Led by Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Kane, the 1966 champions England will look for a flying start in the mega event.
Sassi equalised with a penalty after Kyle Walker raised an arm on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef as the two tussled in the area, but England were not to be denied as Kane popped up to head a 91st-minute victor.
Harry Kane scored a dramatic late victor for England against Tunisia in the Three Lions' World Cup opener. Gareth Southgate's team has shown improvement since England's humiliating defeat by Iceland at Euro 2016 and Maaloul believes the team in Russian Federation is better still than the class of 1998, which included David Beckham and Michael Owen.
Tunisia are making quite the surge in the world rankings, however I think this is one of the easier picks in the opening round of matches.
The experiment of moving Kyle Walker to centre-back had been largely successful before the World Cup, with Manchester City's mercurial man impressing there in recent friendlies against Italy, Nigeria and the Netherlands.
Up next for England are Panama, who lost their opener 3-0 to Belgium.
However, England were let down by a lack of composure in front of goal on a hot night on the banks of the Volga river, with many players clearly bothered by clouds of gnats.
When Walker's flailing arm caught Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, a penalty was awarded and Sassi slotted it in to equalize.
Lingard and Harry Maguire had early attempts, before before Raheem Sterling somehow failed to end his 983-day wait for an global goal by turning wide at the back post. Their recent history is checkered with disappointment including failing to escape the World Cup group stage in 2014 and then losing to defensive-minded Iceland in the Euro 2016 second round.
Maguire said: "I had a couple of nervy passes in the first half - it's a big occasion and your first game at this high pressure".