
|Levante to take Copa case to CAS|
|It can happen – Allegri plays down Ronaldo penalty miss|
|Mavericks´ Doncic becomes second-youngest player to record triple-double|
|Yankees send Sonny Gray to Reds|
|Ashley Cole reunited with Frank Lampard at Derby County|
|Arnold ready to mix things up in 2019 Asian Cup quarter-finals|
|Arum: Joshua desperately needs to fight in the United States|
21. Januar 2019
|South Korea v Bahrain: Bento optimistic of continuing unblemished campaign|
|Bolton Wanderers 0 West Brom 2: Baggies bounce up to third after tennis ball protest|
|Confident Moeen ready to shine for England in the Caribbean|
|Juventus 3 Chievo 0: Allegri´s men cruise despite Ronaldo penalty save|
|Boateng completes shock Barcelona switch|
|United Arab Emirates 3 Kyrgyzstan 2 (after extra time): Khalil penalty sets up Socceroos showdown|
|West Indies add Drakes to new-look coaching team|
|Barcelona is a huge opportunity – Boateng confirms shock move is close|