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Hassen was withdrawn four minutes later for Farouk Ben Mustapha, who was tested by a long-range drive from Jordan Henderson, with Lingard then spurning a gilt-edged chance as he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.
|Trubisky doubtful for Bears´ Thanksgiving game|
|O´Neill planning ´next adventure´ after leaving Republic of Ireland|
|Premier League: Brexit should not be used to weaken squads|
|16 balls, 14 boundaries, 74 runs - Shahzad steals show in T10 opener|
|WATCH: Patrice Evra plays with poultry in bizarre Thanksgiving message|
|Packers star Rodgers pledges $1m to California wildfire relief|
|Klitschko worried for boxing´s Olympic future|
|Lewandowski back in Bayern training as Davies joins new team-mates|
|Hogg fit for much-changed Scotland|
|Former Arsenal striker Bendtner faces 50 days in prison over taxi driver assault|
|Athletic extend Muniain contract to 2024|
|Kohli ready to move on after narrow defeat|
|PSG to wait for Neymar, Mbappe injury updates|
|Icardi hopeful of Messi return for Copa America|
|Cavs star Love expects to be out until 2019|
|Ricciardo terrified by Renault switch|
|Under-fire Taylor calls for PFA structure review|
|McLaren reveal one-off livery for Alonso´s last race|
|Samir Nasri training with West Ham amid reports of free transfer|
|Guardiola warned over derby clash comments|
|Stoinis sees Australia to T20 win against India|
|Modric not deserving of Ballon d´Or – Cavani|
|F1 Raceweek: Alonso ends on 312 races, Raikkonen a Ferrari great - Abu Dhabi GP in numbers|
|Neymar made a mistake leaving Barcelona for PSG, insists Edmilson|
|O´Neill and Keane leave Republic of Ireland after relegation|
|WATCH: Maxwell hits Spidercam with sliced shot in Australia-India T20|
|Rafinha wants Barca exit due to ´crazy´ Valverde selections – Mazinho|
|France to wear rainbow laces in support of Thomas following attack|
|You need to stop this – Cavani slams media over supposed Neymar feud|
|Anderson rested for final Test|
|Tite applauds Seedorf for Cameroon´s style of play|
|Griezmann not obsessed with Ballon d´Or|
|Neymar feels injury is ´nothing serious´|
|Durant says Green altercation won´t impact his free agency|
|Morris blasts drama surrounding Wizards: It´s messed up|
|Scaloni thrilled for Dybala, Icardi|
|Green´s last-second shot keeps Raptors atop East standings|
|Deschamps praises Griezmann for Giroud gesture|
|Warriors star Curry improving, still out at least three more games|
|Chile 4 Honduras 1: Sanchez, Vidal shine for La Roja|
|Argentina 2 Mexico 0: Icardi, Dybala score first international goals|
|Mickelson calls Tiger the greatest of all time|
|Durant fined $25,000 for using inappropriate language|
|Fizdale isn´t concerned about Knicks´ losing streak|
|No particular concern for Mbappe – Deschamps|
|PSG team-mate Choupo-Moting hopes Neymar injury is not serious|
|McLeish marvels at stylish Scotland´s promotion success|
|Draw proves Poland can play well without Lewandowski – Brzeczek|
|Giggs: Wales let themselves down|
|Sarachan ´moved USA forward´ in interim spell|
|Mickelson lays $200,000 bet with Woods for first hole|
|Dolphins QB Tannehill to start against Colts|
|Murcia edge out Banvit, Bonn crush Opava|
|Neymar injury not serious, says doctor|
|Mancini: Italy ahead of schedule|
|France 1 Uruguay 0: Giroud hits the spot after Mbappe injury blow|
|Portugal 1 Poland 1: Milik penalty salvages precious point as Danilo sees red|
|Italy 1 United States 0: Politano snatches late winner for Mancini´s men|
|Scotland 3 Israel 2: Forrest hat-trick seals Nations League promotion|
|Brazil 1 Cameroon 0: Richarlison fills Neymar´s boots as skipper suffers injury|
|France & PSG star Mbappe suffers shoulder injury|
|Albania 1 Wales 0: Gunter´s night spoiled by Balaj|
|Leeds and Manchester United to meet in friendly|
|Outspoken Smith leaves Cavaliers|
|PSG star Neymar injured for Brazil|
|Juventus midfielder Can back in training after surgery|
|Rams-Chiefs rollercoaster was the NFL´s modern-day masterpiece|
|Ronaldo an AC Milan target in 2017, confirms Fassone|
|Farah could get back on track at Tokyo Olympics|
|PSG still waiting on Alves and Kurzawa|