Wales midfielder Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick to become the country’s top goalscorer in a 6-0 victory over China on Thursday that gave Ryan Giggs a winning start to life as an international manager.
Bale, who took his international tally to 29 goals and ahead of former striker Ian Rush, struck in the second minute of the China Cup opener against the hosts in Nanning and added a second on 21 minutes. He sealed his hat-trick after the hour mark.
The Real Madrid player’s maiden international hat-trick was also the first by a Wales player since striker Robert Earnshaw’s effort against Scotland in 2004 and the country’s first away from home since winger Cliff Jones’ feat in 1963 in Belfast against Northern Ireland.
“I suppose when I was a little boy I never dreamed of being a record-breaker for Wales. It is a massive honour,” Bale said.
“I was not thinking about it, but now it has come it’s an incredible honour and one of the best things I’ve achieved in my career... on a personal note it’s great to break the record, but I could not have done it without my teammates.”
Striker Sam Vokes added two goals while winger Harry Wilson also got on the scoresheet to complete the rout in Giggs’ first game since he was appointed in January.
Uruguay and Czech Republic, the other two teams in the competition, face off on Friday for the chance to meet Wales in Monday’s final.