Ryan Giggs - Top 5 moments for Wales
Ryan Giggs made 64 appearances for Wales during an international career that spanned 16-years. He became the youngest-ever Welsh international when he made his debut in October 1991, and as he prepares for the next stage of his football career of the national team, we take a look back at five defining moments for Giggs in the colours of Wales.
International debut – Germany 4-1 Wales - 16th October 1991
Sir Alex Ferguson handed Ryan Giggs his senior debut for Manchester United in March 1991, but after one appearance for the Wales Under-21 side a couple of months later, he was elevated by manager Terry Yorath to the Wales senior side for the European Championship qualifier against Germany in Nuremberg. Giggs replaced defender Eric Young for the final few minutes of the 4-1 defeat, and while the result was one to forget, it was match that launched a 16-year international career.
First international goal – Wales 2-0 Belgium – 31st March 1993
A trademark free-kick from the edge of the area would provide Giggs with the first of 12 international goals in this 2-0 World Cup qualifying win. Giggs opened the scoring on 18 minutes at Cardiff Arms Park before Ian Rush added the second before half-time. However, the campaign would end in frustration as Wales suffered a 2-1 defeat against Romania later that year in the decisive qualifier, and with it miss out on a place at the 1994 FIFA World Cup finals.
First match at the Millennium Stadium – Wales 1-2 Finland - 29th March 2000
The first football match to be played at the new national stadium saw Giggs score Wales' first goal in front of over 66,000 fans. Despite the defeat, the capacity crowd showed a real interest in the fortunes of Mark Hughes' side, and the stadium would become Wales' home for the next decade.
Russian heartbreak – Wales 0-1 Russia - 19th November 2003
Mark Hughes' team were in touching distance of reaching the finals of UEFA EURO 2004 as they headed into the play-offs against Russia. After playing out a 0-0 draw in Moscow a few days before, Wales were backed by a capacity crowd at the Millennium Stadium, but a goal from Vadim Evseev midway through the opening half decided their fate. Wales had chances, with Giggs, John Hartson and the late Gary Speed all coming close, but the wait to qualify for the finals of a major tournament would continue.
The end of an era – Wales 0-0 Czech Republic - 2nd June 2007
Ryan Giggs said farewell to international football as he captained Wales in this European Championship qualifier. His 64th and final appearance in the colours of his country, Giggs was denied a swansong goal by visiting goalkeeper Petr Cech, which confirmed his international career would close with 12 goals to his name. Giggs was replaced by Robert Earnshaw to a standing ovation in the final minute of the match to mark the end of this particular aspect of his playing career.