Nanning — Ryan Giggs’s first game as Wales coach got off to a flying start on Thursday with a 6-0 demolition of China as Gareth Bale scored a hat-trick.
The Real Madrid forward scored his 29th international goal to become the highest-scoring Welsh player, breaking Ian Rush’s record.
Wales wasted no time asserting their dominance when Bale held off China defender Wang Shencao to place a shot into top left corner of the net after just two minutes.
It was one-way traffic during a match between two teams that both failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Bale almost got a second in the 17th minute as he chased a ball forward, but goalkeeper Yan Junling sprinted off his line to clear the ball.
It seemed a only matter of time before Wales scored again and in the 21st minute Sam Vokes capitalised on defensive sloppiness to put Bale through to score his second of the night.
Wales continued to enjoy complete control and scored their third when Vokes flicked Andy King’s knockdown past the outstretched fingers of Yan into the goal. And just before half-time Bale laid a pass into the path of Liverpool winger Harry Wilson who celebrated his 21st birthday by scoring his first international goal.
China rang the changes with a raft of substitutions at half-time, but Wales came out unchanged after the interval and continued to dominate.
Burnley striker Vokes grabbed his second in the 58th minute with a close-range finish after Wilson had sprung the offside trap to put him through on goal.
Bale sealed his hat-trick in the 62nd minute after latching on to a long ball forward. He was promptly substituted before the restart and left the pitch to rapturous applause from the Chinese fans.
The four-team China Cup in Nanning sees Czech Republic play Uruguay on Friday. The winners play Wales in the final on Monday.
Speaking after the match, China coach Marcelo Lippi said: "I don’t want to talk about the attack and defence today, I want to talk about the players’ attitude and performance.
"I will be 70 in a month’s time. I’m still active in this role because of my passion for football. If the players I picked didn’t show the same passion then that is my failure."