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Dimitri Payet didn't just score the winner for France. He dominated in every way possible.

The West Ham midfielder was Les Bleus’ best player by miles in the Euro 2016 opener, and he did it even though he didn't have a clear place in the France team.

France v Romania - Group A: UEFA Euro 2016 Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Dimitri Payet isn’t a winger. He sits centrally for West Ham United. He sat centrally for Marseille. His creativity is best served when he can keep the attack ticking, expressing himself through the middle. But France doesn’t have natural wingers at Euro 2016 this summer, so Dimitri Payet found himself on the left wing in the tournament opener against Romania. And he tore the opposition apart.

Most of the cognoscenti assumed that this match would follow a pretty rigid script: Romania would park the bus, and France’s defense might get exposed should Romania break forward. Romania ripped up the script in the first five minutes, pushing forward and exposing the tenuous abilities of center back Adil Rami, and only a Hugo Lloris wonder save kept Romania off the board:

Payet’s lack of experience out wide showed up more than a few times in the first half. His forward instincts often left Patrice Evra exposed with little defensive cover, and many of Romania’s attacks came through overloads down that flank.

None of that really mattered in the second half. Payet took over the game. While the all-star midfield of Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi and N'Golo Kanté looked incredible at times, they struggled to completely penetrate Romania’s shell. When Payet found the ball, however, he shredded the Tricolorii defense. He was everywhere in the attacking half. He took on defenders successfully five times, won eight duels, and completed 81 percent of his passes. Most importantly, eight of those passes led to shots for France. For a Romanian squad whose reputation rested on their defense, Payet made them look like fools.

Credit: user foffob on r/soccer

His cross to Olivier Giroud’s head opened the scoring. His 89th-minute wonder strike proved the winning goal. In all, Payet created eight chances. He was Les Bleus’ best player by miles, and he was playing out of position. It’s hard to tell if that’s praise for Payet, or damnation for head coach Didier Deschamps’ selection.

None of that really mattered, however. Payet is 29, but has only recently broken into the France squad. He toiled for years in relative obscurity with Nantes, Saint-Etienne and Lille before breaking out at Marseille and helping West Ham United to their best league finish in more than a decade. The journey Payet has made is deeply felt—by the fans, by his manager, by his teammates, and most significantly, by Payet himself. When he was subbed out shortly after his golazo, the emotion poured forth.

Dimitri Payet is a player who has been poised to announce himself on the international stage. At the Stade de France in Paris on Friday night, he finally got his chance. Get ready to see more of this as the tournament moves forward.