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Hassen was withdrawn four minutes later for Farouk Ben Mustapha, who was tested by a long-range drive from Jordan Henderson, with Lingard then spurning a gilt-edged chance as he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.
|Tipsarevic ends ATP drought as rain wreaks havoc|
|Sixers star Joel Embiid: I´m the most unstoppable player in the NBA|
|Azarenka advances before rain hits Miami Open|
|Spurs coach Popovich gives Wade special gifts before final matchup|
|´You just gotta keep pushing´ – Kobe Bryant gives advice to LeBron James|
|Kyler Murray criticism ´garbage´, says Oklahoma team-mate Powers|
|MLB preview: Projecting AL Central|
|Krstajic: Jovic can play for Barcelona|
|Zion Williamson and five other stars to watch during March Madness|
|Low hints Neuer to start Euro 2020 qualifiers as first-choice goalkeeper|
|Low allays Sane injury fears after crude challenge|
|Wales fresh for Slovakia clash – Giggs|
|ES Tunis to face CS Constantine in CAF Champions League quarter-finals|
|Renato Sanches ´not happy´ at Bayern Munich|
|Germany 1 Serbia 1: Goretzka salvages draw for Low´s new-look side|
|Wales 1 Trinidad and Tobago 0: Woodburn late show boosts Giggs|
|Germany fans pay tribute to axed trio Hummels, Muller and Boateng|
|Bucks forward Mirotic out two to four weeks|
|Mourinho sacked due to results, not player power – Pogba|
|Lukaku out of Russia game, Belgium boss Martinez confirms|
|Tudor replaces Nicola at Udinese|
|Bert van Marwijk appointed by UAE|
|Klostermann handed Germany debut, Neuer preferred to Ter Stegen in new-look team|
|Halep brings in Dobre as new coach|
|NRL Opta facts: Burgess and Murray out to repeat strong starts in round two|
|Harper happy Trout blew him out the water|
|Morata unsurprised by reported Man City interest in Saul|
|Injured Alexander-Arnold pulls out of England squad|
|Martinez wants Icardi resolution|
|Morata defends Simeone from criticism|
|Pogba: Real Madrid is a dream for anyone|
|Tierney joins Robertson in missing Kazakhstan-Scotland|
|Ichiro´s standing ovation & A´s pitching woes - Five things you may have missed from MLB opener|
|De Jong asked Koeman for Barcelona advice|
|Proteas duo Ngidi and Nortje ruled out of IPL|
|Meet Brody Oliver - The engineering graduate set to test his NFL mettle|
|Rayo Vallecano reappoint Paco Jemez|
|Neres, Rice, Zaniolo and the most exciting debutants of the international break|
|Giroud hints at Lyon interest|
|PRB confirms all four Welsh regions will remain next season|
|Salah goals will come again, believes Klopp|
|Casillas to end career at Porto after signing new deal|
|Pogba wants Solskjaer to get permanent Manchester United job|
|Vunipola defends captain Farrell|
|Crazy season is testing Tottenham´s character, says Rose|
|Anscombe warns of potential Wales exodus|
|54 shots and lose 1-0 - Nacional Potosi suffer ultimate smash-and-grab defeat|
|Middleton: Bucks itching for the playoffs|
|SANZAAR to clarify Super Rugby future amid reports of Sunwolves axe|
|Trippier admits he ´could have done better´ for Tottenham|
|Thompson non-committal over World Cup|
|Heaton hails ´outstanding´ England rival Pickford|
|Ronaldo doesn´t have to prove anything – Cancelo|
|Bucks hand Lakers fourth consecutive loss|
|Menotti worried about ´very tired´ Messi|
|Gabriel Jesus: Post-World Cup most difficult moment of career|
|Rockets´ James Harden makes NBA history|
|Musso honoured to have Messi back with Argentina|
|Clippers coach Rivers denies report he´s interested in Lakers job|
|Former Packers linebacker Matthews signs with Rams|
|MLB preview: Projecting AL East|
|Raiders sign linebacker Burfict|
|Adrien´s a prisoner at PSG – Rabiot´s mother slams Ligue 1 champs|
|Navas criticises Solari over lack of Madrid chances|
|Vinicius: I chose Madrid project over Barca money|
|Griezmann´s sister denies Barcelona contact|
|Barkley on Beckham trade: I was sad to see him go|
|Fleming steps down as Stars head coach|
|Rain washes out Miami Open as Andreescu prepares for action|
|PSG condemn ex-Manchester United defender Evra´s comments|