Football: Scoring record equalled by Rush: Wales gain best World Cup win: Henry Winter reports from Cardiff Arms Park

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Wales. . . . . . .6

Faroe Islands. . .0

IAN RUSH equalled Wales's goalscoring record of 23 with a well-taken hat-trick at the Arms Park last night as Terry Yorath's team brushed aside the challenge of the North Atlantic minnows to register their first points of World Cup qualifying Group Four.

The Liverpool striker could have had a hatful, let alone a hat-trick, but missed a late penalty. 'I thought Ian was our best player,' Yorath said. 'It's very difficult for teams to cope with the pace of people like Ian Rush and Dean Saunders.' Saunders, Rush's Liverpool striking partner, for the moment at least, also found the mark along with Mark Bowen and the excellent Clayton Blackmore.

The records first: Rush's hat-trick, in his 55th international, was the first by a Welsh player since John Toshack in 1979 and put him on a par with Ivor Allchurch and Trevor Ford, whose mark he will surely beat soon. The emphatic victory was the best by Wales in a World Cup game and takes them to third place in the group.

Rush gave Wales just the start they needed. In the fifth minute Blackmore, operating as a sweeper behind Eric Young and Kit Symons, drove the ball long towards the bobble-hatted figure of Jens Martin Knudsen, the Faroes' goalkeeper. Saunders set off in pursuit, beat a shoal of white shirts to the ball and crossed for the unmarked Rush to score off a post.

Another long ball, this time from David Phillips in the 29th minute dropped invitingly for Saunders, who firmly dispatched Wales's second, his 11th in 35 internationals. Wales's third, four minutes later, was delightful. Bowen tricked three defenders on the edge of the area before curling the ball around Knudsen.

Barry Horne and Gary Speed then linked up well to set up Rush in the 64th minute and he shot past Knudsen, again via a post.

The crowd called for the appearance of Ryan Giggs and the Manchester United prodigy duly appeared after Rush's goal. Six minutes after coming on, he left his marker in a tangle and crossed from the left. His United teammate, Blackmore, controlled the ball instantly and drove confidently past Knudsen.

Saunders then sprinted half the length of the field before being brought to earth just yards from goal. Rush stepped up but his low spot-kick was well saved by Knudsen. He did not need long to complete his hat-trick. Two minutes from time Giggs and Speed linked up again for Rush to finish off the Faroes with a close-range goal.

WALES: Southall (Everton); Phillips (Norwich City), Bowen (Norwich City), Symons (Portsmouth), Young (Crystal Palace), Blackmore (Man Utd), Horne (Everton), Saunders (Liverpool), Rush (Liverpool), Hughes (Man Utd), Speed (Leeds Utd). Substitute: Giggs (Man Utd) for Bowen, 66.

FAROE ISLANDS: Knudsen (GI Gota); Jakobsen (VB Vagur), T Hansen (B6 Torshavn), Danielsen (MB Midvagur), O Hansen (B68 Toftir), Morkore (KI Klaksvik), Simonsen (B36 Torshavn), Dam (HB Torshavn), Jonsson (KI Klaksvik), Raynheim (B6 Torshavn), Muller (AGF Aarhus). Substitute: Justiniussen (GI Gota) for Dam, 56.

Referee: J Monteiro Corado (Por).