10/10/2013 07:45, Report by Tim Oscroft
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#16 – Spectacular Sparky

Mark Hughes announces himself to a wider world with a typically acrobatic volley...

Player: Mark Hughes
Match: Wales v Spain, 30 April 1985, Racecourse Ground, Wrexham

Think about Mark Hughes scoring in a red shirt, and your mind will conjure images of spectacular goals for United, but the strike that made the outside world really take notice of his talents came on international duty for Wales.

Having lost their opening two World Cup qualifiers, Wales recovered by beating Iceland and Scotland but were still unfancied as a talented Spain side visited Wrexham.

Ian Rush had put the home side ahead when Sparky stepped into the spotlight. Peter Nicholas' free kick from the right was nodded out by notoriously tough defender Andoni Goikoetxea, but Hughes, lurking just inside the area, waited for the ball to bounce up before throwing himself off his feet to volley the ball past helpless goalkeeper Luis Arconada. Wales won 3-0 and Hughes was eventually the subject of a bid from Barcelona. The move to the Nou Camp didn't work out, but after a confidence-boosting loan spell at Bayern Munich, he returned to Old Trafford for a trophy-laden second chapter.

Despite the win, Wales failed to qualify for Mexico '86 on goal difference and sadly Sparky, like other Welsh greats including Ryan Giggs, never strutted his stuff at a World Cup.

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