A controversial penalty appeared set to earn Tunisia a draw against England, but Harry Kane headed home an injury-time winner in Volgograd.
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.
Hassen was withdrawn four minutes later for Farouk Ben Mustapha, who was tested by a long-range drive from Jordan Henderson, with Lingard then spurning a gilt-edged chance as he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.