It wasn't easy, it wasn't perfect and it wasn't always pretty but England eventually broke down a stubborn Wales side in Lens to go top of Group B.
Following a frustrating first-half, Roy Hodgson gave the gung-ho go-ahead to his side and the gamble paid off.
Here's how they rated:
Joe Hart – 4
Had little to do but was poorly positioned and sluggish to get across to deal with Gareth Bale's free-kick when England needed him.
Danny Rose – 6
Tirelessly covered the left-flank and improved going forward once Raheem Sterling was withdrawn.
Chris Smalling – 7
Quickly closed down Wales' attack whenever they threatened to break, providing the strong foundations England needed to launch their come back.
Gary Cahill – 5
Often looked nervous, especially when in possession. Came close to opening the scoring with a header from Wayne Rooney's free-kick.
Kyle Walker – 8
England's outlet. Ceaseless running meant he always provided an option going forward, although his deliveries were far from consistent.
Eric Dier – 5
Solid and smart but would have been punished with his wayward positioning in the second half by a better side.
Wayne Rooney – 7
Had plenty of the ball in the first half but was too sterile and predictable with his passing. Improved as England took the shackles off.
Dele Alli – 6
Alli's ability to operate in such small pockets of space was demonstrated with his smart assist for Sturridge's winner.
Raheem Sterling – 3
Looks shot of confidence. Typified England's hurried and disjointed first half with carelessness in possession and a poor miss.
Adam Lallana – 7
England's brightest spark in the first half, the Liverpool man will likely keep his place in the team after forming a fruitful partnership with Walker on the right flank.
Harry Kane – 5
Once again struggled to influence proceedings and appeared leggy in contrast to his usual buzzing self.
All three of Hodgson's attacking gamnles influenced proceedings, but Daniel Sturridge (Kane '45) was most involved as he dropped deep, looked for quick combinations and kept his head at the vital moment. Jamie Vardy (Sterling '45) proved he has poaching prowess to match his speed, while Marcus Rashford (Lallana '73) tired Wales' defence with his direct runs.