Raheem Sterling's penalty gave the Three Lions a winning start to their Nations League campaign in a dramatic finale to a drab game in Iceland on Saturday.
England, playing behind closed doors and before the start of the competitive season domestically, struggled to turn possession into chances despite there being little prospect of a repeat of Iceland's Euro 2016 shock.
The hosts were content to sit deep and frustrate Gareth Southgate's side, a tactic that continue even after Kyle Walker received a second yellow card with 20 minutes of the game remaining.
With Harry Kane substituted, Raheem Sterling again showed his status as England's key man by forcing and then converting an 89th-minute spot-kick.
Iceland were then awarded a penalty of their own but Birkir Bjarnason wasted the chance to earn them a point.
Walker waits on England future - Kyle Walker won his 49th cap after being recalled to the squad by Southgate but bore the look after the game of a man who knows he might not make his half-century, telling Sky Sports: "I have to take the full blame."
Tough tests lie ahead - England travel to Denmark on Tuesday night knowing an improved display will be necessary but also aware that group favourites Belgium eased to victory in Copenhagen on Saturday and will be the true marker for where Southgate's side are.
It's nothing without fans - Even more than the behind closed door matches we have seen domestically, the absence of supporters in what would have been a sold out stadium robbed this international match of much of the context and meaning it would usually have had.