Wales manager Ryan Giggs enjoyed a memorable first home match in charge as they thrashed Ireland 4-1 in the inaugural UEFA Nations League at a rocking Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday.
Wales had not beaten Ireland for 26 years, never in a competitive fixture and had scored only twice in their last seven meetings but they all but ended that jinx during a spectacular opening 45 minutes in which Tom Lawrence and Aaron Ramsey scored either side of a classic Gareth Bale strike.
Connor Roberts made it 4-0 soon after the break and even Ireland’s consolation scored by Shaun Williams was drowned out by a chorus of Welsh anthems echoing around the stadium.
In Giggs’s first two matches in charge, resurgent Wales have scored 10 times after he began his reign with a 6-0 victory in a friendly in China.
Wales, who are in League B in the new competition which largely replaces friendlies and offers a potential route to the Euro 2020 finals, will face a sterner test on Sunday when they face Denmark away in Group B4.
But they will go there in high spirits with Giggs having quickly put his dynamic stamp on a side blending experience with exciting young talents such as Chelsea centre back Ethan Ampadu.
“The lads were magnificent, some brilliant goals and great football. I can’t be much happier,” Giggs, who played 64 times for Wales, told Sky Sports.
“It’s been intense as you don’t get much time on the grass — some of them were playing on Sunday. The problem is now they’ve set the standard, they have to stay there.
“I enjoyed the performance and the goals but you always think you can do better. There were mistakes.”