Focus on Wales manager Ryan Giggs
Giggs’ Wales will now play the Czech Republic or Uruguay in the China Cup final.
Ryan Giggs’ reign as Wales manager began with a comprehensive 6-0 victory against China in Nanning.
Wales will now play either the Czech Republic or Uruguay in Monday’s China Cup final.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at how Giggs fared on his first night in the Wales hot-seat.
Giggs named only four players which had started Chris Coleman’s final game as Wales manager against Panama in November. Only Chris Gunter – who became Wales’ most capped outfield player in winning his 86th cap – James Chester, Ben Davies and Sam Vokes remained from that 1-1 draw in Cardiff. But there was a stronger look about this Wales side as skipper Ashley Williams, Wayne Hennessey, Joe Allen and Gareth Bale returned to the starting line-up. Harry Wilson, who beat Bale’s record to become Wales’ youngest-ever player when he was capped against Belgium at the age of 16 years and 207 days, won his second cap more than four years after his first.
Giggs had sidestepped the pre-match question whether he would be a tracksuit or fully suited and booted manager. In the event, Giggs was casually dressed in a tracksuit and he spent his time between the technical area and the dug-out. He had professed before the game that he would be more nervous than at any time during his illustrious playing career. But those nerves were settled within two minutes when Bale fired Wales ahead.
Wales lined up with the three-man central defence that served them so well under Coleman, with wing-backs Gunter and Declan John asked to provide the width. Bale was deployed in a familiar free role and he ran China ragged with his ability to pick the ball up from deep and take on defenders. Giggs will have far sterner tactical tests, but this will encourage him moving forward as he attempts to put his own stamp on the team.
This was a hugely satisfying start for Giggs as Wales recorded one of their biggest-ever away wins. Playing opponents 45 places below them on the FIFA rankings represented a banana skin for Giggs, but the result was never in doubt. There were plenty of positives, from keeping a clean sheet to the brilliance of Bale and the contribution of youngsters like John and Wilson. And getting the better of a World Cup-winning coach in Marcello Lippi is not a bad start to a career in international management.