Harry Kane marked his World Cup debut with a stoppage-time winner as England made hard work of overcoming Tunisia 2-1 in their Group G opener.
England's talisman and captain put them ahead in the 11th minute of Monday's clash in Volgograd, but Tunisia levelled in contentious fashion.
Referee Wilmar Roldan pointed to the spot when Kyle Walker caught Fakhreddine Ben Youssef with his arm and Ferjani Sassi levelled with an unconvincing penalty.
England wasted numerous opportunities prior to that leveller but will have been unimpressed by Roldan's performance thereafter, the Colombian ignoring multiple penalty appeals from the Three Lions.
Gareth Southgate's men appeared to run out of ideas in the second half, with Tunisia seemingly set to see out what would have been an unexpected draw.
But in the first minute of injury time they made the mistake of leaving Kane unmarked in the box for the second time and he took advantage by heading home at the far post to ensure England start the tournament with a deserved, if unconvincing, win.
Jesse Lingard would have opened the scoring in the third minute had Mouez Hassen not pulled off a fine save with his legs after the Manchester United forward was found by a cutback from Dele Alli.
Hassen appeared to suffer an injury when he collided with Lingard as he raced clear down the left and squared for Raheem Sterling, who will have taken comfort from an offside flag after a glaring miss.
The knock did not stop the Tunisia keeper producing heroics to keep out John Stones' header, but he could do nothing about the follow-up as Kane confidently tucked home.
Hassen was withdrawn four minutes later for Farouk Ben Mustapha, who was tested by a long-range drive from Jordan Henderson, with Lingard then spurning a gilt-edged chance as he mishit a volley from Ashley Young's cross to the far post.
And 10 minutes before half-time England were punished for wasting chances as Roldan ruled Walker had intentionally made contact with Ben Youssef, Sassi's penalty powerful enough to beat the fingertips of Jordan Pickford and find the bottom-left corner.
England had a legitimate case for a spot-kick at the other end when Kane was bundled over in the box as Alli headed against the crossbar.
Southgate's men will have been frustrated by their profligacy, Lingard latching on to a ball over the top and knocking it past Ben Mustapha, only to see it trickle onto the post and wide.
Kane had another appeal for a penalty waved away within five minutes of the restart as he was impeded by a pair of Tunisia players at a corner, but the rate at which England appeared to run out of gas was alarming.
Young drifted a free-kick well over the bar and England's chance at victory appeared to have gone.
However, Harry Maguire flicked a Kieran Trippier delivery into the path of Kane, who made no mistake from point-blank range to break Tunisian hearts.
Key Opta stats:
- England scored more than once for the first time in 10 World Cup matches, since a 2-2 draw against Sweden in 2006.
- Harry Kane has scored in each of his last four games for England, his best ever run for the Three Lions.
- England's Kieran Trippier created six goalscoring opportunities, more than any other player has managed so far in the 2018 World Cup.
- Kane became the first England player to score a brace in a World Cup match since Gary Lineker against Cameroon in 1990.
|Ibrahimovic to watch England at Wembley – Zlatan will honour Beckham bet|
|Cubs use five-run fifth inning to trump Cardinals|
|Manchester United 1 America 1: Mata salvages draw for Red Devils|
|Steelers´ Super Bowl window getting smaller - Brown|
|Neymar cares about PSG and will stay amid Real Madrid speculation|
|NFL, NFLPA at ´standstill agreement´ over anthem policy|
|Guardiola: It would´ve been a mistake for Jorginho to join City|
|Angels star Ohtani cleared to resume pitching|
|´I don´t give a f***´ – Cousins hits back at critics after Warriors move|
|Merritt leads Barbasol Championship|
|Ruud awakening for Ferrer in Bastad|
|Nibali withdraws from Tour de France with back fracture|
|Fabinho: I´ll try to convince Mbappe to join Liverpool|
|Beating Messi boosted France´s World Cup belief – Lloris|
|Carnoustie saving the worst until last|
|McIlroy´s youthful exuberance could be a bad sign for Carnoustie contenders|
|Saints triumph at second-placed Wigan|
|Anfield atmosphere sweetened Alisson on Liverpool|
|Bouchard reaches Gstaad quarter-finals|
|´What are you waiting for?´ - Alisson reveals Salah text messages|
|´Full package´ Alisson could not be missed - Klopp|
|Alisson to Liverpool: Brazil star becomes most expensive goalkeeper in history|
|Alisson to Liverpool: Brazilian´s stats blitz Mignolet, Karius|
|Liverpool sign Alisson in world-record deal|
|The Open 2018 diary: Spieth´s got ball skills as Finau proves the scratch golfer|
|Woods: Score doesn´t reflect how well I played|
|Can we go to Paris now? - Thomas in a hurry after conquering Alpe d´Huez|
|Thomas: I could have finished stronger|
|Kisner shines at baked Carnoustie as McIlroy, Rahm and Thomas loom|
|Sarri´s mentality made me a better footballer - Jorginho|
|Tax rates played a role in Ronaldo joining Juventus, says LaLiga president|
|Aggressive McIlroy doing it his way, not the fairway|
|I let him have it - Spinazzola ribs Ronaldo over Juve shirt number|
|Thomas makes it back-to-back wins|
|Ramos may remain for Spain but Luis Enrique promising surprises|
|Cazorla still playing through pain after Villarreal appearance|
|Vegas to Carnoustie - a hellish trip for Jhonattan|
|NFL training camp 2018: Five under-the-radar rookies to watch|
|Woods off to a flyer as Thomas charges|
|Sanchez given green light to join Man Utd tour|
|Greipel, Groenewegen and Gaviria latest sprinters to abandon Tour de France|
|Luis Enrique hopeful over Pique as he plots a Spanish evolution|
|I had a brain fart - Spieth disappointed with missed opportunity|
|I´ve sacrificed too much to quit, says injury-plagued Rossi|
|Klopp rejects Henderson´s plea to return early to Liverpool training|
|Open champion Spieth loses ground in scrappy finish|
|Alexis Sanchez hints visa issue sorted as United States trip beckons|
|Kovac an admirer of Pavard, expects James to stay|
|Dzeko happy at Roma and eyeing silverware|
|Eels win basement battle with Bulldogs|
|Kluivert to follow Totti´s example after taking ´big step´ with Roma|
|Kisner hopes to return Claret Jug favour to Spieth|
|FIBA bans 13 players & two coaches over Philippines-Australia brawl|
|Spieth and Rahm in the mix as Kisner sets the target|
|Monchi insists Roma remain ambitious as Liverpool close in on Alisson|
|Cavendish thanks ´race that shaped career & heart´ after cruel Tour exit|
|No Trent Bridge Ashes Test as England confirm schedule|
|Ajax tell Barcelona not even ´insane´ money will buy De Ligt, De Jong|
|Hamilton agrees two-year Mercedes extension|
|Uran withdraws from Tour after failing to shake off injuries|
|Spieth tees off Open defence|
|Zidane has shown no will to coach France, insists FFF president|
|Risking the curse - Steelers star Brown lands on Madden 19 cover|
|Pogba silenced his critics with World Cup displays – Ibrahimovic|
|Warburton overwhelmed by support following retirement|
|Wilshere excited by tactics of Wenger-like Pellegrini|
|Deschamps never considered France exit prior to World Cup win|
|Persepolis eye Champions League after Iran impress at World Cup|
|Sandy Lyle gets The Open underway at Carnoustie|
|Roosters sign England international Hall|