Top Five Cymru Victories Under Ryan Giggs
International
29 April 2020

Top Five Cymru Victories Under Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs marked his arrival as manager of Wales with a comprehensive 6-0 victory over China in Nanning during March 2018. 

Upon his unveiling to the media in January 2018, Giggs said that he would be judged on his results with the national team.

Here's a look back at the top five victories of his tenure in date order, which ultimately culminated with qualification for the next EURO finals.


CHINA 0-6 CYMRU

  • Nanning, China
  • 22 March 2018
  • The China Cup

Gareth Bale has never struggled to make headlines in the colours of his country, and his hat-trick against China ensured that he would move ahead of Ian Rush as the all-time record goalscorer. It was a comfortable victory to mark the start of a new era under Giggs, with Bale scoring the first and last goals in the convincing win.

The Real Madrid star opened the scoring inside the first couple of minutes, and added a second 20 minutes later to move level with Rush on 28 goals for his country after combining with Sam Vokes. It was Vokes who then added the third for Cymru as their attacking approach to the match paid dividends. 

Harry Wilson celebrated his 21st birthday with his first start for Cymru, and marked the occasion with a superb goal just before half-time. Further goals from Vokes and Bale followed in the second half, and there were further opportunities to add to the lead before the final whistle blew.

It was an important victory and performance for Giggs, and while Bale's record-breaking hat-trick was the inevitable main talking point, there were plenty of other positives for Cymru to take from the win. However, a 1-0 defeat to Uruguay prevented Giggs from claiming his first silverware as a manager in the final a few days later.

GARETH BALE HAT-TRICK BREAKS WALES GOALSCORING RECORD
GARETH BALE HAT-TRICK BREAKS WALES GOALSCORING RECORD

CYMRU 4-1 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

  • Cardiff, Wales
  • 6 September 2018
  • UEFA Nations League

A youthful starting line-up from Giggs was vindicated as Cymru stormed to a stunning victory over the Republic of Ireland in this opening match of the new UEFA Nations League. With Chris Mepham, Ethan Ampadu, David Brooks and Connor Roberts all handed competitive debuts, the manager again showed his belief in those coming through the pathway system.

Tom Lawrence and Gareth Bale handed Cymru the perfect start with two goals inside the opening 10 minutes of the match, before Ampadu showed his quality in midfield to set-up Aaron Ramsey for the third goal just before half-time. 

Swansea City defender Roberts then marked his competitive debut in spectacular style as he scored with a fine volley from outside the area to ensure that Cymru would start the campaign with a victory. The visitors did pull a goal back on 66 minutes, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation.

The team selection showed that Giggs was very much building a team in his own image, and the faith and belief in his young players was more than rewarded with a confident performance as his side played without fear. The fans responded accordingly to create a memorable atmosphere in the capital.

WALES 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 V REP OF IRELAND 🇮🇪 WALES GOALS
WALES 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 V REP OF IRELAND 🇮🇪 WALES GOALS

CYMRU 1-0 SLOVAKIA

  • Cardiff, Wales
  • 24 March 2019
  • UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying

Daniel James was the hero for Cymru in Cardiff as he scored his first international goal inside the opening five minutes of his first competitive start to claim a valuable three points to begin the qualifying campaign. The Red Wall were out in force on a stunning afternoon in the capital, and they were not left disappointed. 

“I tried to play it down because I knew other teams played first but you do feel the pressure,” said Giggs to Sky Sports after the match. “There were so many outstanding performances and we dug in at the end to get that clean sheet. We have got a great group of older players and younger players. I wanted clean sheets. We have got a lot of talent in the squad too so we will always create chances."

It was another positive, attacking performance from Giggs' Cymru, with David Brooks, Harry Wilson, James and Gareth Bale combining well in the forward positions to cause no end of problems for the Slovakian defence. However, the visitors also asked questions at the other end, but Cymru held on to make a perfect start to the group. 

“It was a good start after we got that early goal,” said goalscorer James. “From then on, we had to dig in. The only thing I had in my head was to shoot and luckily it went in. In the second half they had a lot of the ball but we got the win in the end.” The victory followed on from a friendly win over Trinidad & Tobago in Wrexham a few days earlier.

HIGHLIGHTS: Wales 1-0 Trinidad & Tobago | Wales 1-0 Slovakia
HIGHLIGHTS: Wales 1-0 Trinidad & Tobago | Wales 1-0 Slovakia

AZERBAIJAN 0-2 CYMRU

  • Baku, Azerbaijan
  • 16 November 2019
  • UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying

Although they are considered a minnow of the world game and bottom seeds in the qualifying group, the pressure was very much on Giggs' side as they went into this penultimate qualifier. Recent results had ensured that qualification could now be in Cymru's hands, and a victory was needed in Baku.

However, it proved to be a comfortable win for Cymru on the night, as goals from Kieffer Moore and Harry Wilson before half-time eased any concern amongst the travelling support. With a crucial game against Hungary to follow a few days later in Cardiff, Cymru remained in control throughout the second half without adding to the lead.

Aaron Ramsey came off the bench for the final 30 minutes to make his first appearance of the campaign, and the scoreline allowed Giggs to give his midfield star some much-needed match fitness, while at the same time conserving Gareth Bale's energy for the decisive fixture.

Later that evening, Croatia claimed a 3-1 win over Slovakia, a result that meant that Cymru would achieve automatic qualification with a win over Hungary. Undefeated in their last five games, the stage was set for what could be a famous night.

WALES' EUROPEAN CAMPAIGN. THE STORY SO FAR...
WALES' EUROPEAN CAMPAIGN. THE STORY SO FAR...

CYMRU 2-0 HUNGARY

  • Cardiff, Wales
  • 19 November 2019
  • UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying

The stakes could not have been higher for Cymru heading into this crucial qualifier, and the manager opted for experience in his team selection as Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen replaced Ethan Ampadu and Harry Wilson in the starting line-up.

This was Ramsey's first start of the campaign, and after 15 minutes the Juventus star combined with Gareth Bale to open the scoring with a header. The goal settled Cymru nerves, but it was goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey who had to be at his best on 30 minutes to make an incredible double save to deny the visitors. 

Any concern in the Cymru defence was eased early in the second half as Ramsey doubled the advantage. Further chances followed but the visitors offered little in return, and Cymru should have increased the lead before the final whistle. It remained 2-0, and Giggs had achieved his aim of automatic qualification.

“It's a special, special night for Wales,” said Giggs. “There was no room for error, and the quality that the lads have shown, they deserve it. It's right up there as one of the greatest nights of my life. I set out to qualify for a major championship, but also to leave Welsh football in a better state.”

WALES QUALIFY FOR EURO 2020
WALES QUALIFY FOR EURO 2020