Cardiff: Ryan Giggs hailed Wales’ qualification for Euro 2020 as one of the best days of his life after Aaron Ramsey’s double beat Hungary 2-0 in Cardiff.
The Juventus midfielder was making his first start of the qualifying campaign due to a series of injuries and showed what Wales had missed by scoring early in each half.
Victory means Giggs, who never got the chance to represent his country at a major international tournament during a decorated playing career, can look forward to leading his side to the European championships next summer.
“It doesn’t get any better,” said Giggs, who won 25 major trophies as a Manchester United player.
“It’s one of the best days of my life.”
Wales reached the semi-finals of the European championships in 2016 and while matching that run next year will be a huge ask, there was a glimmer of what they are capable of with Ramsey restored alongside Gareth Bale.
Giggs’s two star men combined brilliantly for the opener after 15 minutes as Ramsey headed home Bale’s inch-perfect cross from the right.
“I missed a lot of this campaign but it was all worthwhile to chip in with a couple of goals tonight,” Ramsey said.
“We had the time of our lives in France (at Euro 2016). We inspired a nation last time out so we wanted to do it again.”
Wales still needed a moment of magic at the other end of the field as an incredible double save from Wayne Hennessey denied Dominik Szoboszlai and Roland Sallai an equaliser as Hungary threatened before the break.
However, there was no way back for the visitors once Ramsey controlled Kieffer Moore’s knock-down to smash home from close range two minutes into the second half.
“He’s a world class player,” said Bale on Ramsey’s contribution. “It’s great to have him back and he showed tonight what a great player he is.”
From then on Wales were rampant and could easily have added to their advantage as Bale curled a free-kick inches wide before Daniel James also saw a powerful effort drift just off target.
Only a fine save from Peter Gulacsi denied Ramsey his first international hat-trick 15 minutes from time.
Belgium, meanwhile, completed their qualifying campaign with a perfect record and another big win, routing Cyprus 6-1 on Tuesday.
Kevin De Bruyne and Christian Benteke both scored twice for the Red Devils at the King Baudoin stadium as the hosts, which had already qualified as Group I winners, easily overturned an early deficit.
Benteke cancelled out defender Nicholas Ioannou’s opener in the 16th minute and Belgium was then in complete control for the remainder of the game.
Forward Yannick Carrasco was also on the scoresheet for Belgium and Christoforou Kypros scored an own goal.
Odds for the Euro 2020 winners
Source: William Hill
Netherlands 5 Estonia 0
Germany 6 Northern Ireland 1
Wales 2 Hungary 0
Slovakia 2 Azerbaijan 0
Poland 3 Slovenia 2
Latvia 1 Austria 0
North Macedonia 1 Israel 0
Belgium 6 Cyprus 1
San Marino 0 Russia 5
Scotland 3 Kazakhstan 1