England Under-21s left it late in Olomouc where substitute Jesse Lingard’s winner against Sweden got the Three Lions’ Euro campaign up and running.
Gareth Southgate’s men had to show their patience against a solid and well organised Sweden side, who had appeared more than happy to settle for a point.
That would have suited Hakan Ericson’s outfit, following their victory over Italy in the first game last week.
Sweden 0-1 England
European Under-21 Championship
Sunday 21 June
Ander Stadium, Olomouc
But Lingard’s dipping shot in the closing stages was just what England deserved after showing urgency to attack but struggling to break past the resilient Scandinavians in what was becoming a frustrating afternoon.
The first time England managed to open up Sweden came in the 17th minute, when Will Hughes slipped a pass through to Nathan Redmond.
But keeper Patrik Carlgren was out quickly to clear the danger.
At the other end, Jack Butland’s first save came in the 23rd minute when John Guidetti’s cross from the right picked out Simon Tibbing, but his low shot was easily collected.
England really should have opened the scoring in the 27th minute though, when a flowing move saw Carl Jenkinson picked out by Redmond on the right.
His pacy centre found Harry Kane at his full-stretch, but his diving header went just wide of the post.
Moments later, Alex Pritchard picked out Hughes in the box, but a combination of Carlgren and defender Joseph Baffo managed to nick the ball clear just as the Derby County man was about to shoot.
With half time on the approach, England won a central free-kick following an agricultural challenge from Filip Helander on Hughes.
Kane stepped up, but his shot was too central and Carlgren saved.
Southgate introduced Danny Ings at the break in a bid to give his side more threat up front alongside Kane.
And his added presence gave the Swedish defence something extra to worry about, as Kane was able to skip away on the left before crossing for his new support-act with Sweden desperately scrambling it away.
England were dealt a blow just ten minutes later though when Pritchard, who was starting to cause problems, took a heavy kick to his ankle on the halfway line whilst trying to orchestrate a counter attack.
He was replaced by the eventual match-winner Lingard, who dropped into the advanced role in which he impressed against Portugal in the first game.
But still Sweden held firm and the closest England came to breaching them came when Kane set up Jenkinson in the box after Ings had caused initial problems with his run in behind.
The Spurs man did well to keep the move alive after his own shot was blocked, before he laid up the Arsenal right-back to shoot into the side-netting.
Sweden could have nicked it themselves though when Ben Gibson’s block on Helander’s attempt to attack a corner flew narrowly wide of Butland’s post.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek was introduced to make his U21s debut with little over 15 minutes remaining and his powerful running with the ball gave Sweden something else to think about and provided extra momentum for England.
And the breakthrough finally arrived with five minutes remaining, when a fierce Redmond shot was turned around the post from Carlgren.
Luke Garbutt’s resulting corner was headed out as far as Lingard, in space at the far corner of the area, and the sub’s control and instant looping shot flew over the crowd of players and past Carlgren.
It gave England just the boost they needed and sets up an interesting Group B finale on Wednesday, when Italy are the opposition.
Sweden (4-4-2): 1 Patrik Carlgren (AIK); 2 Victor Lindelof (Benfica), 17 Joseph Baffo (Halmstad), 4 Filip Helander (Malmo), 5 Ludwig Augustinsson (FC Copenhagen); 8 Abdullah Khalili (Mersin), 7 Oscar Hiljemark (PSV) (c), 6 Oscar Lewicki (Malmo), 16 Simon Tibbing (Groningen); 10 John Guidetti (Manchester City), 11 Isaac Kiese Thelin (Bordeaux).
Substitutes: 19 Sam Larsson (Heerenveen) for Tibbing 78, 14 Mikael Ishak (Randers) for Guidetti 81, 20 Robin Quaison (Palermo) for Khalili 87
Substitutes not used: 9 Branimir Hrgota (Monchengladbach), 12 Jacob Rinne (Orebro), 13 Arber Zeneli (Elsborg), 15 Kristoffer Olsson (Midtjylland), 18 Sebastien Holmen (Elsborg), 21 Pa Konate (Malmo), 22 Simon Gustafson (Hacken), 23 Andreas Linde (Molde)
Head coach: Hakan Ericsson
Cautions: Abdullah Khalili 70, Joseph Baffo 79,
England Under-21s (4-2-3-1): 1 Jack Butland (Stoke City) (c): 2 Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal), 20 Liam Moore (Leicester City), 6 Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), 3 Luke Garbutt (Everton); 14 Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea), 19 Will Hughes (Derby County); 7 Alex Pritchard (Tottenham Hotspur), 10 Tom Carroll (Tottenham Hotspur), 11 Nathan Redmond (Norwich City); 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Substitutes: 17 Danny Ings (Burnley) for Hughes 46, 16 Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) for Pritchard 55, 23 Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) for Carroll 73
Substitutes not used: 4 Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton & Hove Albion), 8 James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), 12 Jonathan Bond (Watford), 13 Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham), 15 Michael Keane (Burnley), , 18 Benik Afobe (Wolverhampton Wanderers), 21 Calum Chambers (Arsenal), 22 Matt Targett (Southampton)
Head coach: Gareth Southgate
Goals: Jesse Lingard 85
Referee: Javier Estrada (Spain)
Assistant referees: Miguel Martinez & Teodoro Sobrino (Spain)
Fourth official: Ondrej Pelikan (Czech Republic)