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 By PA Sport

Gareth Bale ranks Wales goal-scoring record a top career feat

Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring one of his three goals in a Wales win against China.

Gareth Bale feels breaking Wales' goal-scoring record might be his biggest achievement in football.

Bale eclipsed Ian Rush's 28-goal mark for Wales with a hat trick in the 6-0 China Cup win over the tournament hosts in Nanning, with a Sam Vokes double and a goal for birthday boy Harry Wilson rounding out the scoring.

It was the first hat trick by a Wales player for 14 years -- Robert Earnshaw scoring the last against Scotland in 2004 -- and the perfect way to start Ryan Giggs' managerial reign.

"Obviously you don't really have time to think of your achievements when you are drained,'' said Bale, a three-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid.

"But yes, it is right up there, if it is not the best achievement I have done.

"Anything you do for your country is the pinnacle, it is the biggest honour you can have.

"On a personal note it's obviously great to break the record and it's thanks to the team, everyone who I've played with and all the managers.''

On Wales' winning start under Giggs, Bale added: "The most important thing for me and for us was to get off to a good start under the new manager and I thought we played very well.

"We did exactly what he [Giggs] asked. There are still things to work on, but we're happy with the way we're going.''

Ryan Giggs oversaw a winning start to his Wales managerial career in the China Cup.

Former Manchester United star Giggs was also happy with the result, but said he wants to raise the competitiveness in his squad.

"We want to get that strength in depth,'' Giggs said. "Sometimes that has been an Achilles' heel, if we have two or three players out then we struggle. We don't want that any more.

"We want a competitive squad. If someone is missing through injury or suspension then we have someone to come in.

"There were some really good performances, Declan John was outstanding and it was a great night for a lot of individuals.

"That's what we want, players looking over their shoulder.

"I was brought up in an environment where training was sometimes more difficult than the games and that is the kind of atmosphere that I want to generate.''

Of Bales' record-setting night, Giggs said: "It is a tremendous achievement for Gareth, to be the top goalscorer in front of someone like Ian Rush -- a legendary goalscorer and probably one of the best I have ever seen.

"Probably once upon a time it was a record that many people thought would not get beaten.

"But Gareth has not only beat it, he will carry on scoring as he is a tremendous talent.

"It's a fantastic moment for Gareth, he fully deserves it, and I saw things we can work on.

"We only had two days to prepare and it was difficult because of the travelling.

"But I was delighted and it was great to see Chris Gunter become the most-capped outfield player. That is a great achievement for Chris.''

Marcello Lippi has questioned his players' mentality after the Italian World Cup winner saw his China team collapse.

"I don't want to comment on the attack or the defence in this game," Lippi said. "What matters to me is the fighting spirit and mentality.

"I will be 70 in a month's time and I'm still at the frontier of the football industry. But I need to see the fighting spirit in my team. If those called up by me can't show any love towards their job, then my work will become extremely difficult."

The defeat was the biggest the Chinese have suffered since Lippi took charge of the team in November 2016 and the veteran took responsibility for a demoralising loss that comes with just 10 months to go before China play at the finals of the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

"We had expected different possibilities before the match because the opponent was a strong team," he said.

"As the head coach I take all the responsibility for the defeat. However, my players failed to satisfy me. Their performance surprised me.

"I made two mistakes: One was with the squad, another was the lineup."

Wales' win takes them into the final of the China Cup and Ryan Giggs' team will take on the winners of Friday evening's meeting between Uruguay and Czech Republic on Monday, with Lippi's team hoping for an improved performance when they take on the loser of that game in the third-place playoff.

ESPN FC's China correspondent Michael Church contributed to this report

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