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.
|Man City working on new deal for Sane – Guardiola|
|Golden Knights sign RW Tuch to seven-year extension|
|Bryant explains how Lakers could beat Warriors|
|Finals hopefuls Isner, Fognini into Stockholm semis|
|Browns trade running back Hyde to Jaguars|
|Mourinho: I´d love to have Hazard at Manchester United|
|Hamilton´s title chances enhanced by Vettel´s grid penalty|
|Deja vu for Enisei as La Rochelle inflict another thrashing|
|Five-star Jovic makes Bundesliga history|
|Liverpool´s scoring slump no concern for cautious Klopp|
|He´s the Special One - Sarri insists he is not on Mourinho´s level yet|
|Second-half blitz guides Leicester to European success|
|Sheffield Wednesday 1 Middlesbrough 2: Besic, Assombalonga see off Owls|
|Goerges rallies to reach Luxembourg Open final, Jabeur makes history|
|Howe: Transfer speculation will not disrupt Ake|
|´Do we really want opera every night?´ - Klopp not changing Nations League view|
|Vile and abhorrent – Chelsea´s Carney responds to online abuse|
|Giants WR Beckham Jr. explains why he might cramp up: ´I really don´t like water´|
|Man City pay training-pitch tribute to Joe Hart|
|Neymar to be rested as Tuchel rubbishes Ballon d´Or concerns|
|Sarri ´not interested´ in Christensen father´s quit threat|
|Cardinals fire offensive coordinator McCoy after 1-6 start|
|Neymar return unlikely, but anything can happen – Valverde|
|Bairstow a doubt for fourth ODI|
|Manchester United fined for late arrival and delayed kick-off against Valencia|
|Australia-Pakistan chat not ´especially polite´ - Sarfraz|
|Pogba relishing ´pressure game´ against in-form Hazard|
|Don´t bet on Cardiff survival, warns Warnock|
|Buffon enjoying Tuchel´s methods at PSG|
|RIP to Wimbledon epics! Isner feels like The Undertaker following final-set tie-break rule|
|Sevilla performance sealed Bernat´s Bayern exit - Hoeness|
|Keita set to miss out as Liverpool monitor injured stars|
|He didn´t want to be here – Guardiola doubts Sancho will return to Manchester City|
|Sarri: Manchester United are the best in the Premier League|
|Mourinho salutes ´brave´ Shaw for ´best possible´ response to criticism|
|No Ballon d´Or distractions for Griezmann, insists Simeone|
|Wigan stand by Hardaker as full-back prepares to undergo rehabilitation|
|Barcelona deny Neymar talk|
|Hazard can win the Ballon d´Or as a Chelsea player, insists Sarri|
|De Bruyne in contention to start in Manchester City´s clash with Burnley|
|Neymar needs to mature to reach Messi levels - Xavi|
|We have a hell of a lot to do - Paine slams Australia batting|
|Kerber and Osaka to meet at WTA Finals|
|Lorenzo out of Japanese MotoGP|
|Real Madrid handed Africa trip in Copa del Rey|
|Allegri: Ronaldo has sharpened Juventus focus|
|No Wade in Wasps squad amid NFL reports|
|Rooney: Five of us controlled Man United dressing room|
|Bayern bosses launch scathing attack on ´disrespectful´ media|
|Saints lock in Lawes to new deal|
|Adelaide United 1 Sydney 1: Debutant Le Fondre rescues a point|
|Madrid can´t look back, only forward - Lopetegui confident of revival|
|Wimbledon to introduce final-set tie-breaks|
|Abbas inspires Pakistan to series victory|
|Madrid boss Lopetegui hopeful on Bale availability|
|Mood is positive at Bayern, insists under-pressure Kovac|
|LeBron offers food for thought after losing Lakers debut|
|Bolt future not an immediate concern for Mariners|
|Hazard: I could finish my career at Chelsea|
|Buffon hoping to avoid Champions League final against Juventus|
|Wilshere not ready for West Ham return|
|Chelsea v Manchester United: Hazard better under Sarri than he ever was with Mourinho|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Khawaja suffers meniscal tear, doubt for India series|
|Babbel: Klopp must win trophies now at Liverpool|
|LeBron makes spectacular start on Lakers debut, but LA fall to Trail Blazers|
|Broncos thrash Cardinals to end losing streak|
|Price leads Red Sox past Astros and into World Series|
|LeBron makes fast start on Lakers debut with two massive dunks|
|Real Salt Lake 4 New England Revolution 1: Hosts boost play-off chances|