A last-gasp goal from substitute Toni Duggan kept England Women in Euro 2013 after they were held to a 1-1 draw by tournament outsiders Russia in Linkoping.
Hope Powell's side struggled to dominate a side 13 places behind them in the world rankings and fell behind to a scrappy goal in the latter stages of the first half in Sweden.
Everton striker Duggan came off the bench to grab the equaliser in the second minute of stoppage-time but England go into their final Group C game with France knowing even a victory may not be enough to see them advance to the semi-finals.
Jill Scott enjoyed the first clearcut chance of the game when she controlled the ball well and fired in a shot but Russia goalkeeper Elvira Todua tipped the ball onto the post.
Russia then went close soon afterwards, Nelli Korovkina curling in a 20-yard shot that had England keeper Karen Bardsley well beaten before falling tantalisingly past the far post.
The loss of Rachel Yankey to a hamstring injury was a blow to Powell's side and they fell behind after 38 minutes.
Laura Bassett failed to clear a hopeful cross in from the left flank and a mis-hit shot was deflected towards Korovkina, who stooped to nod the ball in.
Arsenal striker Ellen White missed with a glorious chance on the hour mark as she shinned wide after getting on the end of Karen Carney's cross.
Russia should then have been awarded a penalty when Alex Scott appeared to foul Ekaterina Sochneva in the area but German referee Bibiana Steinhaus disagreed.
Eniola Aluko and White spurned chances to equalise and even the introduction of Kelly Smith, struggling with injury, failed to lift her side.
But Duggan saved England's blushes late on as she neatly hooked the ball into the bottom corner of the net as her team-mates appealed for a penalty for handball.
England will probably now have to win their final group game of the tournament against France to have any chance of advancing.
The French are already through to the quarter-finals, having beaten Spain 1-0 on Monday to make it two wins from as many matches.